Executive Vice President
Michael J. Reitz is executive vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, where he oversees execution of the Center's strategic plan. The Mackinac Center is an independent, nonprofit research and educational institute based in Midland, Michigan, with the mission of improving the quality of life for all Michigan citizens by promoting sound solutions to state and local policy questions.
Prior to joining the Mackinac Center in 2012, Reitz spent eight years with the Freedom Foundation in Washington state as its general counsel and director of labor policy. Reitz established the Freedom Foundation’s Theodore L. Stiles Center for Liberty, where he litigated for accurate elections, defended the First Amendment rights of individuals, fought against governmental abuses of power and wrote extensively on constitutional law. Reitz championed a number of reforms to modify public-sector collective bargaining and to protect workers from coercive union monopolies.
An advocate of accountable government, Reitz has worked actively to promote transparency in state and local government, serving on the board of the Michigan Coalition for Open Government, a nonprofit organization that educates citizens about their rights to access public records and attend public meetings. While in Washington state, Reitz led a research and litigation effort to expose the governor's secretive practice of withholding records under claims of executive privilege.
Reitz frequently comments on public policy issues and has been cited by The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Seattle Times and other publications. He is a co-author of "To Protect and Maintain Individual Rights," a reference guide to the Declaration of Rights in the Washington Constitution. Reitz received his law degree from Oak Brook College of Law and Government Policy. He is a member of the Washington bar and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
By Michael J. Reitz
Conviction of a crime traditionally required a combination of a wrongful act and criminal intent. But frequently the criminal code is used for regulatory purposes, and those laws often omit a requirement that the prosecution prove the existence of criminal intent for a conviction to occur. Consequently, individuals can be charged, convicted and imprisoned for committing crimes without possessing a culpable state of mind — often for behavior a reasonable person would not think of as criminal.
The policy brief proposes a reform that would clarify the element of intent in criminal statutes. If the Legislature enacts a criminal statute that is silent on intent, a default intent provision would be incorporated. Such a reform could make for a more orderly criminal justice system and protect the rights of individuals. … more