May 9, 2014

Overcriminalization — the overuse and misuse of the criminal law — is a very real problem in America, Heritage Foundation legal expert Paul Larkin explains:

Legislatures pass too many statutes creating crimes (especially federal offenses); legislatures too frequently empower administrative agencies to define crimes or otherwise “fill in the blanks” in laws that can be enforced through the criminal process; legislatures too often define offenses with inadequate mens rea or scienter (“guilty mind”) requirements; and legislatures too often increase penalties for existing crimes simply to make it look as though they have done something to reduce crime.

He continues:

A large and growing number of highly respected figures believe that overcriminalization in fact is a serious problem . . . This widespread concern, voiced by important figures in the policymaking process representing very different viewpoints, justifies the belief that the problem is a systemic flaw in the criminal justice system and is not limited to isolated instances of legislative or prosecutorial overreaching.

Here’s one ridiculous example of overcriminalization.

Comments (1)

Daniel Boone - May 14, 2014

This is how our country has been transformed from the ‘rule of law’ to the ‘rule of man’. Every dictatorship and tyrannical government in the history of man has had plenty of law on the books.

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