LAW 201 - Ch 1 FundamentalsPresentation Transcript
Scheb and Scheb, Criminal Law and Procedure 7 th edition Chapter 1: Fundamentals of Criminal Law and Procedure
What is a Crime?
A violation of the criminal law for which a party can be prosecuted and punished by the government.
Nullen crimen, nulla poena, sine lege . (“There can be no crime and no punishment without law.”)
What is Criminal Law?
Criminal law is the branch of the law that …
defines criminal conduct
specifies criminal punishments
regulates the investigation, prosecution and punishment of suspected criminals
Elements of a Crime
Under the traditional common-law definition of a crime there must be:
a wrongful act ( actus reus )
accompanied by criminal intent ( mens rea )
The criminal law requires a wrongful act because it is concerned with infliction of harm and not simply with someone’s evil thoughts.
The law normally requires criminal intent because we don’t normally punish people for accidents.
Crimes are Wrongs against Society
Our legal system regards crimes not merely as wrongs against particular victims but as offenses against the entire society.
There does not have to be an individual victim for there to be a crime.
Because crime is an injury against society, it is government, as society’s legal representative, that brings charges against persons accused of committing crimes.
Societal Interests Served by the Criminal Law
Protection of Persons against Violence
Protection of Property and Economic Interests
Maintenance of Standards of Decency
Public Health and the Natural Environment
Public Peace, Order, and Safety
Honest and Efficient Administration of Government and the Justice System
The criminal law rests on the idea that individuals are responsible for their actions and must be accountable for them.
This is the essential justification and rationale for imposing punishments on persons convicted of crimes.
Society recognizes that certain individuals lack the capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of their conduct.
Factors beyond individuals’ control may lead them to commit criminal acts. In such instances the law exempts individuals from responsibility.
Moreover, there are situations in which acts that would otherwise be crimes may be justified. The best example of this is committing a homicide in self-defense.
Parties to a Criminal Case
The principal parties in a criminal case are:
the prosecution (i.e., the government)
the defendant (i.e., the accused person)
The Role of the Crime Victim
Crime victims play a very limited role in the process of prosecution.
Even where a crime victim files a complaint with a law enforcement agency that leads to prosecution, once the prosecution begins, the victim’s participation is primarily that of being a witness.
Victims often complain that the system is insensitive to their interests.
Felonies and Misdemeanors
The law distinguishes between serious crimes, known as felonies, and less serious offenses, called misdemeanors.
The distinction between felonies and misdemeanors is that the former carry terms of incarceration for a year or more, whereas the latter usually are punishable by shorter terms of confinement.
Mala in se offenses
Mala Prohibita Offenses
Drug and alcohol offenses
Crimes Distinguished from Other Legal Wrongs
Torts—injuries inflicted on others intentionally or through negligence
Remediable through civil suits for damages
Regulatory offenses—noncriminal violations of government regulations
Sanction is typically payment of a fine
Origin of the Criminal Law
Primitive societies—no written law
Ancient legal codes
Code of Hammurabi
Ecclesiastical and scriptural authorities
English common law
Parliamentary enactments (statutes)
“ Crimes” in Primitive Societies
Wrongs against the tribe, such as blasphemy or betrayal, were met with group sanctions including ridicule and hostility, and, the tribe members thought, with the wrath of the gods.
Wrongs against individuals, such as murder, theft, adultery, or failure to repay a debt, were avenged by the family of the victim, often in actions against the family of the wrongdoer.
Revenge of this kind was based on tribal custom, which became a major component of early legal systems.
The Code of Ur-Nammu Sumer, 2100-2050 BC
“ If a man commits a murder, that man must be killed.”
“ If a man commits a robbery, he will be killed.”
“ If a man commits a kidnapping, he is to be imprisoned and pay 15 shekels of silver.”
“ If a man has cut off another man’s foot, he is to pay ten shekels.”
“ If a man knocks out a tooth of another man, he shall pay two shekels of silver.”
Code of Hammurabi Babylonia, 1700 BC
“ If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out.”
“ If a man knock out the teeth of his equal, his teeth shall be knocked out.”
The Lex Talionis in Mosaic law
23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,
24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
The most significant example of ancient law is Roman law, which influenced most of the legal systems of the world.
The Twelve Tables of Rome (5th century B.C.) and their successors, including the Justinian Code, led to legal codes that provide the main source of law in much of modern Europe, South America, and elsewhere.
Napoleonic Code of 1804
Law that is presumed to flow from man’s “natural” condition, that is the social condition existing prior to the emergence of government.
In De Republica , the ancient Roman orator Cicero (106-43 B.C.) defined natural law as “right reason in agreement with nature.”
In Summa Theologica , Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) viewed natural law as the “participation in the Eternal Law by rational creatures.”
The 17th century Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius defined natural law as rules of human conduct that can be discovered solely by the use of reason.
English Common Law
William the Conqueror (1066-87) strengthened the royal courts established by his Anglo-Saxon predecessors.
King Henry I (1100-35), dispatched royal judges to preside in county courts.
Henry II (1154-89) dispatched judges to travel throughout the kingdom, taking jurisdiction in cases formerly under the province of feudal and local courts.
The judges settled disputes based on the customs of the people and the well-established principles of feudal society.
Out of the decisions of these courts grew a law common to the entire kingdom, hence the term “common law.”
Civil and Criminal Law
Early on the common law developed a distinction between civil law and criminal law. The criminal law sought to punish people for offenses against the Crown; the civil law provided remedies for essentially private wrongs.
Criminal prosecutions were brought by the Crown in cases styled, for example, Rex v. Jones or Regina v. Smith
In criminal cases the sovereign was always the plaintiff, that is, the party initiating the legal action.
The accused offender was always the defendant, the party against whom legal action has been brought.
The Common-Law (Judicial) Felonies
Penalties for Common-Law Felonies
The Role of Parliament
Parliament came to play a significant role in the formation of the law by adopting statutes that revised and supplemented the common law.
Example: the offense of statutory rape originated in an act of Parliament in the 13 th century!
Reception of the Common Law in America
Common Law in Effect in the Colonies
American Revolution (1776)
Congress did not adopt the common law
Common Law Modified by State Legislation
Development of the Criminal Law
American criminal laws basically came from the English common law as it existed in 1776.
Of the fifty states in the Union, Louisiana is the only one whose legal system is not based on the common law. Rather, it is based on the Napoleonic Code of France.
The federal government did not adopt the common law of crimes. From the outset, statutes passed by Congress defined federal crimes.
Codification of the Criminal Law
Colorado Revised Statutes
Code of Iowa
Consolidated Laws of New York
South Dakota Codified Laws
Codification of the Criminal Law
United States Code
The codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the U.S.
It is divided by broad subjects into 50 titles.
Title 18 Crimes and Criminal Procedure
Tennessee’s criminal code was revised and modernized in 1989.
Title 39 of the Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.)
Offenses against the person
Offenses against property
Offenses against the family
Offenses against the administration of government
Offenses against the public health, safety and welfare
The Role of Courts in Developing the Criminal Law
“ It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases must, of necessity, expound and interpret that rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the Courts must decide on the operation of each.”
Chief Justice John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison (US Sup Ct, 1803)
The Role of Courts in Developing the Criminal Law
What did the legislature mean?
What does the Constitution mean?
In rendering interpretations of the law, courts follow precedent, in keeping with the common-law doctrine of stare decisis.
Substantive and Procedural Law
Substantive criminal law defines crimes and establishes penalties.
Procedural criminal law regulates the enforcement of the substantive law, the determination of guilt, and the punishment of those found guilty of crimes.
Separation of Powers
Constitutional Limitations on the Enactment and Enforcement of Criminal Laws
Rights of the Accused
Due Process of Law
Due Process of Law
The single most important legal concept in the realm of criminal procedure.
Arguably the most important concept in American law!
The Idea of Due Process is Deeply Rooted in English Common Law
“ No Freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any otherwise destroyed; nor will we pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful Judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land.”
Magna Carta (1215)
Due Process is Required by all Fifty State Constitutions
“… [N]o man shall be taken or imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, liberties or privileges, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner destroyed or deprived of his life, liberty or property, but by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land.”
Tennessee Constitution, Art. I, Sec. 8
Due Process Required by State Constitutions (cont.)
“ No member of this state shall be disfranchised, or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land … . ”
New York Constitution, Art. I, Sec. 1
Due Process Required by the Federal Constitution
“ No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law….”
U.S. Constitution, Amendment V
“… nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law….”
U.S. Constitution, Amendment XIV, Sec. 1
Procedural Due Process
Refers to procedural protections that apply to any government action that deprives an individual of life, liberty, or property.
In cases where an individual has claimed a violation of due process rights, the courts must determine whether a citizen is being deprived of "life, liberty, or property," and what procedural protections are "due" that individual.
Substantive Due Process
Under the concept of substantive due process , government is barred from enforcing policies that are irrational, unfair, unreasonable, or unjust, even if such policies do not run counter to other specific constitutional prohibitions.
It may be broadly defined as the constitutional guarantee that no person shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life, liberty or property.
The essence of substantive due process is protection from arbitrary and unreasonable action.
The Vagueness Doctrine
The law must “give a person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to know what is prohibited, so that he may act accordingly.”
“ A vague law impermissibly delegates basic policy matters to policemen, judges, and juries for resolution on an ad hoc and subjective basis, with the attendant dangers of arbitrary and discriminatory applications.”
Grayned v. City of Rockford (U.S. Supreme Court, 1972)
Essential Elements of Procedural Due Process
The opportunity to be heard
The opportunity to defend oneself in a fair and orderly proceeding
Classic Elements of Procedural Due Process in Criminal Cases
Protection from unwarranted prosecution
Protection against unlawful confinement
Presumption of innocence
Burden of proof rests with the prosecution
Reasonable doubt standard of proof
Standards of Criminal Justice and Judicial Federalism
Today, with few exceptions, policies of state and local governments are subject to judicial scrutiny under the same standards that the Bill of Rights imposes on the federal government.
Still, under our federal system, state courts may interpret their respective state constitutions as granting higher levels of protections to civil liberties than are granted by the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the federal courts.
The name of the case and the date of the decision
The essential facts of the case
The key issue(s) of law involved (or those applicable to a point of law being considered)
The holding of the court
A brief summary of the court’s opinion, especially as it relates to key issue(s) in the case
Summaries of concurring and dissenting opinions, if any
A statement commenting on the significance of the decision
The Criminal Process
Investigation / Search and Seizure
Arrest, Interrogation and Identification Procedures