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Washington Letter February 2016


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ABA cites erosion of criminal intent element but urges careful steps in enacting mens rea legislation

The ABA told the Senate Judiciary Committee last month that the erosion of the criminal intent (mens rea) element in federal criminal laws is a significant problem and directly affects a core principle of the American system of justice – that individuals should not be subjected to criminal prosecution and conviction unless they intentionally engage in inherently wrongful conduct or conduct that they know to be unlawful.