S. 1437 (95th): Criminal Code Reform Act

May 02, 1977 (95th Congress, 1977–1978)
Died (Passed Senate)
John McClellan
Senator from Arkansas
Related Bills
H.R. 6869 (identical)

Referred to Committee
Last Action: May 03, 1977


This bill was introduced in a previous session of Congress and was passed by the Senate on January 30, 1978 but was never passed by the House.

Introduced May 02, 1977
Referred to Committee May 02, 1977
Reported by Committee Nov 15, 1977
Passed Senate Jan 30, 1978
Full Title

A bill to codify, revise, and reform title 18 of the United States Code; and for other purposes.


No summaries available.

4 cosponsors (2D, 2R) (show)

Senate Judiciary

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Primary Source

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Library of Congress Summary

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

1/30/1978--Passed Senate amended.
(Measure passed Senate, amended, roll call #21 (72-15)) Criminal Code Reform Act - =
Title I - Codification, Revision, and Reform of Title 18=
Forbids judges from giving an opinion on whether a fact has been fully or sufficiently proven.
Defines the criminal jurisdiction of the United States. Declares a general rule that the existence of Federal jurisdiction is not preemptive.
Enumerates offenses which are exceptions to the rule.
Lists culpable states of mind; defines them; and requires that, unless otherwise specified, a culpable state of mind must be shown with respect to each element of every offense in this Act. Specifies the particular state of mind which must be shown if an offense is described without designating the required state of mind.
Details standards relative to the liability of an accomplice, of an organization for the conduct of its agent, and of an agent for the conduct of an organization.
Sets forth criminal offenses against the United States. Designates a category for each offense for purposes of punishment rather than prescribing a penalty for each crime separately.
Organizes offenses by type rather than alphabetically.
Specifies the types of offenses as follows:
(1) offenses of general applicability, including criminal attempt, criminal conspiracy, and criminal solicitation;
(2) offenses involving national defense, including treason and related offenses, sabotage and related offenses, espionage and related offenses, and atomic energy offenses;
(3) offenses involving international affairs, including foreign relations crimes, and immigration, naturalization, and passport crimes;
(4) offenses involving government processes, including general obstructions of government functions, obstructions of law enforcement, obstructions of justice, contempt offenses, perjury and related offenses, and official corruption and intimidation;
(5) offenses involving taxation, including internal revenue offenses and customs offenses;
(6) offenses involving individual rights, including civil rights crimes, privacy crimes, and political rights crimes;
(7) offenses involving the person, including homicide offenses, assault offenses, kidnapping and related offenses, highjacking offenses, and sex offenses;
(8) offenses involving property, including arson and other property destruction offenses, burglary and other criminal intrusion offenses, robbery, extortion, blackmail, theft and related offenses, counterfeiting and related offenses, commercial bribery and related offenses, and investment, monetary, and antitrust offenses; and
(9) offenses involving public order, safety, health, and welfare, including organized crime offenses, drug offenses, explosives and firearms offenses, riot offenses, public health offenses, gambling offenses, obscenity offenses, prostitution, failure to obey an officer, and violating State or local law in a Federal enclave.
Includes among new Federal offenses
(1) a series of crimes dealing with obstruction of an election and misuse of power for political purposes,
(2) consumer fraud,
(3) possession of eavesdropping devices,
(4) possession of burglar's tools,
(5) conspiracy in the United States to assassinate a foreign official outside the United States;
(6) abduction of a child from the parent with legal custody by the parent without legal custody;
(7) robbery of certain controlled substances from pharmacies; and
(8) possession of explosives on airport property.
Revises other offenses, among them:
(1) contempt (adds invalidity of court orders as a defense);
(2) discrimination (includes sex as unlawful basis);
(3) rape (includes all sexual assaults, modifies evidentiary requirements and redefines statutory rape);
(4) failure to appear or testify (adds new defenses);
(5) riot (narrows applicability);
(6) marijuana possession (reduces penalties for possession); and
(7) obscenity (allows localities to apply their own standards).
Repeals provisions defining certain crimes including those relative to registration of Communists and communications with a foreign country for the purpose of influencing policy.
Directs that, except as otherwise specifically provided, a defendant who has been found guilty of an offense described in any Federal statute be sentenced in accordance with this Act. Authorizes a sentencing court to
(1) order a presentence study of a defendant, either before or after receipt of the presentence report and commit the defendant to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons pending receipt of such a study or
(2) order a presentence psychiatric examination of a defendant.
Specifies factors to be considered by a sentencing court, including:
(1) the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant;
(2) the need for the sentence imposed to deter similar conduct, protect the public, or provide the defendant needed training;
(3) the applicable sentencing range set forth in guidelines promulgated by the United States Sentencing Commission (established in title II of this Act);
(4) the kinds of sentences available; and
(5) the need to avoid sentencing disparities among defendants who have been found guilty of similar criminal conduct.
Authorizes a court to order a person found guilty of deceptive practices to notify interested persons of the conviction.
Empowers a court to order a guilty defendant to make restitution to a victim of the offense.
Authorizes imposition of a term of probation, unless such sentence is specifically prohibited, with respect to all but the most serious class of felonies.
Lists permissable terms of probation for each category of offenses.
Requires as a mandatory condition of probation that a defendant not commit another crime.
Enumerates discretionary conditions of probation.
Sets forth provisions relative to the running of a term of probation and revocation of probation.
Authorizes imposition of a fine upon any person found guilty of an offense.
Sets limits on the amount of a fine for each category of offenses.
Prescribes higher maximums for organizational than for individual defendants.
Permits as an alternative, a maximum fine of twice the gain derived or twice the loss caused by an offense.
Directs the court, in determining the amount of a fine and the method of its payment, to consider the defendants' financial status.
Prohibits the court from imposing a term of imprisonment as an alternative to payment of a fine.
Details procedures for the modification or remission of a fine.
Authorizes the imposition of a term of imprisonment upon an individual found guilty of an offense.
Specifies maximum terms for each category of offense.
Stipulates that a term of imprisonment in excess of one year may be imposed to be served in full or to be served subject to early release.
Specifies that a term for one year or less shall be imposed to be served in full.
Lists factors to be considered in setting or modifying a term of imprisonment.
Prescribes guidelines relative to concurrent and consecutive terms.
Designates which Federal agency is to have primary responsibility for detecting and investigating the commission of each criminal violation under this Act. Defines the law enforcement authority, including authority to arrest and execute process, of certain officials and employees of the following departments and agencies:
(1) Federal Bureau of Investigation,
(2) Drug Enforcement Administration,
(3) Department of the Treasury,
(4) United States Postal Service,
(5) United States Marshals Service,
(6) United States Probation System,
(7) Bureau of Prisons,
(8) Immigration and Naturalization Service, and
(9) Department of the Interior. Revises provisions relative to interception of communications for law enforcement purposes.
Permits interception of communications with respect to certain crimes not presently covered, such as criminal solicitation of specified offenses and aircraft hijacking.
Restricts interception of communications without a court order in emergency situations to offenses involving treason, sabotage, espionage, or a risk of death, rather than to conspiracies involving national security or organized crime.
Amends provisions regarding extradition.
Repeals provisions relating to extradition of persons fleeing the United States to countries under the control of the United States and to extradition of persons fleeing to the United States from such countries.
Prohibits extradition of a person convicted in absentia unless assurances are made that proceedings will be reopened or unless the person fled after having been present when his trial commenced.
Details new procedures for the arrest and detention of persons who have committed extraditable offenses.
States that extraditability shall be found in an appropriate hearing only upon proof of certain facts, including:
(1) a treaty covering the offense involved is in effect;
(2) the pending criminal charge against the person sought, or the prosecution for the offense of which he was convicted, was brought within any applicable statute of limitations; and
(3) probable cause that the person sought and the person arrested are identical and that the person sought has committed or has been convicted of the alleged offense.
Permits hearsay to be admitted in extradition hearings.
Prescribes standards and procedures for waiver of extradition hearings and for appeal of a judgment issued in such a hearing.
Expands the criminal jurisdiction of United States magistrates to authorize trial of all misdemeanors by such officers.
Restricts the election of a defendant to be tried by a district court rather than by a magistrate, to misdemeanors punishable by more than one year in prison.
Repeals provisions relative to additional bail and demonstration pretrial services agencies.
Permits Federal prosecution of a juvenile charge with a Federal felony if there is a special interest warranting such prosecution, even though State jurisdiction exists and the appropriate State has adequate juvenile services.
Specifies guidelines for
(1) surrender to State authorities of persons age 18-21 who are arrested and charged with a Federal offense and
(2) pretrial release of juveniles.
Provides for the appointment of a guardian ad litem for a juvenile if the judge believes that the parent will not be present, or will not cooperate, or has adverse interests to the juvenile.
Provides for intake screening with regard to all juvenile defendants.
Authorizes, where it is in the interest of justice, prosecution as an adult of a juvenile under 16 years of age who is charged with murder.
Allows a victim of juvenile delinquency to obtain information regarding final disposition of any action as a result of the incident.
Revises procedures for determining mental competency to stand trial.
Sets limits on the time a person deemed incompetent may be confined.
Requires that a person deemed incompetent be released if, after appropriate time limits, he still is incompetent to stand trial, has no prospect of becoming competent, but does not, by clear and convincing evidence, pose a substantial risk to others of serious bodily or property damage.
Sets the same standard for hospitalization of persons acquitted by reason of insanity and or mentally ill prisoners due for release as that for persons incompetent to stand trial who have no prospect to attain capacity to do so in the foreseeable future.
Directs that psychiatric examinations required under this Act be conducted by one psychiatrist or clinical psychologist, unless the defendant requests an additional examiner.
Sets guidelines for psychiatric reports, and mental condition hearings.
Directs the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare to limit the use of psychosurgery, electric shock treatment, and drug treatment applicable to mentally ill prisoners.
Permits, unless contrary to a plea agreement, a defendant to appeal a sentence greater than the maximum allowed under applicable Sentencing Commission guidelines and the Government to appeal a sentence less than the applicable minimum.
Sets forth standards and procedures for appellate court review.
Details special probation and expungement procedures for certain first offense drug possessors.
Designates as eligible for early release any prisoner who has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment that includes a portion of such term during which he is subject to such release.
Directs the United States Parole Commission to grant early release to an eligible prisoner if, having regard for guidelines and pertinent policy statements of the United States Sentencing Commission concerning early release it determines
(1) release at that time is consistent with the factors that led to imposition of the particular sentence,
(2) there is no undue risk of failure to conform to the conditions of early release warranted under the circumstances, and
(3) release, in light of the prisoner's conduct during incarceration, would not have a substantially adverse effect on institutional discipline.
Directs the Bureau of Prisons to conduct a complete study of every prisoner who is due to become eligible for parole.
Entitles a prisoner who is eligible for early release to an interview in accordance with specified procedures.
Provides for an appeal for a person to whom early release is denied.
States that a prisoner released from imprisonment after having been sentenced to a term of imprisonment in excess of one year (even upon expiration of his term of imprisonment) shall be released on parole.
Provides for various pre-parole investigations.
Sets forth ranges for terms of parole according to categories of offense.
Directs the Parole Commission to set conditions of parole, taking into consideration any guidelines or statements of the Sentencing Commission, the circumstances of the offense, the history of the parolee, the need to protect the public from further crimes of the parolee, and the need of the parolee for educational, medical, and other services.
Requires as a mandatory condition that the parolee not commit another crime.
Details procedures for revocation of parole and appeal of Parole Commission decisions.
Increases the number of crimes with respect to which proceeds, instrumentalities, and other property may be forfeited.
Prescribes forfeiture procedures.
Empowers the Attorney General to bring civil actions to prevent and restrain racketeering offenses and to enjoin a practice that constitutes or could constitute a fraudulent scheme or consumer fraud.
Prohibits a Federal agency, under certain circumstances, from considering that a person has been convicted of a Federal, State, or local offense in determining whether or not to grant the person employment.
Establishes in the Treasury a Victim Compensation Fund from which victims of Federal crimes against the person or their surviving dependents may be compensated upon filing a claim with the United States Victim Compensation Board. Conditions compensation upon the offense having been reported to a law enforcement officer within 72 hours, the claim being filed within one year of the offense, and the claimant sustaining a certain minimum loss.
Limits compensation to $50,000 per victim per offense.
Reduces compensation by amounts received from certain other sources.
Excludes from the recodification numerous provisions presently included in Title 18, among them the provisions of the Speedy Trial Act. =
Title II - Amendments to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure=
Requires that a defendant who is not accorded a preliminary examination within the applicable time limit be released from custody or from bail requirements or other conditions of release.
Provides for the convening, in certain judicial districts, of special grand juries to investigate misconduct by public officials or organized crime conditions within such districts.
Limits the term of such grand juries to 18 months, but provides for extensions of up to 18 months.
States that such a jury may file a report with the court concerning its findings, and that a public servant mentioned in such report has a right of reply.
Empowers the court to reject such report, or to temporarily seal an accepted report in order to prevent prejudicial publicity.
Stipulates that other rules applicable to grand juries apply to special grand juries, if they are not inconsistent with this newly enacted rule.
Specifies the procedure for delivering a summons to an organization.
Requires that a person charged with a capital offense be provided, at least three days before trial, with:
(1) a copy of the indictment;
(2) a list of the veniremen; and
(3) a list of the government witnesses to be used at trial.
Adds a new rule on burdens of proof to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure which sets forth standards relative to
(1) proof of offenses, defenses, affirmative defenses, and jurisdiction and
(2) presumptions and prima facie evidence.
Requires, after a witness called by the government has testified on direct examination, the court, on motion of the defendant, to order the attorney for the government to produce any statement in the possession of the government for the use of the defendant.
Amends the rule relating to sentencing, probation, and revocation of probation to conform to the provisions of this Act. Specifies that, in executing a search warrant, an officer may, in certain circumstances, use force in entering any part of a building.
Title III - Amendments to Title 28, United States Code=
Retains the Bureau of Prisons within the Department of Justice. Sets forth additional duties for the Bureau. Establishes, within the Bureau, the National Institute of Corrections, and sets forth the duties of the Institute. Establishes and sets forth the duties of the United States Victim Compensation Board and the United States Sentencing Commission. Continues the Advisory Corrections Council. =
Title IV - General Provisions=
Authorizes such appropriations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act. Specifies that this Act, with certain limited exceptions, shall take effect two years after the date of enactment. Incorporates provisions of law which forbid sexual exploitation of children. =
Title V - Technical and Conforming Amendments Cross-Referenced in Title 18=
Reenacts specified sections of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 and of the Gun Control Act of 1968 which are not included in Title 18 of the United States Code as recodified by this Act as parts of those respective Acts. Provides for punishment of persons violating those sections through the sentencing provisions of Title 18.
Revises the oath which must be submitted by an absentee buyer seeking to purchase a firearm from a licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer.
Reenacts, with certain revisions, provisions regarding jurisdiction over offenses committed in Indian country which are not included in the recodification.
Confers jurisdiction on Kansas, Iowa, and New York with regard to offenses committed by or against Indians on Indian reservations.
Specifies that States that have been granted or have assumed jurisdiction over offenses committed in Indian country may exercise jurisdiction over offenses committed by or against Indians in such country.
Reenacts certain provisions deleted from Title 18 by this Act regarding gathering and disclosing national defense or classified information as parts of the Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950 and the Espionage and Sabotage Act of 1954.
Retains the criminal penalties specified in those sections and stipulates that sections of Title 18 on culpable states of mind shall not apply to such provisions.
Title VI - Technical and Conforming Amendments=
Makes various technical and conforming amendments to certain titles of the United States Code which are affected by this Act.

House Republican Conference Summary

The summary below was written by the House Republican Conference, which is the caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives.

No summary available.

House Democratic Caucus Summary

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