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University of Michigan Law School

2012

Crimes

Law and Philosophy

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On Strict Liability Crimes: Preserving A Moral Framework For Criminal Intent In An Intent-Free Moral World, W. Robert Thomas Feb 2012

On Strict Liability Crimes: Preserving A Moral Framework For Criminal Intent In An Intent-Free Moral World, W. Robert Thomas

Michigan Law Review

The law has long recognized a presumption against criminal strict liability. This Note situates that presumption in terms of moral intuitions about the role of intention and the unique nature of criminal punishment. Two sources-recent laws from state legislatures and recent advances in moral philosophy-pose distinct challenges to the presumption against strict liability crimes. This Note offers a solution to the philosophical problem that informs how courts could address the legislative problem. First, it argues that the purported problem from philosophy stems from a mistaken relationship drawn between criminal law and morality. Second, it outlines a slightly more nuanced moral ...