Relevancy of Mens Rea and Criminal Intent in Modern Prosecutions
Louisiana Bar Journal Vol. 62, No. 5
2 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2018
Date Written: February 1, 2015
Successful defenses using an accused’s lack of mens rea or criminal intent have become increasingly rare. One conclusion of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Task Force on Over-Criminalization is that “there are now more than 4,000 federal criminal provisions plus hundreds of thousands of federal regulations that impose criminal penalties, often without requiring that criminal intent be shown to establish guilt.” In this case, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal buttressed these basic legal principles by reversing both the conviction and habitual-offender status of the defendant and entering a judgment of acquittal for lack of proof that the defendant intended any criminal act to be committed.
Keywords: mens rea, criminal intent, criminal prosecution, criminal law
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