Overcriminalization: The Limits of the Criminal Law

Paperback | December 14, 2009

byDouglas Husak

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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 toenact 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 forthis 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 appliesthese constraints to a handful of examples-most notably, to the justifiability of drug proscriptions.

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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 toenact and enforce penal offenses. The book ...

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

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 6.1 × 9.21 × 0.79 inPublished:December 14, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195399013

ISBN - 13:9780195399011

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgements1. The Amount of Criminal LawI. Too Much Punishment, Too Many CrimesII. How More Crimes Produce InjusticeIII. The Content of New OffensesIV. An Illustration of Overcriminalization2. Internal Constraints on CriminalizationI. The General Part of Criminal LawII. From Punishment to CriminalizationIII. A Right Not to Be Punished?IV. Malum Prohibitum3. External Constraints on CriminalizationI. Infringing the Right Not to be PunishedII. The Devil in the DetailsIII. Crimes of Risk-Creation4. Alternative Theories of CriminalizationI. Law and EconomicsII. UtilitarianismIII. Legal Moralism