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Overcriminalization Paper

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Essay title: Overcriminalization Paper

Overcriminalization paper

This paper is going to be on Overcriminalization. I will try to explain what overcriminalization is. I will give a couple of example of overcriminalization that I discovered on the internet during my research for this paper. I will also discuss how far into the private lives of citizens the government-sanctioned views of morality should properly intrude. I will follow up on my belief if the "crisis of overcriminalization" actually exists in the United States now.

I could not find any real definition of overcriminalization. From what I understand overcriminalization is the government passing laws to be able to reach into peoples private lives to prosecute them for crimes that should have never been passed in the first place. Would this really surprise anyone? I was not really surprised that the government would actually do this to the citizens of the United States. The U.S. has so many laws that the legal system cannot enforce why not pass more laws to burden the system even further.

The first example that I found for overcriminalization was the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002(BRACA). This act was supposed to hold corporate and union officials criminally liable for knowingly broadcasting advertisements 30 days before a primary and 60 days prior to a general election. According to the Free Congress Foundation what this act really did was restrict freedom of speech and to them most specifically the political freedom of speech for individuals to participate in debates prior to an election (Lilienthal, November 3, 2004). Would it really matter to the average American citizen if an organization wanted to participate in a public debate? I would think that it would get more information out to the voters. I do not think this should be a crime.

The second example that I found was an article written by Trent England and Paul Rosenzweig on November 23, 2004 in the American Spectator. This article discusses the law that congress is trying to pass to make buying and selling horse meat a crime. The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act would make it a crime to slaughter a horse for human consumption. This does not stop people from slaughtering horses to make dog food or glue. The percentage of people that actually eat horse meat in the U.S. is so small the do not even have a record of it. If this law is passed what animal will be next? Some people say that horse meat is unsafe for human consumption. The Indians have been eating horse meat for hundreds of years and someone is just now going to say that it is unsafe for human consumption. Horsemeat is a very popular dish in France, Italy, and the Netherlands.

The third example that I found on the internet was a bill that was approved by the house judiciary committee. This Bill would make it a crime if parents learned of any drug activity near their children and did not report it to law enforcement officials. Parents could spend up to three years in jail if they do not report this to law enforcement officials within 24 hours of contact (Healy, May 18, 2005). Should we lock parents up because they found out that their child was exposed to drug activity? What happened to parents protecting their children from wrongdoing?

I think the government is going too far with passing laws. The new laws are getting further and further into peoples private lives. If the government keeps passing laws to intrude into peoples private lives are we giving up our freedoms? The federal government has around 4000 laws. Congress's own research service is not really sure of the exact number of criminal laws that they have. Most of these laws have been passed in the last few decades from pressure from special interest groups (England & Rosenzweig, 2004). Congress has passed some of

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