Drug War Prisoners


David Correa 03627-068
FCC Coleman-Medium
P.O. Box 879, MB-1
Coleman, FL 33521-0879
August 25, 2000

Dear Web Site,

It's been a long time since I heard from you. I hope this letter finds you in good health. I'm fine but can use a rest! I am still fighting for my life. I read in your letter that you are overworked also. But that is a good sign.

Now about Public Law 98-473. Please pay close attention. The very people in Congress who swore to "uphold the Constitution" have violated the trust of all Americans. They have passed illegal acts which have gone to become law. If you read the letter from my parents to Senator Connie Mack dated June 7, 2000, you will see what the question is. Then you have Connie Mack's letter in response dated June 19 where he states that the law is legal and why. Then on August 24 by Certified mail my parents tell him exactly where it violated the Constitution.

You may ask what good is this? Well, I will tell you. It will open the doors for our families to start a "Class Action Law Suit" against the 98th Congress for passing laws that destroyed the lives of those of us in prison. We plan to get all this published. Also, we would like to get this on the internet for all to see what our government is doing in the name of the War on Drugs.

The bottom line is that the Federal government is taking people's money and property illegally. That is correct! The law that gives the police the power to arrest us is in violation of the mandates of the US Constitution

I'll write some more soon, but I wanted to get this out to you ASAP.

Yours sincerely,

David Correa

 

Mr and Mrs Francisco Correa to Honorable Connie Mack
June 7, 2000 (excerpted)
 
Dear Senator Mack,

 

Re: Question: Is Public Law 98-473, known as the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, Senate Bill S. 1762, legal under the Constitution of the United States?

Because of your renowned integrity as a Senator, we have chosen you as the person to whom to present the above question. We are sure you will give us a truthful answer.

We are retired senior citizens and have been researching the enactment of Public Law 98-473. This is what we have learned.

The Senate introduced a Comprehensive Crime Control package as bill S. 1762. This bill was never reviewed or voted on by the House of Representatives. Instead, bill S. 1762 was attached to a Continuing Appropriations bill (H.R. 648) and sent to the President for his signature to become Public Law 98-473.

Public Law 98-473 has touched the life, liberty and property of WE THE PEOPLE. Therefore, this is considered major legislation. It has been established that all major legislation must be reviewed and voted on by both the Senate and the House of Representatives before it is presented to the President for signature. This was not the case with S. 1762.

This massive Crime Control bill circumvented the bicameral requirement of Article I, Section 7, clause 2 of the Constitution of the United States. It is therefore NULL and VOID. It is unconstitutional and without any legal force or effect. Please get back to us and clarify this matter which is of the greatest importance to the citizens of this great nation.

Sincerely yours,
Ruth and Francisco Correa.

 

United States Senate
June 19, 2000 (excerpted)
 
Dear Mr and Mrs Correa,

Thank you for your letter. I appreciate the opportunity to learn of your concerns.

As you may know, S. 1762 was introduced on August 4, 1983, by Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC). This legislation was passed with additional amendments on February 2, 1984. On June 28, 1984, this bill was introduced into the House of Representatives by Congressman Hamilton Fish (R-NY) as H.R. 5963. Rather than being voted on as a stand alone bill, H.R. 5963 was attached to House Resolution 648 as an amendment. H. Res. 648 was passed on September 25, 1984. The vote to include H.R. 5963 as an amendment and the subsequent vote to approve H. Res. 648 meets the requirements needed for H.R. 5963 to be considered passed in the House of Representatives.

As you noted, Public Law 98-473 required bicameral support, which it received through the passage of S. 1762 and H. Res. 648. Passing both the House and the Senate allowed this to become public law.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns on this important issue. Knowing how you feel helps me to better represent you and the state of Florida in the United States Senate.

Sincerely,
Connie Mack
United States Senator

 

Mr and Mrs Francisco Correa
August 24, 2000 by certified mail
 
Dear Senator Mack,
 
Re: Your letter dated June 9, 2000

Thank you for responding to our letter regarding Public Law 98-473. We must respectfully disagree with the position you have taken. There are a couple of significant issues which have been consistently overlooked. First, contrary to your assessment, the Crime Control Bill of 1983, known as H.R. 5963, was never considered or approved by a majority vote on the floor of the House. H.R. 5963 contained 46 parts. The House passed only 15 parts. 4 more parts passed the Judiciary Committee. No other parts were reported by subcommittees, and only 3 more parts were subjected to hearings. 24 parts of the crime bill never received any House action whatsoever. As a matter of fact and record, large portions of H.R. 5963 languished and remained in the House Judiciary Committee and subcommittees throughout the vote for its approval.

The September 25, 1984, House vote was not aimed at passing a "substantive legislation measure" in conformity with the expressed procedures of the Constitution's prescription for legislative enactments. Instead, the vote was aimed at approving a made-to-order rule change allowing amendments which have been considered and passed by the House. However, the vote approving the attachment of H.R. 5963 to the continuing House Resolution 648 was unconstitutional. The reason being that H.R. 5963 had never been considered in its totality or passed by a majority of the House of Representatives. The explicit prescription for legislative action contained in Article I cannot be amended by legislation or made-to-order rule changes. See INS vs. Chadha, 462 US 919, 77 L.Ed. 2d. 317, 103 S.Ct. 2764 (1983).

The history of the Comprehensive Crime Control Bill dates back to the second session of the 97th Congress. The 1982 House Bill Records at Page 2466 records the evolution of H.R. 3963, which came to rest with President Reagan's pocket veto on January 3, 1983. See 128 Congressional Record 33435. The following facts and events are quoted verbatim from the House Bill Records showing a fundamental disagreement between the two legislative bodies:

"H.R. 3963 - to amend the contract services for Drug Dependent Offenders Act of 1978 to extend the periods for which funds are authorized to be appropriated - Reported (no no written report), 25895. - Amended and passed Senate (in lieu of S. 2572), 26581. - Senate insisted on its amendments and asked for a conference. Conferees appointed, 26611. - House disagreed with Senate Amendment, 12275. - Senate further insisted on its amendments and asked for a conference, 28439. - Conferees appointed , 28441. - House disagreed to Senate amendment and agreed to further conference. Conferees appointed, 29696. - Senate further insisted on its amendments, 32270. - House concurred in Senate amendment, 32886. - Rules suspended and House receded from disagreement to amendment of Senate and concurred with an amendment, 32916. - Senate concurred in House amendment to Senate amendment, 32767-32785. - Examined and signed , 33434, 33629. - Presented to the President, 33435. Pocket vetoed, 33432."

President Reagan pocket vetoed House Resolution 3963 after the second session of the 97th Congress adjourned sine die on December 23, 1982. A Presidential message was received by Congress on January 20, 1983. See 192 Senate Journal at 754; also see 128 Congressional record at 33432; finally see volume 19 weekly compilation of Presidential documents for January 14, 1983, at 47.

On March 14, 1983, the President sent his message to Congress explaining his reasons for the pocket veto of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1983, (H.R. 3963). The veto message did contain a 42 point proposal outlining the Administration's position in the areas of bail reform, forfeitures, insanity, sentencing, etc. The Presidential message to Congress was delivered and read by Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. Senator Thurmond was one of the sponsors of the Crime Control Bill vetoed by the President.

On March 16, 1983, Senators Strom Thurmond and Paul Laxalt introduced the Administration's 42 point proposal as Senate Bill S. 829, which contained the President's version of the Comprehensive Crime Control legislation. See 129 Congressional Record - 53076. It should be noted that the vetoed Comprehensive Crime Bill of 1983 was never reconsidered by either the House or the Senate because it was common knowledge in both legislative chambers that the House would never have a two-thirds vote of approval to override the President's veto.

By September, 1983, the Senate Judiciary Committee had dismantled the Administration's 42 point proposal (S. 829) into a number of individual legislative proposals. Senator Kennedy introduced a bill seeking sentencing reform (S. 668). See 98th Congress, 1st session; 129 Congressional Record - 22883. Senators Thurmond and Biden introduced a bill cotitled "Comprehensive Crime Control Act" (S. 1762). See 98th Congress, 1st session; 129 Congressional Record - 22884.

On Friday, January 27, 1984, the Senate convened at 12 noon. Senator Baker addressing the Chair stated:

"� at no later than 1 o'clock today and perhaps earlier, if there is no further requirement for morning business, it is the intention of the leadership on this side to ask the Senate to turn to the consideration of S. 1762, the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1983 �."

On January 31, 1984, Senator Mathias addressing the Senate's President, gave a clear indication the S. 1762, and the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1983 vetoed by President Reagan, are identical bills in scope, intent, and purpose:

"Mr President, once more I will vote no on the crime legislation that is once more before Senate. I opposed a virtually identical bill last year during the 97th Congress, and nothing has occurred since then to change my view point on this legislation."

Ultimately, on February 2, 1984, just five days into the Senate Debate on S. 1762, the omnibus crime bill known as the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1983 once again passed the Senate by 91 yeas to only 1 nay. The Senate's actions in passing substantive legislation can hardly be considered transparent in light of the Senate's Rules and Regulations. However, what followed in the House of Representatives on September 25, 1984, and culminated in the Senate 10 days later can only be considered an obvious violation of Article I, Section 1 and 7 of the US Constitutional requirements of "bicameralism."

Following the passage of the omnibus crime bill by the Senate's majority, S. 1762 came down to the House of Representatives in the part of February 1984. Once again in 1984, as in previous years, the House Judiciary Committee was inclined to take a very different approach to sentencing reform and substantive anti-crime legislation that the Senate rushed through. See "The Rush to Misjudgment on Crime," New York Times, February 6,1984, at A-18, criticizing the Senate's hastily passed anti-crime bill.

On June 7, 1984, Representative Conyer's Subcommittee on Criminal Justice presented to the House Judiciary Committee a proposal which rejected the entire concept of a Sentencing Commission and sentencing guidelines. See H.R. 4827, 98th Congress, 2nd session 1984

Finally in August 1984, the full House Committee approved a last minute compromise measure, H.R. 6012. But the proposal had few ardent supporters. See Congressional Record - 26834 through 26838, 1984. With the end of the fiscal year, and election day just 42 days away, House members were anxious to hit the campaign trail. Representative Dan Lungren from California and a member of the House Judiciary Committee took the first step in pushing the House to act on the Senate's omnibus crime bill, S. 1762.

On September 25, 1984, when H.R. 648, the continuing appropriations resolution, reached the House floor, Representative Lungren moved to have H.R. 648 "recommitted" to the Appropriations Committee, with instructions to return the funding bill to the House floor with the Senate's bill (S. 1762, the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1983) attached. It is important to point out at this juncture that the government had only six days before it ran out of money, and the Senate's entire Comprehensive Crime Control Act, S. 1862, was now attached to the "must pass" appropriations bill. Had the House decided to permit full consideration of S. 1762, as required by the "becameral process," and thereby delay the passage of H.R. 648, the Federal government would have shut down.

It appears that the majority of legislators were more concerned with the fiscal-government shutdown that with the preservation of the Constitution' bicameral process requirements. A fact explicitly recognized by Representative Witten from Mississippi, as he was expressing his fears on the floor of the House:

"What ever the reason for our present situation, the problem is that on October 1st we begin a new Fiscal Year and unless we act quickly, practically the whole government comes to a stand still." See Congressional Record - House 10025, September 25, 1984.

Equally troubled, Representative Myers from Indiana also echoed similar concerns to those voiced moments earlier by Representative Witten addressing the Chairman:

"� that is because on Sunday night, if we do not pass this CR, or some continuing resolution, major portions of our Federal government are going to be shut down�." See Congressional Record - House 10027, September 25, 1984.

Representative Witten, after complaining about the number of amendments added by the Senate, announced:

"Mr Chairman, today I bring to the floor of the House a resolution which will continue the orderly operations of the government. The rule that we are operating under today provides for the House to work its will on eleven amendments."

Representative Lott speaking from the floor indicated that the Rules Committee lost their motion to present a "clean bill" (H.R. 648). Mr Lott suggested:

"� that as long as we are taking this task we should use the opportunity to add just one item that doesn't involve spending a lot of additional money - it authorizes a minimal amount - and yet should be one of our top priorities in these waning days of the 98th Congress. I am referring to the Administration's omnibus anti-crime package. The other body passed S 1762, the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, on February2 of this year by a vote of 91 to 1. The ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, the gentleman from New York (Mr Fish), introduced that identical bill as H.R. 5963 on June 28 of this year. And yet, both bills continue to languish in the House Judiciary Committee �." See Congressional Record - House 10026, September 25, 1984.

Representative Fish from New York took the floor in support of allowing more amendments to H.R. 648, but not without reservation on the "unorthodox" procedure - referring to the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, S. 1762. Mr Fish recognized the following:

"The failure to consider this important package rests on the House leaders who have prevented this body from acting upon criminal law reforms�. It is this extraordinary refusal to permit consideration of crime issues which has led to these procedures � Mr Speaker, S. 1762, and its companion, H.R. 5963, contained 46 parts. The House has passed only 15 parts. Four more have passed the Judiciary Committee. No others have been reported by subcommittees, and only 3 more have been the subject of hearings. Mr Speaker, 24 parts of their Comprehensive Crime Control Act have received no House action whatsoever. Over half of the bipartisan Senate crime bill, which not a single Senate Democrat voted against, has not been subjected to hearings. Mr Speaker, because of the slow process for the last year and a half that has brought us to this point, there is no time for Congress to act on all this legislation individually." See Congressional Record - House 10026, September 25, 1984.

Representative Meyers also supported amending the Senate's Comprehensive Crime Control Act, S. 1762, to H.R. 648, the continuing appropriations bill, but went on record stating:

" � this is an appropriations bill. The amendments that have been made in order by this rule have been considered and passed by the House. To include this crime bill which has not yet been considered by the House and would be allowed only one half- hour for such an important bill is not the way to make law. The crime problem is too important to limit the discussion and not even allow possible amendments." See Congressional Record - House 10027, September 25, 1984.

Similarly, Representative Quillen went on record to air his concerns about the proposed amendments:

"I do not want anyone to feel that Jim Quillen does not support the anti-crime package, I do. I think the way that it is being proposed today is not correct�. The continuing resolution is not the place for the anti-crime measure. It deserves special attention. It deserves a special schedule on the floor of the House. It deserves full debate because it is so important to America, but tacking it on to a continuing resolution is merely making a point, and I do not think at this late hour it is the time to do it. We all know the importance of the anti-crime package. This is not the vehicle, we are only making a show." See Congressional Record - House 10028-29, September 25, 1984.

Representative Hughes, the Chairman of the House Crime Subcommittee, went on record stating his concerns:

"Mr Speaker, I want to say this to my colleague, the gentleman from Tennessee, that he is absolutely right; it is a show and I regret it because crime is really not a partisan issue �. Here my colleagues now want to offer in the continuing resolution bills that have never been taken up in the Congress Measures, in some instance that we bypass � now they want to tack these bills on to the continuing resolution without the benefit of hearings, debate, or thoughtful examination�. So I would urge my colleagues to vote for the previous question. Placing non-germane measures on the continuing resolution is no way to legislate�."

Although H.R. 648, the appropriations bill, was ultimately approved in roll No. 411, by 218 yeas to 174 nays, these excerpts from the House Congressional Record clearly demonstrate the total disregard for the "bicameral" requirements of Article I, Sections 1 and 7. It appears that the 218 yeas, the majority and leadership of the House of Representatives, were more concerned with going home than preserving the Constitution as their office oath clearly provides.

Representative Myers, in expressing his support for the unconstitutional made-to-order rule triggering the unicameral amendment of the Senate's Comprehensive Crime Control Act, S. 1762, to the continuing resolution, H.R. 648, stated for the record:

"Mr Speaker, I rise in support of the rule, and I am opposed to any other move to not approve this rule. I recognize that this rule does provide more than many of us would like to see, but this hour in this session of the Congress, when most members want to go home, and recognizing the responsibility that we have here in the House to complete the nation's work � I see no other choice but to support this rule today." See Congressional Record - House 10027, September 25, 1984.

The latter quoted verbatim statements, taken from the Congressional House-Bill Records, are instructive to the reader and clearly indicate on which side of the Constitution's "bicameral" mandate the 218 majority of the convened House of Representatives stood on September 25, 1984

It should also be noted that the "bicameral requirements" were of great concern to the framers of the nation's Constitution, by providing that no law could take effect without the concurrence of the prescribed majority of the members of both Houses. The framers reemphasized their explicit intentions and clear belief that legislation should not be enacted unless it has been "carefully" and "fully considered" by the nation's elected officials.

In the Constitutional Convention debate on the need for "bicameral" legislation, James Wilson, later to become a Justice of the Supreme Court, commented

"Despotism comes on mankind in different shapes, sometimes in an executive, sometimes in a military one. Is there danger of a legislative despotism? Theory and practice both proclaim it. If the legislative authority be not restrained, there can be neither liberty nor stability; and it can only be restrained by dividing it within itself, into distinct and independent branches. In a single House there is no check, but the inadequate one of the virtue and good sense of those who compose it." See 1 Ferrand 254; also see INS vs Chadra, 462 U.S. 919, 77 L.Ed. 2nd. 317 at 343.

Hamilton argued that a Congress comprised of a single house was antithetical to the very purpose of the Constitution. Were the nation to adopt a Constitution providing for only one legislative organ, he warned:

"We shall finally accumulate, in a single body, all the most important prerogatives of sovereignty, and thus entail upon our posterity one of the most execrable forms of government that human infatuation ever contrived. Thus we should create in reality that very tyranny which the adversaries of the new Constitution either are, or affect to be, solicitous to avert." See The Federalist, No. 22, p. 135 (H. Lodge Ed. 1888).

The view was rooted in a general skepticism regarding the fallibility of human nature later commented on by Joseph Story:

"Public bodies, like private persons, are occasionally under the dominion of strong passions and excitements; impatient, irritable, and impetuous�. If a legislature feels no check but its own will, it rarely has the firmness to insist upon holding a question long enough under its own view, to see and mark it in all its bearings and relations on society."

These observations are consistent with what many of the framers expressed, none more cogently than Madison in pointing up the need to divide and disperse power in order to protect liberty:

"In Republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates. The remedy for this inconveniency is to divide the legislature into different branches; and to render them, by different modes of action, as little connected with each other as the nature of their common functions and their common dependence of the society will permit." See The Federalist, No. 51, p. 324 (H. Lodge, Ed. 1888). See also The Federalist No. 62.

In concluding, the legislative steps outlined in Article 1 are not empty formalities. They were designed to assure that both Houses of Congress and the President participate in the exercise of law making authority

In the majority's haste to pass H.R. 648 which was pregnant with an unconstitutional unicameral legislative Crime Control Act, the 98th Congress chose to ignore clearly defined parliamentary procedures, and Public Law 98-473 was enacted. In light of the circumstances as set forth, the question remains: Is Public Law 98-473, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 constitutional under the bicameral requirements pursuant to Article 1, Section 1 and 7, of the United States Constitution and Rule of Law?

Sincerely,
Francisco Correa

 

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