Orrin Hatch on Crime

Republican Sr Senator (UT)


Introduced legislation banning human organ sales

There was someone in the Orthodox community in Brooklyn brokering human kidney transplants for about $150,000 a pop. As the story went, the broker would find donors in Israel and for the right price hook them up with people who needed transplants for operations here in the US.

On Capitol Hill, a Tennessee congressman named Al Gore introduced legislation banning such sales, and Utah senator Orrin Hatch sponsored similar legislation in the Senate. The National Organ Transplant Act became law in 1984, spelling out the prohibition, though leaving the issue somewhat vague: "It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive or otherwise transfer any human organ for valuable consideration for use in transplantation." No one had ever been prosecuted under the statute. If the prosecutor made a case, it was going to be a first.

[The relevant US attorney], Chris Christie did not authorize it right away. It took several months to get the US Attorney's office to sign off on the approach.

Source: The Jersey Sting, by Sherman & Margolin, p.136-137 , Apr 10, 2012

1992: Supported COPS program and Violence Against Women Act

Biden continued through 1992 and into 1993 with hearings documenting the spreading growth of domestic and sex violence crimes against women. Then help came from an unexpected quarter. Republican Senator Hatch, who had been attending the hearings as a critical Judiciary Committee member, held hearings of his own in his state and was appalled at what he learned. Hatch became Biden's staunch ally and partner on the violence against women legislation and also the COPS program in a period when they alternated as committee chairman. Later they joined in pushing for the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 against sexual predators, named after the kidnapped and murdered son of John Walsh, host of the television show "America's Most Wanted.
Source: A Life of Trial & Redemption, by Jules Witcover, p.313 , Oct 5, 2010

Strict penalties; more prisons; status quo on death penalty

Source: 2000 National Political Awareness Test , Jan 13, 2000

Appointing conservative judges is more critical than Miranda

Q: Do you think the Miranda warnings have a place in our criminal justice system? A: This involves a congressional enactment after Miranda was upheld by the Supreme Court. [It] basically says that if a person commits a crime and they voluntarily confess, that confession is admissible into a court of law. That’s the way it should be. But the most important single issue in this campaign is. one of us is going to appoint the other 50% [of judges] and up to five Supreme Court justices.
Source: Republican debate in West Columbia, South Carolina , Jan 7, 2000

10-20-Life plan: harsh penalties for gun use

Hatch described what he calls the “Hatch 10-20-life” plan, which says anyone who commits a felony while in possession of a gun should be sentenced to 10 years in prison. Someone who fires a gun while committing a felony would get 20 years, and someone who harms or kills someone would get life in prison.
Source: Holly Ramer, Associated Press , Aug 16, 1999

More funding & prosecution of Hate Crimes

Hatch introduced a bill to fund state investigations of hate crimes, and to let federal prosecutors pursue hate crimes when the defendant crosses state lines. It does not extend protections to gays and lesbians or those with disabilities. “The Senate [should not] sit by silently while these crimes are being committed,” Hatch said. “The ugly, bigoted and violent underside of some in our country that is reflected by the commission of hate crimes must be combated at all levels of government.”
Source: Atlanta Constitution editorial , Jul 27, 1999

Fight crime by fighting drugs and gangs

“I will continue the fight against crime, of course. And that includes efforts to get kids off drugs - because drugs and crime are connected - and better efforts to control gangs. We need to look at ways to rehabilitate youthful offenders; but equally, we need to get really tough on juveniles who commit adult crimes.”
Source: (cross-ref to Drugs) Senate homepage , Jul 2, 1999

Punish minor juvenile crimes to prevent later serious crimes

Juvenile justice too often ignores minor crimes. [More serious] crimes might be prevented if the warning signs of early acts of antisocial behavior are heeded. A delinquent juvenile’s critical first brush with the law teaches what behavior will be tolerated. Source: senate.gov/~hatch/ “Juvenile Offender Act” , May 11, 1999

Allow 14-year-olds to be tried & punished as adults

Our bill reforms and streamlines the federal juvenile code. It sets a uniform age of 14 for charging juveniles as adults]; lets prosecutors decide whether to charge a juvenile offender as an adult; and permits juveniles charged as adults to petition the court to be returned to juvenile status.

When prosecuted as adults, juveniles in Federal criminal cases will be subject to the same procedures and penalties as adults, except for the application of mandatory minimums and disallowing the death penalty.

Source: senate.gov/~hatch/ “Juvenile Offender Act” , May 11, 1999

Prosecute drugs & gun crimes; protect victims’ rights

[My proposed 21st Century Justice Act] will expand current successful law enforcement practices. It is based on what we know reduces crime.
    Our plan contains four central elements:
  1. More Federal assistance to State and local law enforcement
  2. Reinvigorate the war on drugs
  3. Vigorously prosecute gun crimes
  4. Protections for the rights of crime victims.
The first obligation of government is to protect its citizens from crime. We have a long way to go.
Source: senate.gov/~hatch “Statements” , Apr 28, 1999

Restore & expand block grants to local law enforcement

Clinton’s budget eliminates block grants that have proven so successful in helping state and local authorities reduce crime. [Our proposed] bill extends the block grant authorization. This program has provided more than $2 billion in funding for equipment and technology, such as radios and scanners, directly to state and local law enforcement. The authorization for this program will be between $600-700 million per year.
Source: senate.gov/~hatch “Statements” , Apr 28, 1999

Fund truth-in-sentencing & longer sentences

Our bill reauthorizes truth-in-sentencing prison grants at approximately $700 million per year. These grants provide funds to States to build prisons, which lower crime by encouraging States to incarcerate violent and repeat offenders for at least 85% of their sentence. The average time served by violent criminals nationally has increased 12% since 1993. Simply put, violent criminals cannot commit crimes against innocent victims while in prison.
Source: senate.gov/~hatch “Statements” , Apr 28, 1999

Victims’ Rights: hearings & notification

How can there be justice if crime victims feel victimized by the criminal justice system? [Our proposed crime bill] ensures that victims are given respect in the criminal system, ensuring their right to attend trials in federal court, to be heard at critical stages such as detention hearings, and to be notified when the defendant is released or escapes. Our bill also calls for ratification of a crime victim’s rights constitutional amendment to ensure that these rights are recognized everywhere.
Source: senate.gov/~hatch “Statements” , Apr 28, 1999

Supports community-oriented policing

Sen. Orrin Hatch announced today that over $1.3 million will be shared by three Utah communities to help hire additional law enforcement officers. The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) administers these federal grants which help pay for the salary and benefits of each officer over three years. Hatch said, “These funds will put more crime-fighting resources on the front lines, which is good news for Utah communities.”
Source: senate.gov/~hatch “Press Release” , Mar 30, 1999

Proper federal role is seed money, not running programs

We are providing seed money for the construction of [Boys and Girls Clubs]. This is bricks and mortar money to open clubs; they will operate without any significant federal funds. In my view, this is a model for the proper role of the federal government in crime prevention. We cannot afford vast never-ending federally run programs. [We spent] $4 billion in 1995 on 131 programs serving at-risk youth, yet we have not made significant progress in keeping our young people away from crime and drugs.
Source: Senate Statement , Mar 19, 1997

Voted YES on reinstating $1.15 billion funding for the COPS Program.

Amendment would increase funding for the COPS Program to $1.15 billion for FY 2008 to provide state and local law enforcement with critical resources. The funding is offset by an unallocated reduction to non-defense discretionary spending.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

This amendment reinstates the COPS Program. I remind everyone, when the COPS Program was functioning, violent crime in America reduced 8.5% a year for 7 years in a row. Throughout the 1990s, we funded the COPS Program at roughly $1.2 billion, and it drove down crime. Now crime is rising again. The COPS Program in the crime bill worked, and the Government Accounting Office found a statistical link between the COPS grants and a reduction in crime. The Brookings Institution reported the COPS Program is one of the most cost-effective programs we have ever had in this country. Local officials urgently need this support.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

The COPS Program has some history. It was started by President Clinton. He asked for 100,000 police officers. He said that when we got to 100,000, the program would stop. We got to 110,000 police officers and the program continues on and on and on.

This program should have ended 5 years ago or 6 years ago, but it continues. It is similar to so many Federal programs that get constituencies that go on well past what their original purpose was. It may be well intentioned, but we cannot afford it and we shouldn't continue it. It was never thought it would be continued this long.

Reference: Biden Amendment; Bill S.Amdt.529 on S.Con.Res.21 ; vote number 2007-110 on Mar 23, 2007

Voted NO on $1.15 billion per year to continue the COPS program.

Vote on an amendment to authorize $1.15 billion per year from 2000 through 2005 to continue and expand the Community Oriented Policing Services program. $600 million of the annual funding is marked for hiring additional officers [up to 50,000]
Reference: Bill S.254 ; vote number 1999-139 on May 20, 1999

Voted YES on limiting death penalty appeals.

Vote to table, or kill, a motion to send the bill back to the joint House-Senate conference committee with instructions to delete the provisions in the bill that would make it harder for prisoners given the death penalty in state courts to appeal.
Reference: Bill S.735 ; vote number 1996-66 on Apr 17, 1996

Voted YES on limiting product liability punitive damage awards.

Approval of a limit on punitive damages in product liability cases.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)59; N)40; NV)1
Reference: Conference Report on H.R. 956; Bill H. R. 956 ; vote number 1996-46 on Mar 21, 1996

Voted YES on restricting class-action lawsuits.

Restriction of class-action security lawsuits.
Status: Veto Overridden Y)68; N)30; P)1
Reference: H.R. 1058 passage over veto; Bill H.R. 1058 ; vote number 1995-612 on Dec 22, 1995

Voted YES on repealing federal speed limits.

Repeal federal speeding limits.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)64; N)36
Reference: Motion to table Lautenberg Amdt #1428; Bill S. 440 ; vote number 1995-270 on Jun 20, 1995

Voted YES on mandatory prison terms for crimes involving firearms.

Vote on the motion to instruct conferees on the bill to insist that the conference report include Mandatory prison terms for the use, possession, or carrying of a firearm or destructive device during a state crime of violence or drug trafficking
Reference: Bill HR.3355 ; vote number 1994-126 on May 19, 1994

Voted YES on rejecting racial statistics in death penalty appeals.

Vote to express that the Omnibus Crime bill [H.R. 3355] should reject the Racial Justice Act provisions, which would enable prisoners appealing death penalty sentences to argue racial discrimination using sentencing statistics as part of their appeal.
Reference: Bill S 1935 ; vote number 1994-106 on May 11, 1994

Rated 25% by CURE, indicating anti-rehabilitation crime votes.

Hatch scores 25% by CURE on rehabilitation issues

CURE (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants) is a membership organization of families of prisoners, prisoners, former prisoners and other concerned citizens. CURE's two goals are

  1. to use prisons only for those who have to be in them; and
  2. for those who have to be in them, to provide them all the rehabilitative opportunities they need to turn their lives around.
The ratings indicate the legislator’s percentage score on CURE’s preferred votes.
Source: CURE website 00n-CURE on Dec 31, 2000

Reduce recidivism by giving offenders a Second Chance.

Hatch co-sponsored reducing recidivism by giving offenders a Second Chance

Legislative Outcome: Became Public Law No: 110-199.
Source: Second Chance Act (S.1060/H.R.1593) 08-S1060 on Mar 29, 2007

Death penalty for killing police officers.

Hatch signed death penalty for killing police officers

Congressional Summary: Makes the killing or attempted killing of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or other first responder an aggravating factor in death penalty determinations [when] the defendant killed or attempted to kill a person who is authorized by law:

Opposing argument: [Sen. Bernie Sanders, Oct. 13, 2015]: "Black lives matter. The African American community knows that on any given day some innocent person like Sandra Bland can get into a car, and three days later she's dead in jail. We need to combat institutional racism from top to bottom, and we need major reforms in a broken criminal justice system. I intend to make sure people have education and jobs rather than jail cells."

Opposing argument: [ACLU of Louisiana, July 7, 2015]: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law that makes targeting a police officer a hate crime. Passage of such bills is a top priority for a national organization called Blue Lives Matter, which was formed in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. [A video captured] "police killing a black man who was minding his own business," says the director of ACLU-LA. But it was the civil rights of police officers that Edwards was concerned about, as if theirs were being routinely violated: "I'm not aware of any evidence that police officers have been victimized that would justify giving them special protection."

Source: Thin Blue Line Act 16-S2034 on Feb 9, 2015

Easier access to rape kits, and more rape kit analysis.

Hatch signed easier access to rape kits, and more rape kit analysis

    Congress finds the following:
  1. Rape is a serious problem.
  2. In 2006, there were an estimated 261,000 rapes and sexual assaults.
  3. The collection and testing of DNA evidence is a critical tool in solving rape cases.
  4. Despite the availability of funding under the Debbie Smith Act of 2004, there exists a significant rape kit backlog.
  5. A 1999 study estimated that there was an annual backlog of 180,000 rape kits that had not been analyzed.
  6. No agency regularly collects information regarding the scope of the rape kit backlog.
  7. Certain States cap reimbursement for rape kits at levels that are less than 1/2 the average cost of a rape kit.
  8. There is a lack of health professionals who have received specialized training specific to sexual assault victims.
The purpose of this Act is to address the problems surrounding forensic evidence collection in cases of sexual assault, including rape kit backlogs, reimbursement for or free provision of rape kits, and the availability of trained health professionals to administer rape kit examinations.


Sen. FRANKEN: Last year, 90,000 people were raped. Thanks to modern technology, we have an unparalleled tool to bring sexual predators to justice: forensic DNA analysis. Rape kit DNA evidence is survivors' best bet for justice. Unfortunately, we have failed to make adequate use of DNA analysis. In 2004, then-Sen. Biden and others worked to pass the Debbie Smith Act, a law named after a rape survivor whose backlogged rape kit was tested six years after her assault. Unfortunately, because many localities simply did not use the Debbie Smith funds they were allocated, the promise of the Debbie Smith Act remains unfulfilled.

In 2009, Los Angeles had 12,500 untested rape kits; Houston found at least 4,000 untested rape kits in storage, and Detroit reported a backlog of possibly 10,000 kits. Those are just three cities. Hundreds of thousands of women have not seen justice.

Source: Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault (S2736&HR4114) 2009-S2736 on Nov 5, 2009

Rated 64% by the NAPO, indicating a moderate stance on police issues.

Hatch scores 64% by the NAPO on crime & police issues

Ratings by the National Association of Police Organizations indicate support or opposition to issues of importance to police and crime. The organization's self-description: "The National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) is a coalition of police units and associations from across the United States. NAPO was organized for the purpose of advancing the interests of America's law enforcement officers through legislative advocacy, political action, and education.

"Increasingly, the rights and interests of law enforcement officers have been the subject of legislative, executive, and judicial action in the nation’s capital. NAPO works to influence the course of national affairs where law enforcement interests are concerned. The following list includes examples of NAPO’s accomplishments:

VoteMatch scoring for the NAPO ratings is as follows:

Source: NAPO ratings on Congress and politicians 2014_NAPO on Dec 31, 2014

Other candidates on Crime: Orrin Hatch on other issues:
UT Gubernatorial:
Gary Herbert
Mike Weinholtz
Rocky Anderson
UT Senatorial:
Craig Bowden
Jenny Wilson
Jonathan Swinton
Mike Lee
Misty Snow
Mitt Romney

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Page last updated: Jun 11, 2018