Monday, October 4, 2010

Federal Crimes Code Expands at Ridiculous Pace

Why are there so many federal criminal statutes?

Legal experts say there are more than 4,450 federal crimes on the books and as many as 300,000 federal regulations that can be enforced criminally. From 2000 to 2007, Congress created 452 entirely new crimes, said Brian Walsh, a senior legal research fellow at the Heritage Foundation who focuses on overcriminalization, according to the McClatchy Newspapers.

"We must put an end to the notion that we need to prosecute every individual for every perceived offense," said Congressman Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat who chairs a House Judiciary subcommittee that last week held its second hearing on overcriminalization. "We continue to lock up people for offenses that should not even require incarceration," Scott told McClatchy.

Congressman Scott failed to address the over zealous efforts of his colleagues to boost their "law and order" stature on the backs of ordinary citizens. Overcriminalization is the product of politics. With every politician that wants to be tough on crime; with every knee jerk reaction to tragedy; with every campaign that distorts an opponents record on crime, there is a corresponding increase in the size of the federal crimes code.

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