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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Prosecuting the Undead: Federal Criminal Law in a World of Zombies

Following up on yesterday’s post about the value of online law review supplements, I am pleased to announce that Discourse, the online supplement for the UCLA Law Review, has published my essay, Prosecuting the Undead: Federal Criminal Law in a World of Zombies.  The essay can be downloaded from the UCLA Law Review website here or from my SSRN page here.  Here is the abstract:

Adam Chodorow’s recent essay, Death and Taxes and Zombies, has alerted the legal world to the dangers posed by the looming zombie apocalypse. Chodorow successfully demonstrates that existing tax laws are woefully inadequate in a world where the undead outnumber the taxpaying living. In this Essay, I argue that while tax law may be ill suited to address the zombie apocalypse, federal criminal law offers an alternative approach to solving the problems that Chodorow identifies. In fact, the only plausible explanation for the existence of seemingly pointless features of federal criminal law is that these features are precautions for this imminent disaster. The extensive scope of the federal criminal law, its frequent use of low or nonexistent mens rea requirements, and federal laws concerning mandatory victim restitution create a legal structure that can effectively transfer resources from the undead to the living. Until the zombies arrive, these features will remain largely ineffective.

This satire on the scope of federal criminal law is only one of many areas of law where I think the use of zombies is informative.  Do not be surprised if you see more future blog posts (or if I’m lucky, publications) on other areas of zombie law.

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