“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come,” wrote Victor Hugo, in History of A Crime – published in 1877.
We could not agree more.
Buckeye’s President, Robert Alt, has been a longtime leader in defending Americans from becoming victims of hyperactive laws designed to criminalize ordinary behavior. He previously taught criminal law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, following which he led a successful project on the topic of over-criminalization while serving as a Director for former Attorney General Ed Meese in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.
It is, therefore, fitting that the issue of over-criminalization finally earned its day of hearings at Ohio’s Statehouse. Indeed, Robert testified before the Ohio Senate Criminal Justice Committee earlier this week about this particular idea whose time has come, after many weeks working with leaders in the Ohio Senate. This legislation would prevent Ohioans from unwittingly being criminalized for running afoul of unknown or arcane laws, and is long overdue.
In his testimony, Robert explained,
“The default rule in SB 361 seeks to assure that the traditional requirement of a culpable mind is present in each material element of an offense, except where the General Assembly plainly indicates that it wishes to dispense with the requirement. In so doing, the language reduces the risk that Ohioans who are seeking to follow the rules may nonetheless run afoul of the criminal law without having a guilty mind.”
The bill cleared the committee earlier this morning.
To celebrate Buckeye’s testifying, we are sending out individual copies of the seminal book on over-criminalization published when Robert was at Heritage, One Nation Under Arrest, while supplies last.*
For any particularly cheapskate Buckeye Institute readers, holiday gift shopping for your in-laws can be completed without spending a dime — wrap up an education on the issue of over-criminalization, compliments of The Buckeye Institute!