President Reagan sent Congress a 44-point crime bill yesterday that would revise the federal criminal code to send more offenders to jail and permit the use in trials of some illegally obtained evidence.
The measure also would increase mandatory sentences, limit the insanity defense and reduce appeals to federal courts.
Attorney General William French Smith said the strong measures are necessary because the balance on the scales of justice "has tipped against society and in favor of the forces of lawlessness."
In a letter accompanying the bill, Reagan said that his administration has made major efforts to fight crime, but he said those steps are not sufficient without "basic legislative changes."
"Each of the proposals is important in rolling back the tide of criminal activity that threatens our nation, our families and our way of life," Reagan wrote.
The major changes in the bill include a two-year increase in sentencing for people convicted of drug sales, and a request for $90 million for the Justice Assistance Act, to help state and local law enforcement officers with anti-crime measures.
The most significant proposal would allow courts to consider illegally obtained evidence as long as an officer acted in "reasonable good faith."
Civil liberties experts argue that the exclusionary rule, which prevents consideration of such evidence, is necessary to protect against abuses of police power.
Other proposals in the bill would:
* Change the bail law to make it more difficult for a defendant to be released pending trial. Paroles would be eliminated; criminals convicted of federal crimes would serve full terms.
* Impose the death penalty for spying, treason and murder.
* Curtail the insanity defense, making it applicable only to "a person who is unable to appreciate the nature or wrongfulness of his acts." A defendant would have to prove he was insane at the time of the crime instead of the prosecution having to prove that he was sane, as is now the case. The new law would eliminate expert testimony on the defendant's condition at the time of the crime.
* Strengthen laws against organized crime, including increasing the penalty for laundering money and allowing for the forfeiture of money and property that come from organized crime and drug operations. The proposals would increase from five to 10 years the period of time that a corrupt union official can be barred from holding union office.
The anti-crime package largely parallels a bill Reagan sent to Congress last year. That measure failed, in part, because of a rider urging creation of a Cabinet-level office to coordinate federal efforts to stop drug trafficking. Democratic legislators yesterday said they will introduce similar legislation this year.