by James Copeland, Isaac Gorodetski
Manhattan Institute
May 15, 2014
Creating a bipartisan legislative task force to examine the problem of overcriminalization, creating a commission to review the criminal law, and enacting a default mens rea provision would properly empower the legislature in more wisely overseeing the creation of criminal law, generate sufficiently more coherence in criminal statutes, focus scarce criminal-enforcement resources on violent and property crimes (leaving regulatory offenses more broadly to civil enforcement), and reduce the chance that individuals—absent a clear decision by legislators that the public order requires a strict-liability crime—could be prosecuted for crimes that they unknowingly commit.

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