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PURPOSE OF THE BILL

The object of this bill is to provide a more effective means than the law now provides for enforcement of the national prohibition act and other Federal laws in the District of Columbia.

It is intended to enlarge the powers of the District Commissioners and of the Metropolitan police department in enforcing the Federal laws. Necessity for this legislation has been recognized by the President and by the Attorney General of the United States.

At public hearings held by the committee, representatives of the police department in charge of prohibition enforcement activities also stressed the need for additional legislation of this character to cope with the manufacturers and vendors of illicit liquor in the District

The bill would reenact suitable portions of the Sheppard law, which was the District's prohibition act prior to the passage of the national prohibition act. There is doubt as to what parts of the Sheppard law were impliedly repealed by the national act. The bill under consideration would dissipate such doubt by incorporating in the bill some of the Sheppard law's provisions and repealing the remainder of that law.

CONTENTS OF THE BILL

The bill is divided into 16 sections.

Sections 1 and 2 are formal, the first containing definitions, the second defining in general the scope and intent of the proposed legislation.

Section 3 reenacts a section of the Sheppard law prohibiting drinkng and drunkeness in public, and providing penalties therefor. The committee has amended this section to cause it to be applicable only to offenses committed in public.

Section 4 defines the offense of driving vehicles, not including automobiles, while intoxicated, and provides penalties therefor. Automobiles are excluded because of adequate provision for punishment of driving while intoxicated in the traffic act of the District. Most of the language of this section is taken from the Sheppard law.

In section 5, also redrawn from the Sheppard law, it is stated that anyone who “knowingly permits any building owned or leased by him or under his control,' or any part of such building, to be used for maintaining a common nuisance as defined by the national prohibition act, without attempting to eject to lawbreaker, shall be deemed guilty of maintaining a nuisance and be subject to the penalty provided in the national act therefor.

Section 6 clarifies and defines the authority of the District Commissioners and the Metropolitan police in investigating and reporting violations of the prohibitory laws. This legislation is considered most necessary for the District, as only a very few members of the police department now have the status of Federal agents in enforcing the national prohibition act. The section also provides penalties to be imposed upon officers who fail to report knowledge of offenses to the United States Attorney or the corporation counsel.

Sections 7 and 8 require the United States Attorney and the corporation counsel to prosecute diligently cases arising under the various sections of the proposed legislation. The corporation counsel will have jurisdiction over offenses outlined in sections 3 and 4.

Section 9 is based upon section 25, Title II, of the national act, and makes it unlawful to possess, in the District, liquor or property used or intended for use in violating the prohibitory laws. The section also declares no property right to exist in such liquor or property which, if found to be unlawfully held or possessed, shall be destroyed "unless the court shall otherwise order.

Section 10 gives police court judges authority to issue warrants for the arrest of persons charged with offenses against the prohibitory laws and, under certain limitations, search warrants. The latter, the bill provides, may be directed to any Federal agent or District policeman charged with enforcement of the national act.

It is provided that search warrants to search any private dwelling may issue if the dwelling is being used for the sale of liquor, if a still or distilling apparatus is set up or used therein, or if liquor is unlawfully delivered thereto for purpose of sale or is unlawfully removed therefrom.

The section also contains provision that property seized under a search warrant issued under this proposed legislation shall not be recoverable by writ of replevin or similar process, but shall be subject to such disposition as the court may order. No liquor is to be returned after seizure, it is provided, unless the court be satisfied that the claimant lawfully acquired, possessed, and used the same.

Section 11 gives Federal prohibition agents and District police authority to seize any vehicle used in the District to transport or assist in transporting liquor illegally, and to confiscate liquor found in such vehicles. The discovery of liquor in any vehicle, it is provided, shall be prima facie evidence of illegal transportation or possession The section further defines the procedure for recovery of the vehicle so seized under bond. The committee has added a clause to protect the court and any lienors from loss if, at a sale ordered by the court, the vehicle should fail to be sold for the total amount of the bond. In such case, the owner of the vehicle would be compelled to pay the difference.

Section 12 would permit the court the choice of selling a seized vehicle, or of turning over to the commissioners or the Treasury Department that vehicle, for use in enforcement of the prohibitory laws. The section also contains provisions for the payment of liens on forfeited vehicles, for an annual accounting to Congress of vehicles acquired for official use under the section, and for the disposition of vehicles no longer needed for such official use.

Section 13 extends to all officers engaged in the performance of duties under this proposed legislation the power and protection afforded by section 28, Title II, of the national act.

Section 14 prescribes penalties for selling liquor to minors; delivering or furnishing (not selling) liquor to minors, and for the second violation of the national act by any District physician or pharmacist. In the last-named case, any such physician or pharmacist, on second conviction, would be deprived of his license to practice for one year.

Section 15 provides authorization for an appropriation of $2,000 for the use of the District Commissioners as a rotating fund, to be used in obtaining evidence of violations of the prohibitory laws. The method of disbursement and a plan of accounting are specified in the section.

Section 16 repeals the Sheppard Act.

LETTER OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

There is appended hereto, as part of the report on this bill, a letter from the Attorney General of the United States, suggesting the advisability and necessity of this legislation for the District.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,

Washington, D. C., December 30, 1929 Hon. ARTHUR CAPPER, Chairman Senate Committee for the District of Columbia,

United States Senate. MY DEAR SENATOR CAPPER: Under date of November 8 I acknowledged receipt of your letter of October 30, in which you suggested the need of some legislation to aid in administering justice in the District of Columbia and stated that the Senate District Committee are anxious to improve law enforcement in the capital of the Nation and would welcome any suggestions that I care to make. I have the honor herewith to submit some suggestions on this subject.

They are limited to matters with which the Department of Justice deals and I have refrained from making any reference to matters which would normally be covered by legislation nation-wide in its application. It may be that some of these suggestions are not within the province of your committee, but that. of course, is for you to determine.

1. I inclose for your consideration a draft of a bill for an act supplemental to the national prohibition act for the District of Columbia, together with an explanatory memorandum prepared in this department. The basis for this draft is a bill submitted November 21 to this department by Senator Howell, of Nebraska, the inclosed draft being a revision of Senator Howell's bill. We used Senator Howell's bill as a basis in order that those interested in this matter might work along the same lines and avoid confusion. Many things in this bill are more in the nature of clarifications of existing law than new legislation. It enlarges and more sharply defines the duties and powers of the District Commissioners and the police of the District in the matters of prohibition enforcement, and in that respect it responds to the suggestion of the President in his recent message to the Congress.

2. I recommend legislation to provide at once two additional judges for the Supreme Court of the District. I am inclosing for your information documents containing a mass of statistical information respecting the business of the court, together with reports from its chief justice and the United States attorney, There is no room for difference of opinion as to the need for at least one additional judge. I am satisfied that two additional judges should now be provided and that the only question about the second additional judge is whether he may be needed after the lapse of three or four years. If it be deemed advisable to antici. pate that event, the legislation might provide that the first vacancy occurring after the expiration of four years shall not be filled unless it be in the office of chief justice to be filled by then advancing an associate. There is a very serious congestion of cases in that court. Criminal cases where the accused are in jail without bond are kept fairly current, being given preference. The calendar of cases where the defendants are able to give bail is many months behind Delay in the trial of criminal cases means lax law enforcement. Witnesses move away, die, or disappear, acquittals result, cases have to be nolle prossed, guilty defendants thus escape punishment, and the whole machinery of law enforcement slows down, and we lose the deterrent effect of speedy trial and punishment. A similar condition exists in the District respecting padlock injunction cases under the national prohibition act, which should be effective weapons in the enforcement of that statute. There are a large number of those pending in the District, and it takes from one to one and one-half years to secure à trial in such a case after it is instituted. The prompt trial and disposition of such cases would tend to deter proprietors and tenants of real estate from allowing the use of their property for the violation of the national prohibition

act. There is likewise a great delay in the trial of private civil cases in the Supreme Court of the District. The equity calendar is more than a year behind. Such delays result often in denial of justice to private litigants, particularly to poor people.

The court is so far behind that with one additional judge it would be a slow process for it to bring its dockets up to date. The public interest requires that this be done as rapidly as possible. Two additional judges will expedite the work. Suggestions have been made for rearranging the respective jurisdictions of the police, municipal, and supreme courts of the District, or for simplifying the procedure in the supreme court through its rule-making power or by legislation, and for relieving congestion in the Federal courts generally by one means or another. Ultimate improvement may be brought about by such means, but immediate relief requires an addition to the number of judges. If other measures for relief make it unnecessary to retain nine judges permanently, that can be arranged at the appropriate time.

I can not lay too much emphasis on the effect of congestion in the courts on enforcement of the criminal laws, including prohibition. The District of Columbia is not the only place where such conditions exist. There are four main cogs in the machinery for the enforcement of criminal laws: First, the agencies authorized to discover offenses and obtain evidence; second, the prosecuting attorneys who use the evidence thus prepared for them and try the cases in court; third, the courts and judicial machinery for the trial of the cases; and finally, the prison system, including probations and paroles. All of these agencies, especially the first three, must be adequate. If any one of them is overloaded and clogged, it slows down the others. The United States attorneys charged with the duty of prosecuting the cases in court can not be effective if the courts are not able promptly to dispose of the cases. Likewise the police of the District and the agents of the prohibition unit of the Treasury, whose duty it is to detect offenders, collect the evidence, and lay it before the United States attorney, are not encouraged by a delay of a year or more in the trial of the cases after they are prepared.

It is for these reasons I suggest that every doubt be resolved in favor of any step which tends to expedite the business of the court. With respect to the matter of quarters for two additional judges, I am informed that one courtroom already has been provided and there is space in the present courthouse which could immediately be arranged to accommodate a second judge. In that connection I am inclosing a report from the chairman of a committee of the local bar association. I believe bills authorizing additional judges have already been drawn and introduced.

3. I am inclosing documents showing the extent of the business transacted by the municipal and police courts of the District of Columbia. The police court of the District, operating under great difficulties, is disposing of a vast amount of business, including many minor cases arising under the national prohibition act. The great need of the police court is for enlarged quarters. Those now provided are inadequate, and all corridors and offices to which the public has access are badly congested when the court is in session.

I am informed that the plan for a municipal center in the District, as part of the District development, will care for this, and that legislation has been enacted authorizing the acquisition of sites and that some appropriations have been made for that purpose, but none yet for the building which is to house the police court, and that the present plans do not contemplate appropriations for a building to house the police court until the fiscal year 1932. On this basis it may be four or five years before adequate quarters are provided for the police court. There is not much use in considering any enlargement of personnel in that court before additional space becomes available. Possibly the District Commissioners can Arrange for additional space to relieve the congestion pending construction of the permanent building.

4. In respect of the office of the United States Attorney in the District of Columbia, there is no District legislation needed. Any increase in personnel that may be required is merely a matter of additional departmental appropria tions. If the court machinery is enlarged so that the volume of business transa ted may be increased and the work speeded up, this department will see to it that the District attorney is provided with adequate assistance.

5. One other matter deserves mention, and that is the need for some legisla tion in the District providing for governmental supervision of those engaged in the business of the sale of securities. While that is not a matter directly with a the province of this department, we touch it indirectly. This department is at times required to investigate and prosecute, and the courts of the District to consider, transactions of this nature alleged to violate the statutes relating to use of the mails, and other Federal penal acts. Prevention is better than prosecution, and it would tend to relieve the burdens of this department and of the courts of the District if legislation were enacted similar to that adopted in many States for the supervision of such business. Respectfully yours,

WILLIAM D. MITCHELL,

Attorney General. O

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