According to the article, the impact of federal legislation on crime has had four major impacts on the rate of crime in the United States. An overlook of the four impact of the legislation show that, over the past few decades, the numbers of crimes in the United States that carry criminal penalties have increased. Second, the rate at which the United States congress increases the number of offenses is unprecedented. Third, many of the enactments are concerned with environmental issues (Baker, 2004).
The increase of the number of crimes that warrant a federal sentence has only caused more and more crimes to be committed. The fact that the number of federal crimes cannot be calculated is attributable to the fact that congress has been unable to clearly distinguish a crime is and what is a violation of the regulation. This is made more difficult by the fact that federal jurisdiction has no concrete definition of the term crime. Another problem is that, in a federal crime, one statute does not constitute a crime per se and one statute may consist of several crimes. The absence of the definition of a crime has necessitated the ruling of federal cases be based on the judgments of individuals.
Another issue raised in the report is that congress increased the number of federal crimes in election years that it did in non-election years. Since the number of federal crimes is not easy to calculate, the report only calculated the statutes, not the regulations. Including the regulation in the report would have increased the number tremendously. This method of calculation of federal crimes is known as coverage, and the results that were obtained were too broad to be effective.
The complexity of the process comes in a unit of measure. In the calculation of the federal crimes, the American Bar Association, they took into account the section and the subsections of the code. This means that means that the number of the offences that are punishable increased significantly in those election years. As a result, the number of federal crimes increased significantly in the year 1998, the same year that the University of Buffalo calculated the number of federal crimes and registered an increase in the number of federal crimes in the U.S Code during the 16 years since the OLP count by a third (Baker, 2004).
A significant number of the federal legislation made in the year 1997 were centered on environmental issues. As often is the case, judges presented with cases of a federal nature tend to side with the prosecutor and consequently end up making new law. This has not been taken lightly by the Supreme Court. In the decade that the report was written, the Supreme Court criticized some of the federal legislations that were made by congress terming them as unconstitutional.
The significant effect of the increase in the number of federal crimes is that the prosecutor has more discretion. Consequently, the prosecutor has more ground to charge the defendant. It is noted that more and more defendants usually do not fight the charges facing them with the off chance that they might compromise themselves and face more charges in the process (Baker, 2004).
Federal crime laws are not as effective as they are pegged out to be. This is because they are complex, and their definition of crimes is blurred at best. One injustice that occurs in federal crime legislation is the fact that defendants are scared into submission by the prosecutors for fear that they might be included in another federal crime, in the process. One legislature that could help avert crime is one that provides for mandatory sentencing. Deprivation of freedom could help individuals steer clear of federal crimes.
Baker, John S.. Measuring the explosive growth of federal crime legislation. Washington, D.C.: Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, 2004. Print.