DC withdraws its rewritten criminal code from congressional consideration

DC withdraws its rewritten criminal code from congressional consideration

The city council of the District of Columbia withdrew its revised criminal code from Congressional consideration after President Biden pledged to support Republicans and override the effort.

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson informed Vice President Kamala Harris that the council would pull its legislation that lowers the maximum penalties for carjacking and some gun crimes.

The House voted 250-173 on Feb. 9 to overturn the revamped code, which called for lowering the maximum sentence for carjacking from 21 years — 40 if armed with a gun — to 18 or 24 years, respectively.

The max penalty for armed robbery would also be more than halved, from 45 years in prison down to 20 years.

Originally opposed by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser but forced through after her veto, the council’s bill attracted criticism from across the political spectrum.

Thirty-one House Democrats voted to overturn the sentencing guidelines. The Senate was scheduled to vote on the bill Wednesday, six days after Biden told chamber Democrats that he would sign the override legislation.

Despite opposing the sentencing revamp, Bowser herself tweeted earlier this month calling “on all senators who share a commitment to the basic democratic principles of self-determination and local control to vote ‘NO’ on any disapproval resolutions involving duly enacted laws of the District of Columbia.”

Mendelson told Harris Monday the council had decided to withdraw the bill to revamp the code and make it more amenable to critiques. It is unclear whether Wednesday’s scheduled Senate vote will go ahead.

From Jan. 1 through March 6 of this year, DC had recorded increases in homicide (31%), sexual abuse (113%), motor vehicle theft (110%), theft from autos (21%), other theft (17%), and arson (300%) over the same period last year, according to police.

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