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
Date Written: November 17, 2012
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
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