Carolina Journal Radio

Fixing N.C. criminal code includes focus on ‘mens rea’

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From Carolina Journal Radio Program No. 722: It’s entirely possible for a North Carolinian to be charged, prosecuted, and convicted of a crime, even if he had no reason to believe his conduct was wrong. That’s a problem. It gets to the erosion of a core legal principle known as “mens rea,” the idea that a crime involves both a wrongful act and a “vicious will” or “culpable mind.” Jon Guze, the John Locke Foundation’s director of legal studies, explains why North Carolina ought to take steps to restore the “mens rea” principle in the state criminal code.