Friday, July 29, 2011

Bob Barr and I agree!

Here's an op-ed he just wrote on the over-criminalization problem in America. From the piece:

[F]ailure to address the overcriminalization of America is turning us into a society in which the average citizen is at the mercy of the federal government for fear of running afoul of some criminal law or regulation on any given day, despite having no intention whatsover of doing so.

The explosive growth in the number of federal crimes in recent decades has been nothing short of phenomenal. Three crimes — three — were considered of sufficient importance and of a unique federal nature, to be included specifically in the Constitution. Those three uniquely federal crimes are treason, piracy and counterfeiting. Over the decades, of course, other crimes were added, usually pegged to the infamous “commerce clause.” By 1980, the federal criminal code had mushroomed to about 3,000 separate criminal offenses. What has happened since 1980, however, has been nothing short of phenomenal — the list of federal criminal offenses has exploded to nearly 4,500 offenses; as noted most recently by Gary Fields and John Emshwiller in the Wall Street Journal. This figure does not even include the many more thousands of federal regulations that can be enforced by the government as criminal offenses.


The list of such unfair and outrageous instances of abusive federal prosecutions is depressingly long; with many the result of the explosive growth of “environmental crimes” since the birth of the EPA four decades ago. Yet Congress after Congress continues to add crime after crime to the burgeoning federal criminal code, based often on pressure from interest groups and federal agencies themselves.


Anonymous said...

Really? You want to do away with environmental regulation with any teeth, for the benefit of polluting corporations?


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I agree with 1:15. If there is a problem with federal criminal prosecutions it is the the over federalization of local and state crimes. As the late great Judge Ferguson used to say, "Are they too busy over in the state court to handle all these felon-in-possession,crack sales and 7/11 robberies?"
A multinational corporation raping the environment to boost profits or out of sheer indifference - now that sounds lie a federal crime.