Reining in Overcriminalization: Assessing the Problem, Proposing Solutions, Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Eleventh Congress, Second Session, September 28, 2010   [open pdf - 5MB]

From the opening statement of Robert C. "Bobby" Scott: Last year, on July 22, the Subcommittee conducted a hearing titled Over-Criminalization of Conduct/Over-Federalization of Criminal Law. That hearing occurred as a result of a series of conversations that Ranking Member Gohmert and I had with former Attorney General Ed Meese and a coalition of organizations, including the Washington Legal Foundation, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Heritage Foundation, the ACLU, the American Bar Association, the Federalist Society, and others. They came to Congress to seek a hearing to discuss the practice and process of enacting Federal criminal law; and they came out of concern for what they, and many others, viewed as an astounding rate of growth of the Federal criminal code. [...] But more than the rate of the Federal criminal code's growth, these concerned citizens and groups remain alarmed about the deterioration that has occurred in the standards of what constitutes a criminal offense. There is great concern about the overreach and perceived lack of specificity in criminal law standards, i.e. the vagueness and the disappearance of the common law requirement of mens rea, or guilty mind. Today's hearing is supported by a similarly broad group of organizations, and we will continue our examination of the issue with a discussion of a draft of their own legislative proposal and review of the findings of a joint study by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Heritage Foundation entitled 'Without Intent, How Congress Is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirement in Federal Law.'" Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, Louie Gohmert, John Conyers, Jr., Ted Poe, Jim E. Lavine, Robert "Bobby" Unser, Abner Schoenwetter, Brian W. Walsh, Stephen F. Smith, Ellen S. Podgor, and Andrew Weissmann.

Report Number:
Serial No. 111-151
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Government Printing Office, Congressional Hearings: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/chearings/index.html
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