2. What two elements must exist before a person
can be held liable for a crime? Can a
corporation commit crimes?
What are five broad categories of crimes?
What is white-collar crime?
What defenses might be raised by criminal
defendants to avoid liability for criminal acts?
What constitutional safeguards exist to protect
persons accused of crimes? What are the
basic steps in the criminal process?
What is a cyber crime? What laws apply to
crimes committed in cyberspace?
3. Civil Law Criminal Law
Preponderance of Beyond a
the evidence reasonable doubt
Remedy is Punishment is
Injured party State represents
represents herself the victim
4. A person’s wrongful act may hold him liable (or
guilty) in civil actions (tort) and criminal actions.
Classification of Crimes:
Felony: serious crimes punished by death or
imprisonment for at least 1 year.
Misdemeanor: punished by fine or confinement for
less than 1 year.
5. Classification of Crimes
Crimes are classified as felonies or misde-meanors.
Felonies are punishable by death or by imprisonment in a
federal or state penitentiary for more than a year. Felonies
can be sub-divided by type of punishment—capital offenses
(punishable by death)
First degree felonies (punishable by life impris-onment), and
Misdemeanors are crimes punishable by a fine or by
confinement for up to a year in a local jail.
Some states classify misdemeanors according to lengths of
Petty offenses are a subset of misdemeanors. A party guilty
of a petty offense may be put in jail for a few days or fined,
6. To be convicted of a crime, the State must
show beyond a reasonable doubt that the
Performed an illegal act (actus reus) AND
While performing the act, had the required intent or
specific state of mind (mens rea).
Without the required intent there can be no
Crime requires (1) performance of a proh. act
and (2) a specified state of mind. All criminal
statutes prohibit certain behavior.
7. A. CRIMINAL ACT
Most crimes require an act of commis-sion—an actus
reus, or guilty act. Some acts of omission are crimes.
Attempting certain acts (murder, for example, or robbery)
may also be crimes, if substantial steps toward a criminal
objective are taken.
B. CRIMINAL INTENT
What constitutes a wrongful mental state—mens rea—
varies according to the act. For murder, the act is the taking
of a life, and the mental state is the intent to take life. For
theft, the act is the taking of another person’s property, and
the mental state involves both the knowledge that the
property is another’s and the intent to deprive the owner of
8. A corporation may be held liable for crimes
committed by its agents or employees within
the course and scope of their employment.
Obviously, corporations cannot be imprisoned,
but they can be fined or denied certain legal
privileges. Corporate directors and officers are
personally liable for the crimes they commit,
and may be liable for the actions of employees
under their supervision under the ―responsible
corporate officer‖ doctrine.
9. A corporation is a legal ―person.‖
A corporation can be fined or denied legal
privileges (license) for criminal activity.
―Responsible Corporate Officer‖ Doctrine:
officers and directors can be criminally liable.
10. Assume that Ace committed a crime by giving
politicians comps. Can the casino, Tangiers
Corporation, be held liable for that crime? Why
or why not? How could a court punish the
The Tangiers Corporation could probably be held
liable for Ace’s crimes. Corporations normally are
liable for the crimes committed by their agents and
employees within the course and scope of their
employment. The corporation obviously cannot be
imprisoned, but it could be fined or denied certain
11. What two elements must exist before a person
can be held liable for a crime? Can a
cor-poration commit crimes?
Two elements must exist simultaneously for a
person to be convicted of a crime:
(1) the performance of a prohibited act and
(2) a specified state of mind or intent on the part of
A corporation may be held liable for crimes that
their agents and employees commit within the
course and scope of their employment.
12. Violent Crimes.
Crimes against persons (murder, rape).
Robbery is a violent crime.
Property Crimes - Most common, involves
money or property:
Receiving Stolen Goods.
13. White Collar Crimes: non-violent crimes
involving a business transaction:
Mail and Wire Fraud.
Theft of Trade Secrets.
Organized Crime – RICO and Money
14. Infancy (juvenile). Duress.
Intoxication. Justifiable Use of
Consent. Statute of
15. What are five broad categories of crimes? What
is white-collar crime?
Violent crime (crimes against persons)
Public order crime
White-collar crime is an illegal act or series of acts
committed by an individual or business entity using
some nonviolent means, usually in the course of a
16. Fourth Amendment.
Officer must have Probable Cause.
Exceptions to Warrant.
Search and Seizure in Businesses.
Warrant required in some cases.
No warrant required for contaminated food or highly
regulated liquor or gun businesses.
17. Sixth and Eighth Amendments.
Right to Speedy Trial.
Right to Jury Trial.
Right to Public Trial.
Right to Confront Witnesses.
Right to Counsel.
Prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
CASE 6.1 Fellers v. United States (2004).
18. Evidence obtained in violation of constitutional
procedures must be excluded.
Evidence derived from illegal evidence is ―fruit
of the poisonous tree.‖
Deters police from misconduct.
CASE 6.2 People v. McFarlan (2002).
Inform suspect of his rights.
Exceptions: coercion, illegally obtained evidence.
19. Initial Prelim
Trial Arraign- Charges
US v. Yates
20. What defenses might be raised by criminal
defendants to avoid liability for criminal
Among the most defenses to criminal liability
infancy, intoxication, insanity, mistake, con-sent
, duress, justifiable use of
force, entrapment, the statute of
limitations, and immunity.
21. In most criminal cases, defendants plead guilty.
Usually, this is after the prosecutor promises that
concessions will be granted (or at least sought).
Sometimes a defendant agrees to plead guilty to a
charge less serious than the evidence supports
because the consequences are not as undesirable.
A lesser penalty will result, for example.
In other cases, a defendant pleads guilty to the
original charge in exchange for the prosecutor’s
promise to seek leniency, or at least not to oppose
the defendant’s request for leniency, or to drop
Downfall - undeserved leniency and innocent
persons plead guilty due to cost of
22. Cyber crimes involve the use of computers in
cyberspace to injure a person or property.
Most cyber crimes are based on existing common
law crimes, with exceptions:
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act helps prosecute
23. A. CYBER THEFT
Cyber theft is accessing a computer online,
without authority, to obtain classified, restricted, or
protected data, or attempting to do so. This
includes financial crimes, such as transferring
funds via computer without authorization, and
identity theft, which occurs when a form of
identification is stolen and used illegitimately.
Cyberstalking—harassing a person in cyberspace
(via e-mail, for example)—is prohibited by all
states. Some states require a physical act.
24. C. HACKING AND CYBERTERRORISM
Hacking consists of using one computer to break into
another. Cyberterrorism is exploiting com-puters for serious
impacts, such as the exploding of an internal data ―bomb‖ to
shut down a central computer or spreading a virus to cripple
a computer network.
D. PROSECUTING CYBER CRIMES
Jurisdictional issues and the anonymous nature of
technology can hamper investigation and prosecution of
cyber crimes. Cyber theft is prohibited by the federal
National Information Infrastructure Protection Act of 1996
(an amendment to the Counterfeit Access Device and
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984). The crime consists
of (1) accessing a computer without authority and (2) taking
data. Penalties include fines and imprisonment for up to
twenty years (and civil suits). The text also notes other
federal statutes that may apply.
25. What is cyber crime? What laws apply to
crimes committed in cyberspace?
Cyber crime consists of crimes committed in
cyberspace with the use of computers. This
category does not represent new crimes but new
ways to commit crimes. Traditional (existing) laws
apply to crimes committed in cyberspace.
Newer laws include the Counterfeit Access Device
and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984 (also
known as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or
CFAA), as amended by the National Information
Infrastructure Protection Act of 1996; the Electronic
Fund Transfer Act of 1978; the Anti-counterfeiting
Consumer Protection Act of 1996; and the National
Stolen Property Act of 1988.
26. Criminal liability is not imposed for merely thinking
about a crime (if it was, we might all be guilty of
An accused’s mental state is determined by
examining what happens after it happens—in other
words, the law uses hindsight to discern intent,
which may be evident from an individual’s stated
purpose, his or her knowledge, or his or her acting
in spite of certain knowledge or in spite of
something that he or she should have known
There are some crimes for which an individual will
be held strictly liable (selling liquor to a minor, for
27. The objectives of criminal law are:
(1) to protect persons and property
(2) to deter criminal behavior
(3) to punish criminal conduct and
(4) to rehabilitate criminals.
28. Is punishment is more important than
What are appropriate punishments? What
is an appropriate standard for determining
that a criminal has been rehabilitated? How
should that standard be met—that is, how
should a criminal be rehabilitated (if
education is the means, for example,
should prisons become trade schools and
29. Law is not so frozen that there is no room for
disagreement. Attorneys, and even judges,
often disagree with each other over the
interpretation and application of the law
Does the Fourth Amendment prevent the
seizure, without cause, of email messages?
Does the propagator of a virus violate
traditional criminal laws?