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  • 1. Criminal Law Notes
  • 2. I. 2 Main Forms of Law
    A. Civil Law--governs relationship between individuals or corporations in a society
    1. malpractice suits, ownership
    disputes, breach of contract, etc.
    2. The plaintiff usually seeks
    monetary damages
  • 3. B.  Criminal Law
    1. Felony—serious criminal offense, may be
    punishable with prison for a year or more or
    by death
    a. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th degree
    b. Degrees of Murder
    i. 1st--premeditated (some degree of
    planning), and deliberated (done on
    purpose)
    ii. 2nd--only malice aforethought (intent
    to inflict serious bodily harm, or to act with
    wanton disregard for consequences
    of actions).
  • 4. iii. Voluntary Manslaughter--
    homicide without malice (maybe
    during a sudden quarrel)
    iv. Involuntary Manslaughter-- Killings that result from negligence-- didn't mean to, but should have known
    better. (Mainly motor vehicle deaths.)
  • 5. 2. Misdemeanor--any crime that is not a felony.
    Less serious.
    a. Gross misdemeanor--punishable
    by incarceration, usually in a local
    jail, for 30 days to 1 year.
    b. Petty misdemeanor—minor offense,
    less than 30 days in jail
    c. Violation--ticketable offense, doesn't
    go on criminal record.
  • 6. II. Sources of Criminal Law
    A. Constitutional law
    1. Supreme law of the land
    B. Statutory law
    1. Enacted by legislative bodies
    2. Can be overturned by (A)
    C. Administrative Law
    1. rules and regulations from government agencies.
    a. price-fixing, health code violations, EPA violations…
    D. Case Law
    1. law made by court decisions based on their
    interpretations of the other laws
  • 7. III. Final Note:
    Laws are subject to interpretation and may be
    modified as social norms change.
    a. You probably noticed in Helter Skelter
    that homosexual acts were considered
    criminal. The US Supreme Court struck
    down remaining “anti-sodomy” laws in
    2003. Such laws had already been
    repealed in 37 states.