TFD Excerpt in the NACDL Champion: The Decline and Fall of Mens Rea

An excerpt from Three Felonies a Day is the lead item in the September/October 2009 issue of The Champion, the journal of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). 

The excerpt, titled “The Decline and Fall of Mens Rea,” chronicles how modern criminal law has abandoned the ancient requirement of criminal intent as a necessary component for an act to be considered criminal. As Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson wrote in the landmark 1952 case of Morissette v. United States, a criminal act requires “an evil-meaning mind with an evil-doing hand.”

The trend away from these requirements, combined with an ever-expanding federal criminal code that fails to provide citizens with clarity of their legal obligations, has given rise to the phenomenon described in TFD: the average working professional commits three arguable felonies each day.

Read on to view a PDF of the excerpt in your browser.

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