As reported in the DCIST: The DC Council has begun a process to evaluate a sweeping rewrite of the city’s criminal code, a deep-in-the-weeds and yet potentially consequential effort to better define crimes, clarify terms and penalties, and repeal outdated offenses — some dating back more than a century.
The proposal could also have a more immediate impact on the city’s criminal justice system. It recommends that the right to a a jury trial be restored for most misdemeanor offenses, scraps mandatory minimum sentences, and gives anyone who has served 15 years in prison a chance to petition a judge for early release.
The push to review and suggest revisions to the hundreds of pages of law that make up the city’s criminal code started in 2016, spearheaded by the independent D.C. Criminal Code Revision Commission. Last month the commission submitted a 325-page bill to the council encompassing its proposed changes; Thursday’s public hearing will be the first of a series on the commission’s bill.