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FLEOA Criminal Code Improvement of Act 2015

The Honorable Bob Goodlatte
Chairman
House Judiciary Committee
2309 Rayburn HOB Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable John Conyers, Jr. Ranking Member
House Judiciary Committee
2426 Rayburn HOB Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers, Jr.,

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (www.fleoa.org), the nations largest federal non-partisan professional association has great concerns with provisions contained within the   Criminal Code Improvement Act of 2015.

As named, it gives the impression of making improvements to the federal criminal code when it may in fact undermine parts of it.

Embedded in the bill is Section 11, entitled, "Default state of mind proof requirement in Federal criminal cases."  The section states that, "If no state of mind is required by law for a federal criminal offense, [then] (1) the state of mind the Government must prove is knowing; and
(2) if the offense consist of conduct that a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances would not know, or would not have reason to believe, was lawful, the Government must prove that the defendant knew, or had reason to believe, the conduct was unlawful."

This type of broad provision may undermine criminal code sections where the actions themselves are violations without the need to prove a mental state or  "Mens rea."  Federal violations of terrorism, sex crimes,
abduction and others have no "Mens rea" requirement yet those actions
themselves are a crime.

This bill may now make it very difficult to prove guilt of those offenses by a suspect merely stating, "they didn't know what they did was wrong. "We are sure this was not the intent of the bill and would ask the Committee to review the content of this bill to ensure it doesn't undo the basis of proven federal criminal law.

Please let us know if we can assist the Committee with ensuring this bill hits its mark and doesn't cause unintended collateral damage.

Respectfully yours,


Nathan R. Catura
FLEOA National President