Mens Rea Requirement: A Critical Casualty of Overcriminalization

In this brief essay for the Washington Legal Foundation, John Hasnas explores the vital legal concept of mens rea, the "the fundamental principle that punishment requires personal fault." Hasnas argues that both federal and state governments have eroded this principle by "passing statutes that criminalize innocent or merely negligent behavior or that are so broadly defined that citizens cannot be sure when they are violating the law."

John Hasnas, Washington Legal Foundation Legal Opinion Letter, December 2008



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Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.