The months leading to the 2020 Presidential Election saw the United States in crisis. There was the Coronavirus pandemic. Then, amidst that, the public outcry against alleged police brutality. Those are among the many challenges that President-Elect Joe Biden faces.
The rising rate of new COVID-19 infections is alarming and requires immediate attention. The incoming administration also plans to deal with criminal justice system issues.
Here are some of the legal matters Americans will be looking to the new government to deliver.
Changes to Policing Procedures
In recent months, protestors have demanded action against policing methods considered harsh. The tragic deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd are examples of alleged questionable actions by cops.
On his website, Biden said that he needs to address the use of excessive force. Procedures such as chokeholds and no-knock warrants also need tackling. It’s an uphill task as each of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies has a different system.
In the meantime, the public should be aware of what law and order officers can do. Legal advisors at flcrimedefense.com remind citizens of their rights. They also offer guidelines on police procedures.
Juvenile Justice System
The president-elect is also expected to pursue the goal of reducing the incarceration of youths. He plans to provide money to states through a grant program to create alternatives to imprisonment for juveniles. The proposals include setting up community centers for mentorship and counseling.
To curb surveillance of children by the legal system, Biden does not intend to promote GPS monitoring in place of jail time. He’s likely to revisit policies during the Obama era that discourage schools from reporting kids to the police for minor misbehavior. Education institutions were also asked to cease suspending and expelling students of color.
In the 80s, Congress enacted compulsory minimum jail term laws for crimes such as dealing in drugs, illegal possession of firearms, and child pornography. These laws have caused law-breakers to spend decades in prison for possessing or distributing small amounts of narcotics.
Biden pledges to do away with the federal mandatory requirement. If successful and retroactive, it could reduce the inmate population by 25% overnight.
The president has the authority to reverse criminal convictions and shorten sentences. President Obama set a record for clemency during his term in office by issuing 1,700 pardons and commutations.
Biden made no explicit promises on the matter while campaigning. He could let his vice-president, Kamala Harris, take the lead as she has a detailed leniency plan. She talked about setting up a federal unit of lawyers to review sentences and decide on reducing them.
Will The Changes Be Successful?
As with previous incoming presidents, the new administration faces an uphill challenge to put their proposals in place. With more pressing issues like COVID-19 and the struggling economy, it’ll be a matter of balancing priorities.
Whether Biden implements some or all changes, only time will tell.