Bowser says she will veto new criminal code

Mayor Muriel Bowser says she will veto the new D.C. Criminal Code. 

The City Council approved the overhaul of the code back in November. At her first press conference in her third term, the mayor said she plans to send a letter to the council with her concerns on the code — as well as her veto. 

"None of us can be satisfied with young people using weapons and killing each other," Bowser said during a Tuesday press conference. "We’re also very concerned that the courts [won't] have the resources to keep up with the law… What this law would suggest is that the number of trials would skyrocket. So, we have concerns about all that."

While there was consensus on much of the 450-page bill, provisions to reduce maximum sentences, the elimination of nearly all mandatory minimum sentences, and expansion of the right to jury trials by those accused of misdemeanors sparked concern.

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Bowser previously said it sends the wrong message to reduce penalties, especially when young people are using weapons and killing each other. 

D.C. Police Chief Robert J. Contee III also opposed the bill's reduction of many sentences.

"If we’re reducing a sentence from ten years down to five years, that makes the city less safe," Contee said in October.

Despite the latest version of the bill taking into account some objections that had been raised, it did not allay everyone's fears.