More than 4,450 activities are federal crimes, and 300,000 federal regulations carry potential criminal penalties, according to a feature by McClatchy Newspapers.
To illustrate its point that Congress has gone overboard in creating “crimes,” McClatchy pointed to a Miami seafood importer. Abner Schoenwetter, 64, just finished a six-year stretch in prison for the crime of contracting to purchase lobster tails from a Honduran seller whom federal authorities learned was violating lobster-harvest regulations.
DNA evidence has exonerated 261 convicted criminals (including 17 on death row), but more interesting, according to professor Brandon Garrett of the University of Virginia Law School, more than 40 such exonerations have been of criminals who falsely confessed to “their” crimes.
“I beat myself up a lot,” Eddie Lowery told The New York Times.
Lowery had falsely admitted raping a 75-year-old woman and served a 10-year sentence before being cleared.
“I thought I was the only dummy who did that.”
Lowery’s (nearly logical) explanation was typical: Weary from high-pressure police interrogation, he gave up and told them what they wanted to hear, figuring to get a lawyer to straighten everything out — except that, by that time, the police had his confession on video, preserved for the jury.
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