Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



This Recent Development advocates legislative adoption of a new Misapplication Statute as a long range solution to the courts'continued debate over the appropriate mens rea standard and judicial adoption of a uniform approach as a short run alternative. Part II of this Recent Development traces the various mens rea standards that courts have applied under the Misapplication Statute. Part III discusses the current confusion over the appropriate section 656 mens rea standard by looking at three recent circuit court decisions.' Part IV advocates the adoption of a new Misapplication Statute similar to the approach that the National Com-mission on Reform of Criminal Laws suggests in its proposed revisions to Title 18. This approach delineates three categories of offenses, each corresponding to a different level of culpability and punishment. Part IV also suggests that until Congress drafts a new Misapplication Statute, the courts should establish a uniform standard for section 656 mens rea that restricts prosecution only to defendants who possess the traditional mens rea of knowledge.