“Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little.”—“Rough Justice in America,” The Economist

The Rutherford Institute continually comes to the defense of those accused of breaking laws imposed by overzealous legislatures.

Thanks to an overabundance of 4500-plus federal crimes and 400,000 plus rules and regulations, it’s estimated that the average American actually commits three felonies a day without knowing it. Everyday, more and more Americans are being arrested for such absurd “violations” as letting their kids play at a park unsupervised, collecting rainwater, growing vegetables, and holding Bible studies in the privacy of their own home.

The list of individuals who have suffered similar injustices at the hands of a runaway legal system is growing, ranging from the orchid grower jailed for improper paperwork and the lobstermen charged with importing lobster tails in plastic bags rather than cardboard boxes to the former science teacher labeled a federal criminal for digging for arrowheads in his favorite campsite.

Key Cases in Overcriminalization:

Our Recent Work in Overcriminalization

VICTORY: Florida Officials Drop Prosecution of Mom Arrested, Handcuffed, Searched & Jailed for Allowing Her 7-Year-Old Son to Visit Playground Alone

Rutherford Institute Defends First Amendment Rights of Florida Sporting Good Store Owners Ordered by City to Remove ‘Dont Tread on Me’ Flag

VICTORY: Court Orders Metro Authorities to Allow ‘Busker’ Street Musician to Continue Performing at DC Metro Stations

Rutherford Institute Defends Homeowner Charged Criminally with Violating City Ordinance by Keeping Chickens as Pets, Personal Source of Organic Eggs

Commentary on Overcriminalization Issues

The Greatest Threat to Our Freedoms: A Government of Scoundrels, Spies, Thieves, Ruffians, Rapists and Killers

The Final Nail in the Coffin: The Death of Freedom in Our Schools

We’re All Criminals and Outlaws in the Eyes of the American Police State

College Girls, Bottled Water and the Emerging American Police State

Move Over, Traffic Court, It’s Time for a New Money-Making Scheme—School Truancy Laws Jail Parents and Levy Excessive Fines

The Overcriminalization of America: Are We All Criminals Now?