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Is mens rea constitutionally required? Shelton v. Department of Corrections

Harvey Silverglate celebrates a Florida federal district-court ruling invalidating a state drug law as unconstitutional for lack of a mens rea requirement, but I'm less optimistic than he is that it will have long-term meaning: this is just a single trial judge and, while the U.S. Supreme Court has been skeptical of legislative overcriminalization, they haven't given any sign that they would be anywhere nearly as aggressive as this decision was. But I'll be happy if Silverglate is right.

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.