In 1765, legal scholar William Blackstone said it is “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.” Today’s United States judicial system apparently disagrees.
Historically, criminal penalties were only used to punish behavior that is inarguably wrong, such as murder, theft, fraud, rape, and so forth.
But recently a disturbing trend has emerged — overcriminalization. That’s when government uses criminal law to solve every problem, to punish every mistake, and to compel compliance with regulatory objectives. Criminal penalties are now enforced against reasonable people who did not know what they were doing was wrong.
Take Abner Schoenwetter. He became a victim of overcriminalization after the federal government prosecuted him for violating a foreign country‘s wildlife regulations. Continue Reading »