No Excuse for Congress Not to Pass Criminal Code Reforms So Innocent Americans Don’t Get Punished

by John-Michael Seibler

Posted on February 16, 2017 14:40 PM

Contrary to recent calumnies that “Criminal justice reform is dead,” the 115th Congress has the means, backed up by bipartisan and public support, to continue its work to address problems in the federal criminal code.

Only Congress can enact much-needed mens rea (Latin for “guilty mind”) reform and address overcriminalization, the overuse of criminal laws and penalties to address every problem and punish every mistake. Too many Americans today risk being ensnared by ubiquitous criminal liability — and leaders in Congress have taken note.

Bipartisan Support

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, recently described how “regulatory encroachment and congressional inattention” have left politically disfavored Americans stumbling into “technical violations of arcane laws no one knows about” — laws that criminalize mere accidents or “things a reasonable person would not think were wrong.”

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