Russell Feingold on Crime
Democratic Jr Senator (WI)
Death penalty defendants often donít get adequate counsel
SEN. FEINGOLD: Nowhere is this guarantee of ďthe assistance of counsel for his defenseĒ more important than in cases where the defendantís life is on the line. In a death penalty case you decided in 2004 called Rompilla v. Horn, you rejected the
defendantís argument that his attorneys had failed to do an adequate investigation to prepared for his sentencing hearing. The Supreme Court reversed your decision, ruling that the defense attorneyís failure to even review evidence they knew the
prosecution was going to introduce at sentencing violated the Sixth Amendment.
ALITO: We had to apply the standard of review that is set out in the habeas corpus statute as revised by Congress.
FEINGOLD: Would your approach have been any different
as a Supreme Court justice?
ALITO: One of the attorneys was the head of a public defenderís office. My evaluation of the facts of the case would be the same. But the Supreme Courtís decision in that case is a precedent that I would have to deal with.
Source: Sam Alito Senate Confirmation Hearings
Jan 11, 2006
Alito votes more pro-death penalty than most GOP judges
SEN. FEINGOLD: Your record in death penalty case has been more anti-capital defendant even than most Republican-appointed judges. In every disputed capital case that you heard?cases in which a panel of three judges did not all agree?you would have ruled
against the defendant.
ALITO: Iíve only sat on a handful of capital cases, and in some of them I voted to uphold the death penalty and in a number of them I voted to strike down the death penalty.
FEINGOLD: What are your views on the potential of
these three issues?the jury selection, the inadequate representation and an elected judiciary?to skew a capital prosecution against the defendant?
ALITO: I think the elected judges in Pennsylvania do a conscientious effort to carry out their
responsibilities. Congress reformulated the standards in AEDPA, in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, limiting our review, and it is our obligation to conduct the kind of review that Congress has indicated we should be conducting.
Source: Sam Alito Senate Confirmation Hearings
Jan 11, 2006
Voted YES on reinstating $1.15 billion funding for the COPS Program.
Amendment would increase funding for the COPS Program to $1.15 billion for FY 2008 to provide state and local law enforcement with critical resources. The funding is offset by an unallocated reduction to non-defense discretionary spending.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
This amendment reinstates the COPS Program. I remind everyone, when the COPS Program was functioning, violent crime in America reduced 8.5% a year for 7 years in a row. Throughout the 1990s, we funded the COPS Program at roughly $1.2 billion, and it drove down crime. Now crime is rising again. The COPS Program in the crime bill worked, and the Government Accounting Office found a statistical link between the COPS grants and a reduction in crime.
The Brookings Institution reported the COPS Program is one of the most cost-effective programs we have ever had in this country. Local officials urgently need this support.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
The COPS Program has some history. It was started by President Clinton. He asked for 100,000 police officers. He said that when we got to 100,000, the program would stop. We got to 110,000 police officers and the program continues on and on and on.
This program should have ended 5 years ago or 6 years ago, but it continues. It is similar to so many Federal programs that get constituencies that go on well past what their original purpose was. It may be well intentioned, but we cannot afford it and we shouldn't continue it. It was never thought it would be continued this long.
Reference: Biden Amendment;
Bill S.Amdt.529 on S.Con.Res.21
; vote number 2007-110
on Mar 23, 2007
Voted YES on $1.15 billion per year to continue the COPS program.
Vote on an amendment to authorize $1.15 billion per year from 2000 through 2005 to continue and expand the Community Oriented Policing Services program. $600 million of the annual funding is marked for hiring additional officers [up to 50,000]
; vote number 1999-139
on May 20, 1999
Voted NO on limiting death penalty appeals.
Vote to table, or kill, a motion to send the bill back to the joint House-Senate conference committee with instructions to delete the provisions in the bill that would make it harder for prisoners given the death penalty in state courts to appeal.
; vote number 1996-66
on Apr 17, 1996
Voted NO on limiting product liability punitive damage awards.
Approval of a limit on punitive damages in product liability cases.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)59; N)40; NV)1
Reference: Conference Report on H.R. 956;
Bill H. R. 956
; vote number 1996-46
on Mar 21, 1996
Voted NO on restricting class-action lawsuits.
Restriction of class-action security lawsuits.
Status: Veto Overridden Y)68; N)30; P)1
Reference: H.R. 1058 passage over veto;
Bill H.R. 1058
; vote number 1995-612
on Dec 22, 1995
Voted YES on repealing federal speed limits.
Repeal federal speeding limits.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)64; N)36
Reference: Motion to table Lautenberg Amdt #1428;
Bill S. 440
; vote number 1995-270
on Jun 20, 1995
Voted NO on mandatory prison terms for crimes involving firearms.
Vote on the motion to instruct conferees on the bill to insist that the conference report include Mandatory prison terms for the use, possession, or carrying of a firearm or destructive device during a state crime of violence or drug trafficking
; vote number 1994-126
on May 19, 1994
Voted NO on rejecting racial statistics in death penalty appeals.
Vote to express that the Omnibus Crime bill [H.R. 3355] should reject the Racial Justice Act provisions, which would enable prisoners appealing death penalty sentences to argue racial discrimination using sentencing statistics as part of their appeal.
Bill S 1935
; vote number 1994-106
on May 11, 1994
Rated 100% by CURE, indicating pro-rehabilitation crime votes.
Feingold scores 100% by CURE on rehabilitation issues
CURE (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants) is a membership organization of families of prisoners, prisoners, former prisoners and other concerned citizens. CURE's two goals are
The ratings indicate the legislatorís percentage score on CUREís preferred votes.
Source: CURE website 00n-CURE on Dec 31, 2000
- to use prisons only for those who have to be in them; and
- for those who have to be in them, to provide them all the rehabilitative opportunities they need to turn their lives around.
Moratorium on death penalty; more DNA testing.
Feingold co-sponsored a bill limiting capital punishment:
H.R. 1038, S.233:
To place a moratorium on executions by the Federal Government and urge the States to do the same, while a National Commission on the Death Penalty reviews the fairness of the imposition of the death penalty . S.486 & H.R.912:
To reduce the risk that innocent persons may be executed [by examining DNA evidence more thoroughly].
Source: H.R.912 01-HR1038 on Mar 7, 2001
- H. R. 912, 3/7/2001, Innocence Protection Act of 2001 (Delahunt, et. al.)
- S.486, 3/7/2001, Innocence Protection Act of 2001 (Leahy, et. al.)
- H.R.1038, 3/15/2001, National Death Penalty Moratorium Act of 2001 (Jackson (IL), Rodriguez, Clay, Hoeffel, Jackson-Lee (TX))
- S.233, 1/31/2001, National Death Penalty Moratorium Act of 2001 (Feingold, Levin, Wellstone, Corzine)
Require DNA testing for all federal executions.
Feingold co-sponsored the Innocence Protection Act:
Title: To reduce the risk that innocent persons may be executed.
Summary: Authorizes a person convicted of a Federal crime to apply for DNA testing to support a claim that the person did not commit:
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR912 on Mar 7, 2001
- the Federal crime of which the person was convicted; or
- any other offense that a sentencing authority may have relied upon when it sentenced the person with respect to such crime.
- Prohibits a State from denying an application for DNA testing made by a prisoner in State custody who is under sentence of death if specified conditions apply.
- Provides grants to prosecutors for DNA testing programs.
- Establishes the National Commission on Capital Representation.
- Withholds funds from States not complying with standards for capital representation.
- Provides for capital defense incentive grants and resource grants.
- Increases compensation in Federal cases, and sets forth provisions regarding compensation in State cases, where an individual is unjustly sentenced to death.
- Adds a certification requirement in Federal death penalty prosecutions.
- Expresses the sense of Congress regarding the execution of juvenile offenders and the mentally retarded.
Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010