• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • One Nation Under Arrest

    INTERVIEW: Heritage's Robert Alt on Overcriminalization

    Robert Alt is director of the Rule of Law Programs and senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. He sat down with us to discuss Heritage’s Overcriminalization project. Q: How long have you been working on the Overcriminalization project? A: Five years. Overcriminalization was … More

    Criminalization without Justification

    The Wall Street Journal this weekend documented several sad features of the federal government’s proliferation of poorly written criminal laws, many of which leave it to prosecutors to pick and choose which Americans to prosecute as criminals. The Journal chronicles the stories of a half dozen Americans who became the … More

    Bobby Unser vs the Feds

    In 1997 three-time Indy 500 winner Bobby Unser was convicted of a federal crime that exposed him to a $5,000 fine and a six month prison sentence. What did Unser do that so angered the federal government? He got lost in a blizzard. That’s it. How did getting lost in … More

    The Economist on Overcriminalization

    There are many shocking real-life stories in Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Research Fellow Brian Walsh’s and co-author Visiting Fellow Paul Rosenzweig’s new book, One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty. None perhaps as revealing as the one The Economist chose to highlight … More

    John Stossel on One Nation Under Arrest

    In 1998, an American Bar Association task force estimated that there were over 3,000 federal criminal offenses scattered throughout the 50 titles of the United States Code. Just six years later, that number is estimated to be over 4,000.  If 4,000 seems like a high number consider the fact that … More

    John Stossel Highlights Heritage’s Work Combating Overcriminalization

    One of the reasons that John Stossel’s face, voice, and trademark “Give Me a Break” tagline are so familiar to conservatives is that he has mastered the art of illustrating the absurdity of arbitrary, overreaching decisions by bureaucrats, lawmakers, and other government officials.  Tonight, his show on Fox Business focuses … More

    One Nation Under Arrest: The End of the Pocket Knife

    Chapter 5 of One Nation Under Arrest is titled “Criminalizing Kids.” This chapter includes stories demonstrating that it is not just adults who face the dangers of overcriminalization. The prevailing mindset among most legislators and government policy makers is that criminal law and criminal punishment are generally the best tools … More

    One Nation Under Arrest: Criminalizing Unsatisfactory Hedge Pruning

    How should a city treat one of its long-time, law-abiding citizens if her mature, decades-old hedges offend aggressive new standards set by city bureaucrats? What if this citizen is a 61-year-old grandmother fighting breast cancer? The answer the City of Palo Alto, California, provided to these questions was to send … More

    Morning Bell: The Congressional Assault on Criminal Justice

    If Congress drafts a law and no one can understand it, can individuals be punished for breaking it? Increasingly, to the detriment of all Americans, the answer is yes. Since our nation’s founding, a core principle of our system of justice has been that no citizen should be subjected to … More

    One Nation: Students Turned Into Criminals

    Twelve-year-old Ansche Hedgepeth grabbed an order of French fries after school on her way to the Tenleytown/American University Metrorail station in Washington, D.C. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority had decided to kick off a week of “zero tolerance” enforcement of “quality of life offenses.” When a police officer noticed … More