The Champion

November 2010 , Page 60 

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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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