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Paul Larkin responds to FOCUS Act critiques

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Paul Larkin, senior legal research fellow at The Heritage Foundation's Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, in his most recent memorandum, offers a strong response to a paper entitled "Logging and the Law" published by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) criticizing the proposed Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures Act of 2012 (FOCUS Act). This is the second consecutive rebuttal offered by Larkin who also responded to an article by Jon Adler at the Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine Website, written on behalf of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) which argued that the FOCUS Act "would put federal officers and agents at risk by taking away their right to carry firearms in the course of their criminal law enforcement duties."

In short the FOCUS Act as introduced by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Representative Paul C. Broun (R-GA) respectively would substitute civil for criminal penalties in the federal Lacey Act and eliminate that law's reliance on foreign law. Groups like UCS urge that criminal enforcement of the Lacey Act is necessary and will benefit the global environment and the domestic economy. Larkin disagrees and articulates a two-part argument:

(1) criminal enforcement of the Lacey Act leads to miscarriages of justice, and

(2) criminal enforcement of the Lacey Act is unnecessary.

Larkin explains these points at length in his paper and makes a strong case for the proposed legislative reforms needed to curb overcriminalization.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


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The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.