Criminal Law

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  • 1. Criminal Law Admj. P102 Chapter 4 Bill Henry
  • 2. Development of Law
    • The development of criminal was
    • Not systematic-but episodic (incidental)‏
    • Uneven (not equitable)‏
    • Very political
    • Legal systems were built from bits and pieces of earlier systems
    • Our system is a mixture of several systems
  • 3. Code of Hammurabi
    • Oldest set of known laws
    • Victim oriented, based on philosophy of eye-for-an-eye
    • Contained death penalty
    • Found in the old testament
  • 4. Magna Carta
    • Document signed by King John
    • Conceded a number of rights to English citizens
    • Included fair taxation, freedom of the church, control over imprisonment
    • First attempt at a “Bill of Rights”
    • Had 61 clauses that included the power of Kings and citizen protections
  • 5. Common Law
    • Common law is different from statutory law
    • Based on judicial precedent, customs and past practice
    • Largely unwritten
    • Is the basis of “stare decisis”
    • Based on concept of four elements
    • Predictability, reliability, efficiency, equality
  • 6. Sources of Law
    • There are a variety of sources for law
    • Constitutions, federal and state
    • Written statutes, federal and state
    • Administrative Codes; rules developed by agencies consistent with their responsibilities
  • 7. Types of Law
    • Law performs many different functions in society
    • Determines what is and isn’t acceptable behavior
    • Serves to control society
    • Regulates social conflict
    • Controls government
    • Determines punishment
  • 8. Criminal Law
    • Criminal law is used to control the behavior of society. There are three criteria used to determine what behavior is criminal:
    • Enforceability (prohibition)‏
    • Effects (result is worse than cause)‏
    • Existence of other means of protecting society (rehab, medical and psychological treatment)‏
  • 9. Civil Law
    • Referred to as ‘private law’
    • Involves action between two people, an individual and government, contracts, personal property and commercial issues
    • Aggrieved party is the individual (criminal law, aggrieved party is the state)‏
    • Double jeopardy does not apply to civil law
  • 10. Civil Law
    • Civil vs. Criminal
    • verdicts are majority, not unanimous
    • preponderance of evidence (weight, importance, influence) vs. beyond a reasonable doubt
    • civil ‘torts’ deal with individual harms i.e.. libel, slander, assault, negligence
  • 11. Substantive Law
    • defines law and its punishments
    • results from generations of political and social development
    • covers mala en se and mala prohibita
    • mala en se are thought to be natural laws inherently wrong in human nature
    • mala prohibita laws are prohibited by statute
  • 12. Procedural law
    • Procedural law specifies how the justice system deals with individuals that violate law
    • rules of search and seizure
    • rules regarding attorneys
    • rules of courtroom procedure, booking procedure
    • rules of evidence
  • 13. Case Law
    • Case law results from judicial decisions and requires judges to consider previous decisions in similar cases.
    • case law keeps the system consistent
    • evolves as new decisions are applied to new circumstances
  • 14. Crime
    • Crime is categorized by sanction attached, not received
    • felonies-most serious crimes, incarceration for more than a year, state or federal prison
    • misdemeanors-incarceration is less than a year county or local jail
    • infractions-fine only-no incarceration
    • inchoate-offenses not completed
  • 15. Features of Crime
    • For an act to be a crime, three elements or features must be present
    • actus reas: guilty act or deed
    • mens rea: guilty mind or intent
    • concurrence: relationship of mens rea, actus reas
    • Together, all three or referred to as the corpus delicti or ‘body of crime’
  • 16. Features of Crime
    • Strict liability crimes are the exception to the mens rea or intent requirement. the fact that the act occurred is sufficient for conviction. Criminal intent is not required
  • 17. Criminal Responsibility and Criminal Defense
    • Burden of proof is on the prosecution
    • Defendant must have the capacity to commit crime
    • Defendant must understand the ramifications of their actions
    • If an affirmative defense tactic is used, burden of proof shifts to defendant
    • In an Affirmative defense, defendant admits act but justifies action
  • 18. Terms to Know
    • Affirmative defense
    • Strict liability crime
    • Actus Reas, Mens rea
    • categories of crime
    • criminal, civil, substantive, procedural and case law
    • sources of law
    • issues that guide precedent
    • stare decisis
    • code of Hammurabi