Chapter

The <i>De Minimis</i> ‘Defense’ to Criminal Liability*

Douglas Husak

in The Philosophy of Criminal Law

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199585038
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723476 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199585038.003.0015
 							The De Minimis ‘Defense’ to Criminal Liability*

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This chapter examines the de minimis plea: the allegation that the wrongfulness of the defendant's criminal conduct is too trivial to justify the imposition of penal liability and punishment. It argues that a critical examination of this neglected defence sheds important light on several of the most central topics in criminal theory: criminalization, the rule of law and the parameters of discretion, the relationship between morality and law, the structure of wrongdoing, the contrast between offenses and defences, the concepts of justification and excuse, and even the nature of retributive justice itself.

Keywords: de minimis; justification; excuse; morality; wrongdoing; culpability; liability; punishment

Chapter.  16090 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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