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May 24

Without Intent: How Congress Is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirement in Federal Law

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Co-Sponsored by:
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and The Heritage Foundation

A core principle of the American system of justice is that no one should be subjected to criminal prosecution unless he intentionally engages in inherently wrongful conduct or conduct that he knows to be unlawful. Only in such circumstances is a person truly blameworthy and deserving of criminal punishment. Yet in recent decades Congress has enacted scores of fundamentally flawed criminal statutes, many of which are vague and overbroad, lack an adequate criminal-intent requirement to protect the innocent, or both. This dangerous trend is a key component of the overcriminalization problem.

As partners in the battle against overcriminalization, NACDL and The Heritage Foundation embarked on an unprecedented study of the federal legislative process for enacting non-violent and non-drug criminal legislation. Without Intent sets forth findings documenting how far federal criminal lawmaking has drifted from its traditional roots and explores the critical reforms necessary to meet the challenge of reckless overcriminalization.

We invite you to join us for a panel discussion of the report and a reception celebrating its release – a critical milestone in the fight to reverse this dangerous trend.

More About the Speakers

Eric Grannon
White & Case LLP

Norman L. Reimer
Executive Director,
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Brian W. Walsh
Senior Legal Research Fellow,
The Heritage Foundation,
and Co-Author,
Without Intent

Andrew Weissmann
Jenner & Block LLP,
and former Director,
DOJ Enron Task Force

Hosted By

Robert Alt Robert Alt

Visiting Fellow Read More