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  • Should the Agriculture Committee Decide what we do in Afghanistan?

    As part of an ongoing series, the Heritage Center for Legal and Judicial Studies periodically identifies a “Bill of the Week” that relates to the problem of overcriminalization in America. Our Bill of the Week segment usually highlights a piece of legislation that, due to its underlying policies, exacerbate the … More

    Members of Congress Work to Rein In Overcriminalization in America

    What do a legendary guitar maker and a lobster importer have in common? Both are alleged to have run afoul of the Lacey Act, one of the most egregious, overcriminalized statutes on the books. Now some Members of Congress are working to inject some much-needed fairness into the justice system. … More

    U.S. v. Heicklen: The Nullification of Free Speech

    Prosecution for exercising one’s free speech rights is becoming a trend in the current Administration and the Department of Justice (DOJ). In April, the Legal Center highlighted the DOJ’s outrageous prosecution of Mary Susan Pine, a pro-life advocate. Thankfully, when the rubber hit the road, the DOJ lawyers had nowhere … More

    Meese Makes Case Against Overcriminalization at Seton Hall Law

    Imagine the police knocking on your door because you mistakenly forgot to fill out an obscure form required by foreign law before opening up a small business.  Imagine your 80-year-old mother being arrested for failing to place the appropriate sticker on an otherwise properly shipped package.  Imagine your cancer-stricken neighbor … More

    Criminal Law Will Go On

    Everywhere you turn, there’s no escaping the 100 year commemoration of the ill-fated voyage of the Titanic. The film is back in the theaters—in 3D no less. There are television specials and new books coming out every day this week. And Congress is passing a federal criminal law to protect … More

    Obama Stumbles While Stepping Back on Supreme Court Comments

    Although the Supreme Court Justices are tight-lipped, most everyone else has condemned President Obama for the attack he launched at the judiciary on Monday.  Even the Washington Post editorialized that “the comments strayed perilously close to a preemptive strike on the court’s legitimacy.” On Monday, Obama – who often is … More

    Overcriminalization in America: Fraud is Fraud is Fraud

    As part of an ongoing series, Heritage’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies identifies a “Bill of the Week” which impacts overcriminalization in America. The Contracting Oversight for Small Business Jobs Act of 2012 is a classic example of the overcriminalization of fraud.  Senior Legal Fellow Paul Larkin has gone … More

    Overcriminalized Bill of the Week: We Already Know Witness Tampering is Bad

    One of the three aspects of overcriminalization that we highlight in our weekly e-mail alerts is “Federalizing crime that properly belongs under state and local jurisdiction.”  This edition, the first in a series entitled “Overcriminalization Bill of the Week,” contains a textbook example of such a policy mistake. The State … More

    "Fashionably Late"? Try "Criminally Late"

    Everyone knows that showing up late generally is a bad idea.  But is it so bad that it ought to be punished criminally?  To some officials in Loudoun County, Virginia, the answer is “Yes.”  In their view, the appropriate treatment for habitual tardiness is not criticism, nor ostracism, nor some … More

    Beware the "Public Corruption" Amendment to the STOCK Act

    Perhaps not so surprisingly, Washington politicians on both sides of the aisle are opposed to the recent change by Representative Eric Cantor (R–VA) and the House of Representatives in eliminating the so-called public corruption amendment that was proposed by Senators Patrick Leahy (D–VT) and John Cornyn (R–TX) and attached to … More