Taking a Bite out of Overcriminalization
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
At least one member of Congress is trying to do something about the smothering web of laws, rules, and regulations that make even the most honest of people into criminals.
Texas Rep Chip Roy (R) has introduced legislation called the “Count the Crimes to Cut Act.” According to Roy’s office, Congress should be “particularly concerned with criminalization at the federal level.”
As was said by one law professor, there is probably no one over the age of 18 in the United States who cannot be indicted for some federal crime.
Task forces and experts charged with looking into this topic cannot even agree on the number of federal crimes on the books. On average, Congress creates more than 500 new crimes per decade and federal agencies create hundreds more through regulations. Some have not been used to charge anyone in over 30 years.
Roy’s bill would require the Attorney General and federal agency heads to report on exactly how many federal criminal laws are on the books, what the penalties are, and how many people have been prosecuted.
With that data in hand, Roy would then ask Congress to repeal criminal laws that aren’t used, are poorly written, or simply out of date.
Good. The federal criminal code is long overdue for a thorough cleaning.
Image Credit: By Jamelle Bouie [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons