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Heritage and NACDL: Without Intent

As the AP reports, last week the Heritage Foundation and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers released a joint report entitled Without Intent: How Congress Is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirement in Federal Law. This study looks empirically at a phenomenon my colleague Marie Gryphon wrote about last December in her paper, It's a Crime?: Flaws in Federal Statutes That Punish Standard Business Practice: the erosion of mens rea standards in the criminal law. According to the new study, among 446 new non-violent crimes proposed in the 109th Congress (a number itself shockingly revealing of the growth of federal criminal law), 57 percent lacked adequate mens rea provisions. And during the 109th Congress, 23 new non-violent crimes without mens rea standards were enacted into law.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.