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Notre Dame Law School

Federal criminal law

2019

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Federalization's Folly, Stephen F. Smith Jan 2019

Federalization's Folly, Stephen F. Smith

Journal Articles

Overcriminalization and overpunishment are the two key features of federal criminal law today, yet the constant drumbeat to “federalize” criminal law has accomplished precious little in terms of public safety. The failed drug war proves as much: federal prosecutors have filled the nation’s prisons with low-level drug dealers and drug users serving long sentences, but drugs remain widely available at greater purity and lower prices throughout the land — and drug overdoses are at record highs. Instead of focusing on areas of federal comparative advantage, such as terrorism, international drug trafficking, and organized crime, federal prosecutors waste scarce resources “playing …