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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. DAVIS of California. Mr. Chairman, I really respect the gentleman and what he's bringing forward, but the reality is that mandatory minimums have been shown to actually reduce the incidence of reporting.

Judges and juries need the ability to decide with discretion and not strictly by its appearance. Sometimes--and we've seen this many times--mandatory minimums can have the opposite effect: encouraging jurors to make a decision based on the potential sentence as opposed to the facts.

That's why I'm standing in opposition, because we also know that organizations who have worked very hard to look at this issue worry that this could go in the wrong direction. Protect our Defenders, which has been a very strong advocacy group for victims, worries that when a jury knows that a perpetrator will automatically be dishonorably discharged, that the jury will be less likely to assign confinement charges in addition. They need to see the full picture.

So we must take caution to judge every case individually.

As we have additional speakers, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mrs. DAVIS of California. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.

This is a complex issue. We know that. I think what we feel is this further complicates it. I think my colleague has introduced with Congresswoman Tsongas a bill that does much of what we're talking about here, but there is an exception in terms of the way that the jury is able to move forward here. We think that this actually makes sense so that the decisions that are made are absolutely based on an individual case and what we can offer in terms of making certain that the perpetrator is held accountable.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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