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.

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
This entry was posted in Law, Lotteries, Probability and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 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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