Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Playing with the Rules: An Effort to Strengthen the Mens Rea Standards of Federal Criminal Laws

32 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2011  

Geraldine Szott Moohr

University of Houston Law Center

Date Written: June 15, 2011

Abstract

This essay, focusing on regulatory and white collar crimes, reviews the role of the current mens rea standards in the federal trend to overcriminalize. In the federal system, the combination of passing more criminal laws and deferential judicial interpretation has, over time, weakened the role of mens rea in determining guilt. Strengthening the mens rea standards so the element properly identifies those who merit punishment would eliminate one cause of overcriminalization. In three parts, this article reviews the congressional propensity to criminalize conduct, reviews the significance of mens rea in criminal law doctrine, and analyzes new proposals aimed at strengthening mens rea standards.

Keywords: regulatory crimes, white collar crime, mens rea, overcriminalization, federal criminal law, public welfare offenses, Flores-Figueroa, lenity

Suggested Citation

Moohr, Geraldine Szott, Playing with the Rules: An Effort to Strengthen the Mens Rea Standards of Federal Criminal Laws (June 15, 2011). Journal of Law, Economics and Policy, Forthcoming; U of Houston Law Center No. 2011-A-4. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1865341

Geraldine Szott Moohr (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
181
Rank
140,673
Abstract Views
1,002