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There are numerous constitutional limitations that affect criminal laws. On of such limitations is the ex post facto clause. A ex post factor clause is a legal provision that limits the congress from passing an ex post factor law within the American constitution (Gardner & Anderson, 2009). This clause restricts the passage of criminal laws in a number of ways. It limits the establishment of any criminal laws that is retroactive, as well as any criminal laws that worsens a criminal act (Rodgers, 2011). This clause also prohibits criminal laws that are aimed at increasing punishment of criminals in a retroactive manner. This clause is also tailored to prohibit the passing of laws that may change rules used in evaluating evidence in criminal courts.

The use of ex post facto clause is in line with the aim of the public to reduce the number of laws that are retroactive. The public believes that ex post facto laws affect the rights of the individuals thus a justification towards prohibiting their enactment (Emanuel, 2008). In addition, the public concern over the sentence given to criminal is another reason that has contributed to the prohibiting of laws that are retroactive and classified as ex post facto laws. The public is also focused in reducing the ex post facto laws, which allows legislation to apply to crime conducted before the time of their passage (Lippmann, 2011).

The application of the ex post facto clause has both positive and negative outcomes. When the prohibition of ex post facto is done, benefits can be realized through the lack of retroactive judgments that are likely to negatively impact those accused of criminal caes. On the other hand, enforcing prohibition of ex post facto laws can give the accused a upper hand during trial. In addition, the role of congress in shaping criminal laws based on new trends of crime can be hindered because of the influence of the clause that prevents the passage of ex post facto (Emanuel, 2008).

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