cost estimate on BATF reform bill
The Congressional Budget Office has a report on the projected cost of the legislation (pdf file, but small). Sounds modest, mostly hiring admin law judges and additional attorneys.
Giving the power to ALJs is, I think, a good idea (if done correctly). The ALJs at Interior were their own organization, and handled a wide range of cases from different agencies, so they didn't build up loyalty to any one agency. There were some who were known to be cozy with an agency -- but then, a district judge can be, too -- but most struck me as trying to do the right thing.
It would certainly be better than the present system, where one BATFE office issues a notice of revocation, and if it is challenged, the hearing is held before, and the decision made by, a BATFE agent from another district. Nobody in an agency wants to tell their peers that they are wrong, or do something that might constitute questioning an agency decision, so if there has ever been a revocation overturned within the agency, I've never heard of it. I'd assume they don't file a notice of revocation unless they figure they have the evidence for it, so even an impartial review might sustain most of them, but when the figure seems to be 100%, you have to figure something's less than impartial.
Generally speaking, dont people only choose to go to trial/administrative hearings when they feel that the case is too close to call to one side or another? No one wants to waste energy one something that they are clearly going to lose, so one party or the other will simply concede to save money and time.
A conviction rate significantly different from 50 percent should signal that there is some other factor at play during the trial/hearing.
The important question is when dealers are choosing to appeal ATF rulings. Do they assume that it is fair and only appeal the grey-area cases or do they assume it is completely unfair and only appeal when they feel no reasonable human being could rule against them?
Posted by: Beerslurpy at September 24, 2006 10:57 AM
My vote would be for door number two...
Posted by: emdfl at September 24, 2006 06:02 PM