The Champion

December 2013 , Page 07 

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A Lamentable Example of Overcriminalization: HIV Criminalization (Inside NACDL)

By Norman L. Reimer

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NACDL has long opposed overcriminalization. These efforts have contributed to an ongoing bipartisan effort in Congress to combat the problem. The Task Force on Overcriminalization established by the House Judiciary Committee has already held several hearings at which numerous witnesses have testified about the need to ensure that federal statutes have adequate mens rea requirements.1 The task force, which was originally authorized only through November 2013, may receive an extension so that it can continue its important work. It should. There is a growing anticipation that the work of the task force may lead to meaningful reform proposals that will bridge the partisan divide.

While the task force has been provided with many examples of how overcriminalization has unjustly ensnared many people from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life, there is one glaring example of overcriminalization that has been overlooked: HIV2 criminalization. In fairness to the task force, this

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