Victimless Crimes: Two Sides of a Controversy

Victimless Crimes: Two Sides of a Controversy

Victimless Crimes: Two Sides of a Controversy

Victimless Crimes: Two Sides of a Controversy

Excerpt

The idea of doing this book first arose when one of us (Bedau) sent the other a paper critically analyzing the concept of victimless crime—which he had originally prepared for presentation at a conference in Israel.Particularly since the recipient (Schur) already had in mind the desirability of up-dating and stating in more general form the argument he had earlier advanced in Crimes Without Victims (1965), we thought that several purposes might be served by putting together a short volume reflecting our quite different perspectives on this topic.

For both scholars and the general public, questions relating to the scope and limits of the substantive criminal law have occasioned much controversy. Recently, in the face of an apparent trend toward decriminalization, discussion of these issues has taken on a new urgency. As various statutory proscriptions increasingly come to be scrutinized—in moral, legal, and sociological terms—it is vitally important that all relevant arguments, evidence, and interpretations should be fully aired. We make no attempt in this short book to provide encyclopedic coverage of this entire area—as the wealth of recent literature shows, the subject is now beyond the scope of any one volume to treat in thorough detail—rather, we present an overview of the debate as seen from (our particular versions of) a philosophical and a sociological perspective. Each of us has found a considerable challenge in the outlook of the other, and we believe the result is an unusual cross-disciplinary focus on a . . .

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