Podgor Testifies Before Congress

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Professor Ellen Podgor testifying before Congress.

Professor Ellen Podgor testifying before Congress. Photo by Dupont Photographers. Click for high-resolution image.

On Sept. 28, white-collar crime expert professor Ellen Podgor testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security in Washington, D.C. Professor Podgor, the LeRoy Highbaugh, Sr., Research Chair at Stetson University College of Law, discussed the impact of overcriminalization.

“The cycle of recriminalizing conduct every time an event occurs needs to stop,” Podgor urged Congress.

“Clearly we are all opposed to crime, and the goal to eradicate its existence is of the utmost importance,” Professor Podgor stated at the beginning of her testimony before Congress. “Laws that punish individuals when they commit crimes serve the important goals of deterring future criminality and isolating those who may present a harm to society. But efforts towards achieving these goals are hampered by the reality that, in some cases, criminality is not clearly defined, and society is not properly notified of what conduct is prohibited by law.”

The president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Jim E. Levine, also testified. Levine and Podgor fielded questions from Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Scott and Ranking Member Louie Gohmert (R-TX). Chairman John Conyers, Jr. also participated.

Hearing witnesses included overcriminalization victims Abner Schoenwetter and race car driver Bobby Unser, Brian Walsh of the Heritage Foundation, Notre Dame Law professor Stephen Smith, and former Director of the DOJ’s Enron Task Force Andrew Weissmann.

To read professor Ellen Podgor’s complete testimony, visit the NACDL here.
Visit her white collar crime blog to read more of her analyses of legal issues.
For more background on this topic, read the NACDL and Heritage Foundation report, Without Intent: How Congress Is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirement in Federal Law.