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Congress Focuses on The Problem of Overcriminalization
By Ivan J. Dominguez
On Sept. 28, 2010, Congress held a hearing titled “Reining in
Overcriminalization: Assessing the Problems, Proposing Solutions” before
the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and
Homeland Security and to a standing-room-only crowd.1
NACDL President Jim E. Lavine and Stetson Law Professor and NACDL member
Ellen S. Podgor both provided substantial testimony at the hearing, and
fielded numerous, thoughtful questions from Subcommittee Chairman Bobby
Scott (D-Va.) and Ranking Member Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.). In addition,
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) actively
participated in the hearing. Other witnesses included
overcriminalization victims Abner Schoenwetter and legendary race car
driver Bobby Unser, Brian Walsh of the Heritage Foundation, Notre Dame
Law Professor Stephen Smith, and former director of the DOJ’s Enron Task
Force and NACDL member Andrew Weissmann.
The hearing covered the erosion of mens rea
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