Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Fellow Federal Criminals!

Judge Alex Kozinski and Misha Tseytlin wrote an excellent essay about out-of-control federal law-making, and there's expert commentary at the Volokh Conspiracy. Excerpt:
The vast scope of federal criminal law is a very serious problem. Because of it, most Americans are effectively at the mercy of federal officials whenever they might choose to come after us. We are used to thinking of "criminals" as a small subset of the population. In that happy state of affairs, criminal law threatens only a small number of people, most of whom have committed genuinely heinous acts. But when we are all federal criminals, perfectly ordinary citizens can easily get swept up in the net simply by being unlucky or because they ran afoul of federal prosecutors or other influential officials. Overcriminalization also leads to the longterm imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of nonviolent people (mostly as a result of the War on Drugs, but many for other reasons as well) who haven't caused any harm to the person or property of others.

h/t Snowflakes In Hell.

P.S. One commenter points out that it may be a federal crime to use a pseudonym on MySpace or Blogger:
Maybe. Maybe not. But it's not obvious enough for a judge to dismiss an indictment before trial.

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