Our Constitution contains multiple procedural due process rights that are critically important to our democracy and to our country's vision of justice. When any of them are eroded, our system fails to operate as it was intended.
Brief in Support of Plaintiffs
5th Circuit Court of Appeals
In this amicus brief, we argue predetermined, scheduled bail schemes infringe on the due process rights of pretrial detainees. These schemes do not account for the government’s interests in pretrial detention or an individual’s ability to pay, in violation of the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment. Judges are also unable to take a defendant’s individual circumstances into account when setting bail if it is predetermined or scheduled. Furthermore, longstanding jurisprudence underscores the general right to pretrial liberty and is incompatible with the bail practices currently in use by Dallas County.
Filed with Americans For Prosperity Foundation, Cato Institute, Clause 40 Foundation, and Professor Shon Hopwood.
Despite the popular understanding that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, the government engages in practices that punish large numbers of Americans—depriving them of their time, their property, and even their liberty—without the benefit of a jury trial or other essential procedural rights. These practices have enabled mass incarceration and eroded the framers’ vision for a system of due process that limits the government’s ability to punish its citizens indiscriminately.
Carolyn Iodice, Senior Counsel at Clause 40 Foundation, and Professor Carissa Byrne Hessick, Ransdell Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law and Director of the Prosecutors and Politics Project, discuss Hessick's new book, Punishment Without Trial: Why Plea Bargaining is A Bad Deal, a timely exploration of how plea bargaining prevents true criminal legal reform. Their conversation covers how the system got to this point, how it unfairly burdens individuals and communities, and how we can fix it.
Brief in Support of Certiorari
U.S. Supreme Court
A study by The Heritage Foundation reported that the U.S. Code (listing all statutes enacted by Congress) contained more than 4,450 criminal offenses and many of these federal offenses are either strict liability or contain poorly drafted mens rea requirements. In this amicus brief, we argue regulatory statutes with no scienter requirement and criminal penalties ensnare innocent actors; citizens engaging in otherwise lawful behavior are turned into felons based on their unknowing proximity to a regulatory violation. These laws threaten fundamental due process and other basic constitutional rights while also contributing to overcriminalization.
Filed with The Buckeye Institute, The Competitive Enterprise, Reason Foundation, Faith & Freedom Coalition, and The Rutherford Institute.
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