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  • Gibson Guitar: Settling Away Bad Publicity

    It’s another August in Washington. It’s hot and humid. Most people not already at the beach are indoors watching the Olympics or in the water at a pool. The Redskins have started their preseason camp. The Nationals are in first place. The political parties’ conventions are weeks away, school even … More

    Armour v. Indianapolis: "Money Down the Sewer"

    Not many cases involving the financing of municipal sewer construction projects are likely to raise issues that might interest the Supreme Court (or anyone else for that matter), but at least one has.  On Monday, the Supreme Court decided Armour v. Indianapolis, which rejected an Equal Protection Clause challenge to … More

    Court Strikes Down The Defense of Marriage Act

    Today, a unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held unconstitutional a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defining “marriage” exclusively as opposite-sex unions, setting up an all-but-certain Supreme Court case for next year. Acting in response to a Hawaii Supreme Court … More

    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

    The FOCUS Act Hearing: When Silence Is an Admission

    The law sometimes reflects common sense.  Consider this example:  Innocent people don’t remain silent when accused of a crime or misconduct; they deny it.  Accordingly, it is reasonable to infer that such an accusation is true if someone doesn’t scream, “Not me.  I didn’t do it.”  In the law that … 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

    The FOCUS Act and Federal Law Enforcement

    An article by Jon Adler at “Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine,” (Last viewed Apr. 11, 2012), written on behalf of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) is quite critical of the recently-introduced Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures (FOCUS) Act of 2012.  The thrust of the article is that … More

    Overcriminalization Interrupted: Senate Passes House Version of Stock Act

    “Hallelujah” overstates the point, but we are pleased that the Senate on Thursday accepted the revisions to the STOCK Act made by the House of Representatives. As Heritage explained in two earlier Issue Briefs on this subject, the additional public corruption provisions that the Senate initially wanted to include in … More

    New Crime, More Time: Are You A Foreign Outlaw?

    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. Not every Bill of the Week represents an unwise policy judgment.  This week we celebrate a bill entitled “The Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures Act … More

    Landmark Supreme Court Ruling on Technology and the Fourth Amendment

    On Monday, the Supreme Court issued an important ruling on the subject of surveillance in light of today’s technologies. Its opinion in United States v. Jones makes the rules for surveillance much less clear, which perhaps is not surprising given the rapid technological change and the need for further legislative … More