The D.C. Council is reportedly set to overturn Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s veto of comprehensive criminal reform legislation that would reduce punishments for numerous violent offenses, including carjackings and burglaries.
Bowser vetoed the Revised Criminal Code Act earlier this month, after the council, which lacks a single Republican member, voted unanimously in November to pass it.
The city’s criminal code has been overhauled, with decreased maximum punishments, the deletion of practically all obligatory minimum terms, and extended access to jury trials for people charged with crimes.
Advocates for criminal justice reform argue that the bill is required to update the legislation, which was enacted in 1901, and guarantee that punishments are appropriate to the crimes committed.
Opponents have raised concerns about measures that would allow D.C. convicts, even those guilty of heinous crimes like murder or sexual assault, to request early release 20 years into their sentence.
Bowser expressed reservations about the bill’s lower punishment provisions when she vetoed it on January 3.
Council members are anticipated to override Bowser’s veto and send the bill to Congress, where it will be reviewed by federal legislators for 60 days.
Within that time frame, Congress may pass a joint resolution condemning the Council’s Act. The act will be prohibited from becoming law if President Biden signs the resolution.