Policing Possession: The War on Crime and the End of Criminal Law
151 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2004
The war on crime has been the dominant ideology of American criminal law for the past three decades. This paper examines the inner workings of this remarkably successful, yet still little understood, strategy of social control. Particular attention is paid to the role of victimless crimes, and possession in particular, as sweep offenses to incapacitate dangerous undesirables. Easy to detect and to prove, yet far more potent and less vulnerable to constitutional scrutiny, possession emerges as the new and improved vagrancy, a modern policing tool for a modern police regime, the war on victimless crime.
Keywords: criminal law, criminal process, police power, possession, war on crime
JEL Classification: K14, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation