Reimer testimony

My name is Norman Reimer, and I am the Executive Director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). On behalf of NACDL, I commend the House Judiciary Committee for establishing this bipartisan Overcriminalization Task Force and for holding hearings on our country’s serious addiction to overcriminalization. At the first hearing of the Task Force, there was unanimous agreement among the witnesses that the erosion of mens rea in federal criminal offenses is the most pressing aspect of the overcriminalization problem and that its restoration should be the top priority of this Task Force. As criminal defense lawyers, we are uniquely positioned not only to understand the necessity of an adequately protective mens rea requirement, but to witness the practical effects of its erosion each and every day. NACDL is especially grateful for this opportunity to share our expertise on this concept, which is of fundamental import to our entire criminal justice system, and to present our views, supported by others across the ideological divide, on why mens rea reform demands immediate action.