Overcriminalization The Limits of the Criminal Law

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-11-30
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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The United States today suffers from too much criminal law and too much punishment. Husak describes the phenomena in some detail and explores their relation, and why these trends produce massive injustice. His primary goal is to defend a set of constraints that limit the authority of states to enact and enforce penal offenses. The book urges the weight and relevance of this topic in the real world, and notes that most Anglo-American legal philosophers have neglected it. Husak's secondary goal is to situate this endeavor in criminal theory as traditionally construed. He argues that many of the resources to reduce the size and scope of the criminal law can be derived from within the criminal law itself-even though these resources have not been used explicitly for this purpose. Additional constraints emerge from a political view about the conditions under which important rights such as the right implicated by punishment-may be infringed. When conjoined, these constraints produce what Husak calls a minimalist theory of criminal liability. Husak applies these constraints to a handful of examples-most notably, to the justifiability of drug proscriptions.

Author Biography

Douglas Husak is Professor of Philosophy and Law at Rutgers University.

Table of Contents

The Amount of Criminal Lawp. 3
Too Much Punishment, Too Many Crimesp. 4
How Mare Crimes Produce Injusticep. 17
The Content of New Offensesp. 33
An Example of Overcriminalizationp. 45
Internal Constraints on Criminalizationp. 55
The "General Part" of Criminal Lawp. 58
From Punishment to Criminalizationp. 77
A Right Not to Be Punished?p. 92
Malum Prohibitump. 103
External Constraints on Criminalizationp. 120
Infringing the Right Not to Be Punishedp. 122
The Devil in the Detailsp. 132
Crimes of Risk Preventionp. 159
Alternative Theories of Criminalizationp. 178
Law and Economicsp. 180
Utilitarianismp. 188
Legal Moralismp. 196
Table of Casesp. 207
Bibliographyp. 209
Indexp. 225
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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