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Over-Criminalization of Society?

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  • Over-Criminalization of Society?

    Rep. James Sensenbrenner asked the Congressional Research Service to list out the criminal offenses under federal law, and they refused, saying it would be too much work:

    The task force staff asked the Congressional Research Service to update the calculation of criminal offenses in the federal code, which was last undertaken in 2008 (and resulted in an estimate of upward of 20,000 separate federal criminal offenses), said task force chairman Representative John Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.)

    "CRS's initial response to our request was that they lack the manpower and resources to accomplish this task," Sensenbrenner said Friday. "I think this confirms the point that all of us have been making on this issue and demonstrates the breadth of over-criminalization of just about everything in American society."


    There's clearly something very wrong about a criminal code where the governmental agency charged with doing basic research for Congress finds it too big a task to list out all of the crimes listed under federal law. At that point, you no longer have a "rule of law." You have a system of loopholes and gotchas, with enough tricks and traps that anyone can be made into a criminal if the authorities decide that's what they want to do.

  • #2
    The book "Three Felonies A Day" outlines the issues which have come about from the huge number of laws and regulations on the books, how the average person commits federal crimes without even knowing it, and if someone looked closely enough at just about anyone they'd find a reason to arrest them. Add on top of that the ever growing state and local laws...

    I've heard it said it happens because politicians use laws they've added as feathers in their caps. Picture a politician at a public school discussion... the kids will ask which laws they've passed, not which they've repealed. Unfortunately I don't believe there's much vote buying to be made repealing laws, but there is plenty making more.
    The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground." - Thomas Jefferson

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    • #3
      Originally posted by BTR1701 View Post
      "CRS's initial response to our request was that they lack the manpower and resources to accomplish this task," Sensenbrenner said Friday. "I think this confirms the point that all of us have been making on this issue and demonstrates the breadth of over-criminalization of just about everything in American society."
      Or, it simply suggests that the CRS is understaffed.
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

      Comment


      • #4
        I tend to agree we have way too many laws and regulations. I think it was Ron Paul who pointed out that every year we tend to add 40k new laws to the books. Take the Kennedy's and their sea turtle rescue. Who knew untangling a trapped animal is a federal offense? Of course it's the Kennedy's so NOAA will turn it into a PSA instead of prosecution but if it were Joe Blow...

        There's clearly something very wrong about a criminal code where the governmental agency charged with doing basic research for Congress finds it too big a task to list out all of the crimes listed under federal law. At that point, you no longer have a "rule of law." You have a system of loopholes and gotchas, with enough tricks and traps that anyone can be made into a criminal if the authorities decide that's what they want to do.
        Agree. What's even more stunning is that in this day and age with computers they can't just generate a list in a few seconds/minutes.
        He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High
        shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
        - Psalm 91:1

        On Ignore - A few folks.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by L-1 View Post
          Or, it simply suggests that the CRS is understaffed.
          I am only 1 person, and I am expected to comply with every single one of those laws. If a group of people can't do it, how can I reasonably be expected to do it? That's their job. I have my own full time job, thank you very much.

          The truth is, with our system of ever-evolving laws this was inevitable. If you keep changing the law for hundreds of years it's going to get complicated.
          Last edited by Fëanor; 07-20-2013, 09:53 AM.

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          • #6
            NRA Life Member

            The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence. - Sir Robert Peel

            Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats. - H. L. Mencken

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            • #7
              At the federal level, the one that really gets me (that I know of) is the whole "providing false information to a federal agent". Now, on the surface, it sounds *really* bad - like someone lied to a federal LEO. But the actual text of that federal code (I'm paraphrasing since I do not know the code number) covers any statement made that is later proven to be false or inaccurate, even unintentionally.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by L-1 View Post
                Or, it simply suggests that the CRS is understaffed.
                http://www.loc.gov/crsinfo/research/

                CRS employs more than 400 policy analysts, attorneys and information professionals across a variety of disciplines in five research divisions. The breadth and depth of this expertise — from law, economics and foreign affairs to defense and homeland security, public administration, education, health care, immigration, energy, environmental protection, science and technology — enables CRS quickly to mobilize flexible groups that provide integrated analyses of complex issues facing the Congress.
                Last edited by Sgt. Slaughter; 07-22-2013, 10:01 AM.
                NRA Life Member

                The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence. - Sir Robert Peel

                Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats. - H. L. Mencken

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sgt. Slaughter View Post
                  http://www.loc.gov/crsinfo/research/

                  CRS employs more than 400 policy analysts, attorneys and information professionals across a variety of disciplines in five research divisions. The breadth and depth of this expertise — from law, economics and foreign affairs to defense and homeland security, public administration, education, health care, immigration, energy, environmental protection, science and technology — enables CRS quickly to mobilize flexible groups that provide integrated analyses of complex issues facing the Congress.
                  Which is double talk for employing a bunch of "experts" who know absolutely nothing about the subjects they "study" but are able to tell congress they can "prove" anything the members want them to prove.
                  Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                  My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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                  • #10
                    Would you expect anything less from the fed?
                    NRA Life Member

                    The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence. - Sir Robert Peel

                    Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats. - H. L. Mencken

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sgt. Slaughter View Post
                      Would you expect anything less from the fed?
                      Of course not----------------nor any other governmental body
                      Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                      My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
                        Which is double talk for employing a bunch of "experts" who know absolutely nothing about the subjects they "study" but are able to tell congress they can "prove" anything the members want them to prove.
                        That's our tax dollars, hardly working.

                        Comment

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