Several weeks ago Civitas co-sponsored an event that brought together lawyers, legislators, and other professionals in the criminal justice industry.
Jim Copland is the Director of the Center for Legal Policy at the Manhattan Institute, where his work focuses on litigation reform. Copland introduced the speakers, as well as set the stage for the event. He noted
In recent years, a coalition of groups across the political spectrum has looked to reform “overcriminalization,” the trend in which the criminal law has been dramatically expanded and increasingly used to punish conduct that violates regulatory imperatives but is neither self-evidently wrong nor understood to be a crime.
Much of the reform effort has focused on federal law, and Washington, D.C., but most criminal law remains at the state level. Therefore, the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Legal Policy, in cooperation with various state and national partners, has begun looking at certain states’ criminal justice systems: New York, Illinois, Ohio, and now North Carolina.
This event launching our North Carolina efforts was co-sponsored by the John Locke Foundation, Civitas, and the NC Institute for Constitutional Law, as well as national partners The Federalist Society, The Heritage Foundation, and Right on Crime. North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Paul Martin Newby framed the discussion with a keynote address, and an engaging panel discussion followed, featuring Jeanette Doran (executive director of the NC Institute for Constitutional Law), Josh Howard (founder and partner of the law firm Gammon, Howard, and Zeszotarski), and Jeffrey Welty (a professor at the UNC School of Government).
This engaging discussion offers significant insights into how overcriminalization has taken root in the Tar Heel State, and it offers a blue print for reform for the state’s energized public leadership.
When no one person knows all the laws in North Carolina, is state law too extensive? The discussion on the issue of overcriminalization is being brought to the table.