DC Council to Override Mayor's Veto and Lessen Criminal Penalties - For 'Fairness'

Brittany M. Hughes | January 17, 2023
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If you're looking to take a family trip to see the Washington Monument or poke around the National Mall this spring, you may want to change your plans.

If not, park at your own risk.

The city council in Washington, D.C. is shoving through legislation that would end mandatory minimum sentences and scale back criminal penalties for crimes like carjacking and robbery, even as their own mayor - a Democrat, to boot - says the bill goes too far.

Mayor Muriel Bowser, herself a bleeding heart liberal who absolutely loves big government tinkering, vetoed the “Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022” earlier this month, saying it failed to make D.C. safer. And for once, she’s right - the bill actually lessens the punishment for certain violent crimes that have only risen over the past several years. Carjackings, for example, have increased year-over-year for five straight years, according to Axios. In 2022, the 68-square-mile city saw 485 carjackings, up 14% from 2021.

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And it doesn’t look like 2023 will be much better. Thefts from cars parked in D.C. are already up 30% over this time last year, while thefts of cars are up 113%. Robberies are up 57%, and overall property crime, which includes burglary, is up 42%.

Even still, the D.C. City Council voted to override Bowser’s veto, unanimously passing the bill that lowers the maximum penalties for many crimes while completely eliminating nearly every mandatory minimum. The bill also includes a provision that allows inmates convicted of even the most violent crimes, including murder and rape, to ask for early release 20 years into their sentence. These revisions will make the city’s 120-year-old criminal code more “just, equitable, & clear,” according to Councilman Charles Allen, with D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb adding the changes “provide long overdue clarity and fairness.”

To criminals, that is. Everyone else? Not so much.

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