Strict Liability CrimesSubmitted by mungke on Sun, 10/20/2013 - 19:14
A strict liability crime is a crime where there is no "intent" element that has to be proven by the prosecution. (Called mens rea by lawyers and the courts). Since the 80s too many of these authoritarian laws have been passed, and other than locking a lot of people up unnecessarily and ruining their lives, little seems to have happend as far as making us safer or a better society.
This is a real legal issue that the libertarian community could get behind. As I recall, Rand Paul introduced a bill to outlaw crimes where there is no mens rea. Such a thing really should be considered a violation of due process, as minimal due process at the time of the Constitution's signing involved crimes having both an act and an intent element. It is also provides a way to criminalize activity that is perilously close to being first amendment protected expression.
Most gun laws are strict liability crimes. Most drug laws are strict liability crimes. This whole category is something that needs to be examined.
Take Adam Kokesh for example. He is in jail because he did something within the arbitrary confines of a jurisdiction that arbitrarily decided he can't. He didn't threaten anyone. He didn't appear to do it in the course of committing a larger crime like a robbery or an assault. No, he actually did it in exercise of first amendment rights, as he called it, "political theatre." This in turn led to the heavily armed search of the apartment he lived in and yet another strict liability crime, possession of a substance.
Such things should be an infraction at most, and should have no long term effects on him other than perhaps some penalty (and not a permanent one, either) to his gun rights. Nothing more in a free society should occur.
But for all the amateur analysis here, this hasn't ever been discussed on this forum that I can recall. Not in the context of Adam Kokesh, where it is obvious, or in general. Nooooo. Instead let's talk about fake grand juries at Denny's, let's pretend there's a strawman, and let's wilfully misinterpret old laws to somehow read that the US is only a corporation. Then let's retreat to our basements and tell anyone who is fighting for real, actual legal issues that they are a troll.
Good. Great plan guys! Instead, in this thread, let's discuss reality. There should be an end to the criminalization of activity where there is no mens rea, just like there should be an end to the rigid application of any of man's arbitrary laws.