NACDL - Without Intent: How Congress Is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirement in Federal Law

Without Intent: How Congress Is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirement in Federal Law

On May 5, 2010, NACDL and The Heritage Foundation released this groundbreaking, non-partisan report. At the release event, NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer described the report as a "blueprint for principled reform" and urged "every elected official to end the madness that has produced over 4,450 federal criminal statutes, and countless tens of thousands more arising from the unchecked power of regulatory authorities."

Documents

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and The Heritage Foundation jointly undertook an unprecedented look at the federal legislative process for all studied non-violent criminal offenses introduced in the 109th Congress in 2005 and 2006. This study revealed that offenses with inadequate mens rea requirements are ubiquitous at all stages of the legislatives process: Over 57 percent of the offenses introduced, and 64 percent of those enacted into law, contained inadequate mens rea requirements, putting the innocent at risk of criminal punishment. Compounding the problem, this study also found consistently poor legislative drafting and broad delegation of Congress's authority to make criminal law to unaccountable regulators.

Authors: Brian W. Walsh and Tiffany M. Joslyn, The Heritage Foundation and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Press Release

Congress Is Eroding Criminal Intent: NACDL and Heritage Release Groundbreaking Report and Recommendations on Capitol Hill 

Official Release Event: NACDL Executive Director Norman Reimer on Overcriminalization (May 5, 2010)

Norman Reimer, Executive Director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), speaking on the problem of overcriminalization at a May 5, 2010, press conference at the U.S. Capitol marking Law Day 2010 and the launch of NACDL and The Heritage Foundation’s groundbreaking report, Without Intent: How Congress Is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirement in Federal Law