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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78391 Find in a Library
Title: Federal Criminal Code - The Houses Are Divided
Journal: American Criminal Law Review  Volume:18  Issue:4  Dated:(Spring 1981)  Pages:509-531
Author(s): R Drinan; M E Ward; D W Beier
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 23
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Significant achievements in the 96th Congress toward a complete redraft of the Federal criminal code are outlined.
Abstract: After a brief review of the most recent efforts at reform of the Federal criminal code, the legislative process from which the current version of the relevant House bill emerged is analyzed. Whether the Federal code should provide for ancillary Federal jurisdiction is then examined, followed by a discussion of the necessity of replacing the current mental state requirements of general and specific intent with the mental states delineated in the Model Penal Code. Further, the need for eliminating the ill-defined, generalized offense provisions of Federal law is considered, and more specific codifications of the offenses proscribed are suggested. The generalized offenses discussed are defrauding the Government, interference with Government functions, obstruction of an official proceeding by fraud, and false statements. The concluding section reviews the inequities resulting from current sentencing procedures and proposes important modifications. The topics considered in this section are criticism of sentencing reform, general principles for reform, sentencing guidelines, and fair sentencing procedures. Overall, the experience of the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice during the 96th Congress demonstrated that it was possible to draft a criminal code reform bill that resolved many of the criticisms of previous efforts while serving the legitimate needs of law enforcement. The remaining hurdles to the enactment of a comprehensive criminal code reform bill appear to be more political than philosophical, theoretical, or technical. A total of 237 footnotes are listed. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Criminal codes; Criminal intent; Criminal responsibility; Federal Code; Jurisdiction; Law reform; Legislation; Sentencing reform
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