ACLU-DC Files Friend-of-the-Court Brief Challenging Federal Government’s Moving Felony Gun Charges to Federal Court

April 28, 2020 7:00 pm

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WASHINGTON — The ACLU of the District of Columbia and the law firm of Hogan Lovells LLP today filed a friend-of-the-court brief in United States v. Reed and United States v. Simmons, two cases before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The brief supports motions to dismiss both prosecutions on the ground that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia acted unlawfully in deciding last year to begin charging all felon-in-possession gun cases in federal court rather than D.C. Superior Court, with the goal of obtaining longer sentences under harsher federal laws for those who are convicted. D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine also submitted briefs in support of the motions to dismiss in the same cases last week.

The following can be attributed to Monica Hopkins, Executive Director, ACLU of the District of Columbia:

“It’s been more than a year that Mayor Bowser and then-U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu decided to prosecute these cases in federal rather than D.C. Superior Court. But moving these cases has had no impact on reducing homicides in the District.

“Over the past few years, the D.C. Council has made great progress reforming the District’s criminal justice system and reversing the damage that tough-on-crime policies have had on black and brown communities for decades. Sentencing reform has shifted away from overly punitive mandatory minimums with laws such as the Youth Rehabilitation Amendment Act and the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act, which give District residents a second chance at life after crimes they had committed in their youth. These laws acknowledge that long sentences do not deter crime, they only destroy lives, families, and communities.

“We hope the court will step in and redress this overreach by the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The briefs can be found here:

This press release can be found here:

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