The Justice System: Too Many Federal Crimes

The Justice System: Too Many Federal Crimes

After decades of criticism from members of the Justice System, Congress has decided to create a task force to reform the federal criminal code. The task force will consist of five Republicans and five Democrats, and it will be known as the House Committee on the Judiciary Over-Criminalization Task Force of 2013.

Representative, Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), will lead the task force and is expected to reintroduce a bill that could reduce the size of the criminal code by approximately one-third. According to Sensenbrenner, “over-criminalization is a threat to personal liberty and an expensive and inefficient way to deal with a lot of problems.”

Currently, there are more than 4,000 federal crimes scattered throughout 50 titles of the United States Code, not including federal regulations that can be criminally enforced. As a result, not only is the code complex, it is incoherent and disorganized.

Additionally, because of the increasing number of federal crimes that are added to the code each year, federal prosecutors are given wide discretion to pick and choose between the large variety of offenses that may apply to any given type of criminal conduct. For example, the prosecutor could choose to charge a defendant under a general statute that has less complicated proof requirements versus another statute that is narrowly tailored to the particular circumstances of the case. This ability to pick and choose provides prosecutors with greater bargaining over the defense in the Justice System, and it permits over-utilization some statutes and underutilization of others.

In addition, it creates a mine-field for anyone thinking about speaking with law enforcement in an effort to “clear things up” and avoid a criminal charge. Often times, what criminal charge a person may face is anyone’s guess. Therefore, speaking with law enforcement without the advice of an experienced federal defense attorney is risky at best.

Therefore, if you or a loved one is currently under federal investigation or is facing criminal charges, it is important that you contact an experienced federal criminal defense attorney today, regardless of whether you are in Detroit, Flint, Troy, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Monroe, Ann Arbor, or any other Michigan county.