80 Denv. U. L. Rev. 241 (2002-2003)
Addressing Vagueness, Ambiguity, and Other Uncertainty in American Criminal Laws

handle is hein.journals/denlr80 and id is 264 raw text is: ADDRESSING VAGUENESS, AMBIGUITY, AND OTHER
UNCERTAINTY IN AMERICAN CRIMINAL LAWS
JOHN F. DECKERt
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION  ..........................................  242
I.  THE PRINCIPAL OF LEGALITY ............................. 244
A.  The Fair Notice Requirement ...................... 248
B. The Ascertainable Standard of Guilt Requirement ..... 253
U. AMBIGUITY AND VAGUENESS DICHOTOMY ................. 260
III. OVERBREADTH AND VAGUENESS DICHOTOMY .............. 265
A. First Amendment (or Facial) Overbreadth .............. 266
B.  Facial Vagueness .................................. 275
C.  Vagueness As Applied  .............................. 280
IV. APPROACHES DESIGNED TO PROVIDE NOTICE AND
ENFORCEMENT STANDARDS .............................. 284
A. Listing Prohibited Items and Conduct ................. 284
B.  Inclusion of Mens Rea .............................  286
V. SOURCES OF NOTICE AND ENFORCEMENT STANDARDS ........ 291
A.  Common Usage of Terms  .......................... 293
B. Common Understanding Within a Discrete Group ....... 298
C.  Dictionary Definitions .............................  300
D.  Common  Law  ....................................  303
E.  Obvious Policy Considerations ...................... 306
F.  Legislative Intent ..................................  310
G.  Prior Judicial Decisions ............................. 314
H. Definitions in Other Statutes Within the Jurisdiction ..... 316
L  Definitions From Other Jurisdictions ................. 320
J.  Treatises  ........................................  325
K.  Literature/Periodicals .............................. 327
VI. OTHER RULES OF THUMB ................................ 331
A. Malum Prohibitum/Malum in Se? .................... 331
B.  Constitutional Rights Involved? ...................... 334
t  Professor of Law, DePaul University College of Law. The author wishes to acknowledge
the excellent research assistance of DePaul law students Virginia B. Fuller and Rebecca C. Gee,
Class of 2002.

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