Law Quarterly

Mens Rea Reform and the Modern Regulatory State


During the spring of 2016, prior to the election of Donald Trump, Congress, without much fanfare, drafted and considered legislation for comprehensive criminal justice reform. This reform was primarily aimed at reducing mandatory minimum sentencing. However, many congressional Republicans, such as Congressmen Orrin Hatch and Jim Sensenbrenner, supported adding mens rea reform to the comprehensive criminal justice legislation. The subsequent dispute over the mens rea addendum fell mostly along partisan lines and ultimately derailed the entire legislative effort. (more…)