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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Overcriminalization: Guilty Without Criminal Intent

The march towards making regulatory violations actual "crimes" for which prison sentences are prescribed by Congressional statute continues and is noted in this excellent Wall Street Journal report.

The impact on the average American?  Increasingly, benign everyday activities place people at risk of losing their freedom, their reputation and their savings.  (Maybe it's time for a reprint or revision of Harvey Silverglate's 2009 book Three Felonies a Day.

Sometimes it seems as if the justice system is capricious and scornful of the average American, doling out every so often the opposite of the winning lottery ticket --- and if you lose your freedom and reputation so someone in the local U.S. Attorney's Office can build his resume in order to run for Congress, well, you are acceptable collateral damage.  Just like the hapless troops we've been sending to the Middle East and Near Asia for an entire decade now, on a mission which seems less and less clear by the day.

Eric Dixon is a New York investigative lawyer, strategic analyst and political consultant.  Mr. Dixon can be reached for further consultation or comment at

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