from Law Blog
March 12, 2012, 11:48 AM
By Sam Favate
The difference one word can make.
Last week, President Obama signed into law the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011, which has been called “the anti-Occupy” bill, but as the ACLU points out, it was the elimination of one word from an existing law that could make life harder for protesters.
As first-year criminal law students know, most crimes require that a certain state of mind be proven. The new law re-writes an existing 1971 trespass law, which stated someone had to act “willfully and knowingly” when committing the crime.
Now, the language has been changed so that the actor only need behave “knowingly,” which would mean knowing one was in a restricted area but not necessarily that he or she was committing a crime. This small change would allow the Secret Service to arrest protestors more easily, the ACLU said in a statement.
The law makes it an offense to knowingly enter the certain areas without legal authority. The following areas are off-limits: . . . Read complete report
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