Thursday, April 09, 2015

When everything is a crime

George Will, Washington Post:
Overcriminalization, says professor Reynolds, deepens the dangers of “a dynamic in which those charged with crimes have a lot at risk, while those doing the charging have very little ‘skin in the game.’ ” With a vast menu of crimes from which to choose, prosecutors can “overcharge” a target, presenting him or her with the choice between capitulation-through-plea-bargain or a trial with a potentially severe sentence.
Given the principle — which itself should be reconsidered — of prosecutorial immunity, we have a criminal justice system with too many opportunities for generating defendants, too few inhibitions on prosecutors and ongoing corrosion of the rule and morality of law. Congress, the ultimate cause of all this, has work to undo.

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