January 21, 2016
Letters to Congress
The 40 undersigned organizations oppose inclusion in any criminal justice reform package of "mens rea" (state of mind) provisions that would make it harder for prosecutors to criminally prosecute companies and corporate executives that engage in criminal wrongdoing. Specifically, there are various mens rea proposals, including mens rea legislation proposed in the Senate, that are premised on the belief that our criminal laws are in need of a new, overarching set of standards relating to mens rea. These proposals would likely make it far harder to prosecute corporate crime by overturning the basic precept that "ignorance of the law is no defense" and may offer corporations and company executives an "ignorance of the law" defense.