II. LEGISLATIVE SUPPORT FOR STRICT LIABILITY
Part II takes a closer look at variations among the twenty-four MPC states in their legislative commitment to the correspondence principle. It does so by highlighting several statutory departures from the MPC version of mens rea presumptions. (121) Although many states revised the MPC's language when adopting provisions for their own codes, only a few states adopted the MPC's culpability provisions nearly verbatim. (122) Many states' language modifications are not substantive. I categorize twelve of the twenty-four as strong MPC states because their codes include substantive equivalents to the MPC's presumption of mens rea when a crime definition lacks an explicit mental-state term and the presumption that express terms apply to all offense elements. The other half of MPC states either lack a statute codifying one of these presumptions or (in two cases, Arizona and Colorado) notably weaken the mens rea inference in the absence of an explicit requirement. In what follows, I identify and distinguish some of the most common and substantial alternatives or omissions regarding mens rea presumptions. I then highlight state codes that explicitly expand applications of strict liability in specific statutes, so as to trump any general presumption of a culpability requirement.
A. State Revisions to the MPC Culpability Presumptions
The most notable means by which MPC states weaken mens rea requirements in comparison to the MPC is by failing to adopt one of the two presumptions for culpability requirements. Holding aside the twelve strongest states, which do include both provisions, (123) two others (Arizona and Colorado) codify both presumptions but explicitly weaken the presumption of mens rea when an offense includes no express culpability term. (124) The remaining ten states lack any version of one of the two MPC presumptions. Five of the remaining states include only the presumption to imply mens rea when no such term is included in an offense; they do not have any equivalent to MPC [section] 2.02(4)'s presumption that an express mens rea term applies to all elements of the offense unless a statute clearly specifies otherwise. (125) Four states do the opposite: they include a presumption that express terms apply to all elements but fail to dictate a presumption of mens rea when no mens rea term is present. (126) Finally, Kentucky stands alone among the twenty-four, arguably such that it should not be counted as an MPC state: it lacks any presumption about the reach of express mens rea terms and includes only a weak presumption for mens rea when no term is apparent. (127) These groups are summarized in Table 2.
The language by which some states weaken the implication of mens rea bears note. Arizona, Colorado, and Kentucky all employ the same alternative provision that explicitly preserves the legitimacy of strict-liability offenses. Colorado's substitute for MPC [section] 2.02(3) reads:
Although no culpable mental state is expressly designated[,] ... a culpable mental state may nevertheless be required ... with respect to some or all of the material elements ..., if the proscribed conduct necessarily involves such a culpable mental state. (128)
Several other states employ effectively the same language but then also strengthen the presumption for mens rea by specifying that legislative intent for strict liability must be clear or plain. Alabama's version is representative. Following language similar to Colorado's, it adds: "A statute defining a crime, unless clearly indicating a legislative intent to impose strict liability, states a crime of mental culpability." (129) I coded these states with these provisions as adopting a strong presumption to imply mens rea, but this alternative language seems to be open to more ambiguity than the MPC: courts might view strict liability as not "clearly indicated" in a given …