Reverse legal lotteries

The increasing problem of overcriminalization (of private citizens and businesses, that is — policemen and regulators almost always get a free pass) has been noted before. In summary, overcriminalization threatens our economic liberties and undermines the rule of law. Matt Kaiser, moreover, describes overcriminalization as a reverse or negative lottery. He writes (emphasis by us):

It’s been said before, but probably bears repeating: we have more than 4,000 statutes in the United States Code that provide for criminal punishment — 215 of these relate to false statements alone. There are more than 300,000 regulations that allow for criminal enforcement, according to former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh. As … Judge [Alex] Kozinski has said, in light of this ballooning of federal criminal law, “most Americans are criminals and don’t even know it.” The … federal criminal justice system is basically a lottery that all of us are entered in that no one wants to win.

What is the optimal rate of enforcement?

This entry was posted in Law, Lotteries, Probability and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Reverse legal lotteries

  1. James says:

    There is something to be said about too many laws when a country’s Justice Department admits it doesn’t even know the exact number of statutes.

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