Although carjackings can be among the most violent and dangerous property crimes, far-left lawmakers in the nation’s capital believe the criminals convicted of such acts are being punished too severely.
The district’s council is pushing for the approval of a new criminal code that would lower the maximum penalty for this and other crimes, including robbery and burglary. If approved, the proposal would also eliminate the majority of mandatory minimum sentences and provide defendants facing misdemeanor charges with a jury trial.
It is worth noting that the progressive scheme is too extreme even for Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser, who vetoed the act earlier this month. The council recently announced plans to vote on whether to override her veto in its next meeting.
Today, @CMCharlesAllen and I are moving to override the Mayor’s veto of the Revised Criminal Code Act.
The veto threatens to unravel years of work and thorough study that has culminated in a criminal code that is more just, equitable, & clear — making us all safer. pic.twitter.com/jIRB94Dm18
— Councilmember Brooke Pinto (@CMBrookePinto) January 10, 2023
“This bill does not make us safer,” Bowser declared upon vetoing the bill. “Anytime there’s a policy that reduces penalties, I think it sends the wrong message.”
Plenty of district residents across the ideological spectrum agree with her criticism of the measure, but proponents say the changes would address structural racism within the penal code.
D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb, for example, insisted: “Reforms to D.C.’s 122-year-old criminal code — passed before women and Black residents enjoyed fundamental rights — are sorely needed. This bill will improve public safety and provide long overdue clarity and fairness in our justice system.”
Aside from concerns that the reforms would result in even higher rates of crime across the district, experts also cite the toll that the bill would take on the court system as a reason to oppose it.
U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves noted that D.C. “lacks control over the size of the court, the funding for the court, and how quickly judges get placed on the court,” noting that “tripling or quadrupling the number of jury trials our already strapped court must schedule will only negatively impact our court.”
As Bowser began her third term in office, she echoed the concerns of many conservatives outraged by the trend toward defunding police agencies and reducing punishment for serious crimes.
Just 12 days into 2023, there was already a clear spike in crimes of almost all types compared to the same period last year. Car thefts had nearly doubled and homicides were up by 40%.
In total, 976 crimes were reported as of Thursday, which is a 38% increase over the same period in 2022.