Overcriminalization

‘Honest services’ law expansion sought

While the U.S. Supreme Court has attempted to limit the application of vague "honest services" statutes, the Obama Administration is working to restore what the Wall Street Journal describes as "essentially unlimited prosecutorial discretion to bring white-collar cases." David Rittgers of the Cato Institute explains the meaning of this law: "The 'honest services' statute criminalizes 'a scheme or artifice to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.' This criminalized an employee lying to his employer, and as Justice Scalia pointed out, 'would seemingly cover a salaried employee's phoning in sick to go to a ball game.' Prosecutors were…
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Criminal laws proliferate, at a cost to freedom

The proliferation of criminal laws and regulations with criminal penalties mean that the freedoms of Americans are increasingly at risk as prosecutors take advantage of expanded authority and reach of the federal justice system. Sometimes prosecutors don't even need to show criminal intent in order to gain a conviction. As reported in the recent Wall Street Journal article As Criminal Laws Proliferate, More Are Ensnared: "These factors are contributing to some unusual applications of justice. Father-and-son arrowhead lovers can't argue they made an innocent mistake. A lobster importer is convicted in the U.S. for violating a Honduran law that the…
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