By Gene Healy
The yank legal justice approach is turning into ever extra centralized and punitive, as a result of rampant federalization and vital minimal sentencing instructions. pass on to penal complex examines those alarming developments and proposes reforms that can rein in a legal justice gear at struggle with equity and customary experience.
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Additional info for Go Directly to Jail: The Criminalization of Almost Everything
Historically applied predominantly in reporting violation cases, SEPs are maturing into a more versatile tool. . 41 The completeness of the prosecutorial discretion that results from the dilution of intent, combined with the complexity of the offenses, the vagueness of the stated guidelines, and the influence of important unstated factors, gives enforcement an eerie uncertainty. Legal seminars are given by current government enforcers teamed with lawyers and consultants in private practice, most of whom were enforcers until they left the government a year or so ago.
It was created by regulators, who were pushed by activist judges and crafty drafters of legislative history. Hence, its moral legitimacy is thin. Violations are criminalized precisely for the in terrorem effect because the law does not correspond with the people’s sense of moral right. It is somewhat similar to an occupying army shooting a hostage occasionally to instill fearful obedience from the populace. The federal budget crunch is making this problem worse. As Congress loses the financial freedom to give money to favored constituencies, it passes laws forcing private actors to transfer wealth to them.
Any participant in the health care or defense industries is vulnerable to misreading a contract and having the dispute turn into a criminal investigation. The head of the federal Office of Thrift Supervision noted in 1992 that, as a result of all the prosecutions of S&L directors, financial institutions were having trouble attracting qualified directors. 46 Such 25 81747$$CH2 09-20-04 13:21:17 CATO GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL efforts to hide will be in vain. Because the criminal law and related sanctions are intruding everywhere, no one can adopt a philosophy of minding his own business and thereby avoid legal risk.