Reconsidering the Mistake of Law Defense

102 J. of Crim. L. & Criminology 725 (2012)

60 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2012 Last revised: 15 Jan 2014

See all articles by Paul J. Larkin, Jr.

Paul J. Larkin, Jr.

The Heritage Foundation

Edwin Meese

The Heritage Foundation

Date Written: November 17, 2012

Abstract

The criminal law is a powerful medicine, and overuse of it can be toxic. We have reached the point at which the number of criminal laws has grown so large, and some of the rules so distant from contemporary mores, that the average person can unknowingly violate the criminal law. There is no need to suffer from this affliction. A properly defined mistake of law defense would protect morally blameless parties without creating a loophole in the criminal law.

Keywords: Mistake of law, ignorance of the law, mistake of fact

Suggested Citation

Larkin, Jr., Paul James and Meese, Edwin, Reconsidering the Mistake of Law Defense (November 17, 2012). 102 J. of Crim. L. & Criminology 725 (2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2184396

Paul James Larkin, Jr. (Contact Author)

The Heritage Foundation ( email )

214 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002-4999
United States
202-608-6190 (Phone)

Edwin Meese

The Heritage Foundation ( email )

214 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002-4999
United States

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