Is Congress Addressing Our Overcriminalization Problem? Reviewing the Progress of the Overcriminalization Task Force

In May 2013, the bipartisan Overcriminalization Task Force, authorized by the House Committee on the Judiciary and led by Representatives James Sensenbrenner (R–WI) and Bobby Scott (D–VA), emerged from the widespread national agreement that the overuse and misuse of substantive criminal law (known as “overcriminalization”) needs to be corrected. Although the Overcriminalization Task Force is still a work in progress, the pace of enactment of new criminal legislation has slowed markedly during the time that the task force has been in existence, and some members of both the House and the Senate have introduced legislation that would address overcriminalization problems. Accordingly, there is reason to be hopeful that Congress is paying attention to this problem and may decide to change the status quo.

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