- Associated Press -
A conservative think tank and criminal laws so loosely that they subject innocent people to unjust prosecution and prison.are forming an unusual alliance to try to get Congress to quit writing
A new study by the Heritage Foundation and the finds that nearly two dozen federal laws enacted in 2005 and 2006 to combat nonviolent crime lack an adequate provision that someone accused of violating the laws must have had a "guilty mind," or .
"It is a fundamental principle of criminal law that, before criminal punishment can be imposed, the government must prove both a guilty act and a guilty mind," the groups said in the report.
Even when Congress includes a "guilty mind" provision in a law, "it is often so weak that it does not protect defendants from punishment for making honest mistakes," or committing minor transgressions, the report said.
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