A basic principal to our criminal justice system centers around intent. The increase in felonies, victimless laws, and other crimes in which no intent is required is becoming increasingly disturbing. Thankfully someone else is noticing.
For centuries, a bedrock principle of criminal law has held that people must know they are doing something wrong before they can be found guilty. The concept is known as mens rea, Latin for a “guilty mind.”
This legal protection is now being eroded as the U.S. federal criminal code dramatically swells. In recent decades, Congress has repeatedly crafted laws that weaken or disregard the notion of criminal intent. Today not only are there thousands more criminal laws than before, but it is easier to fall afoul of them.
The article goes on to state how a man was arrested and served time in jail for much the same as selling a firearm. His mistake was he hadn’t fully vetted the person buying the product. He had no intent to break the law, he had a reasonable belief the transaction was legal, but that was not good enough.
The whole point of our legal system no longer centers around protecting the innocent but bringing in as many as possible. Convicted felons have numerous rights stripped, including some that cannot even be restored through the courts.
It gets better though because those creating the laws and enforcing them are also confiscating the property of those they charge. Then you have State Sponsored Criminals walking off with the confiscated materials. How bad could this over criminalization be though?
Overall, more than 40% of nonviolent offenses created or amended during two recent Congresses—the 109th and the 111th, the latter of which ran through last year—had “weak” mens rea requirements at best, according to a study conducted by the conservative Heritage Foundation and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
(Emphasis mine.) Do you really think that is by accident? It certainly isn’t a coincidence. What better way to control the public than by criminalizing all of them. The government is continually driving that wedge of us vs. them. Any law that is victimless, I.E. ownership and possession laws, do nothing other than criminalize many who would otherwise be law abiding.
Remember, the government is not your friend.