Crime code, in revision, wins new Senate back

The 15 years of wrangling over a massive overhaul of the federal criminal code inched closer to a resolution with approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The bill seeks to streamline the federal code by eliminating duplications and ambiguities. A previous version passed the Senate, but the House has never approved it.

The new version would create a commission to draft guidelines for uniform federal sentencing, provide for government appeal of lenient sentences, and abolish paroles while reducing maximum sentences. It also provides for ''preventive detention'' of dangerous suspects before trial.

But the legal overhaul is opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union. Spokesman John Shattuck says that if it's enacted, ''it would severely set back civil liberties and individual rights in this country.''

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