Chapter OneIntroduction to Criminal Law
Definition of a Crime• An act committed in violation of a law  prohibiting it• An act omitted in violation of a law orderi...
Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure• Criminal law: as a topic, covers crimes and  defenses to crimes• Criminal procedure: ...
Comparing Civil and Criminal Law• Civil law has to do with the private rights of  individuals/businesses• When individuals...
Criminal Prosecution• The government prosecutes a wrongdoer to  protect the public, rather than an individual  suing anoth...
Characteristics of Civil Litigation• The individual/business suing is called the  plaintiff• The individual/business being...
In a Civil Litigation Matter:• If the plaintiff and defendant want legal  representation, they will be represented by  pri...
Damages:• Compensatory: compensate for the injury• Costs: compensate for the costs of suing,  including attorney’s fees• P...
Harm Requirement:• Because the goal of civil litigation is to  compensate for harm, the plaintiff must be  able to prove h...
Because Compensation is the Goal:• Fault is not necessarily a requirement• Sometimes, a defendant will be liable in civil ...
Characteristics of Criminal Prosecution• The government prosecutes, rather than an  individual plaintiff• In a state crime...
The Wrongdoer in a Criminal              Prosecution:• Is called the defendant, just like civil litigation• The defendant ...
Because the Government is            Prosecuting. . .• The Constitution governs the proceedings• This means the defendant ...
The goal of a Criminal Prosecution:• Punishment• No need for a victim or harm
Comparison of Civil and Criminal:Civil:                           Criminal• Parties are called plaintiff   • Parties are s...
Classification of Crimes• Felony: most serious, and all range of sentencing  options available, incarceration is in prison...
Purposes of Punishment• Deterrence: scares people into obeying the  law. General-the public is deterred. Specific:  the de...
Sources of Law• The places where law comes from• Constitution, statutes, cases
Constitution• Highest source of law• Only applies to government action. Intended  to regulate the government to protect th...
Statutes• Enacted by the federal legislature (Congress)  or state legislature• Statutes apply to individuals/businesses• I...
Case Law• Created by judges• Generally an appeal, rather than a trial• Based on English common-law principles• Case law in...
Case Briefing:• Highlights the most important aspects of a  judicial opinion• Review the Keeler case brief in chapter one ...
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Chapter 1

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Chapter 1

  1. 1. Chapter OneIntroduction to Criminal Law
  2. 2. Definition of a Crime• An act committed in violation of a law prohibiting it• An act omitted in violation of a law ordering it• The government must enact the criminal law before it can punish an individual• Criminal laws vary greatly from state to state
  3. 3. Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure• Criminal law: as a topic, covers crimes and defenses to crimes• Criminal procedure: as a topic, covers individual’s rights during the criminal process, such as investigation, arrest, and prosecution
  4. 4. Comparing Civil and Criminal Law• Civil law has to do with the private rights of individuals/businesses• When individuals have a dispute with other individuals, this dispute can be resolved with a civil lawsuit, also called civil litigation• When the civil litigation involves an injury, the injury action is called a tort
  5. 5. Criminal Prosecution• The government prosecutes a wrongdoer to protect the public, rather than an individual suing another individual/business• One set of facts could give rise to a civil litigation matter and a criminal prosecution without violating the principle against double jeopardy (example: O.J. Simpson case)
  6. 6. Characteristics of Civil Litigation• The individual/business suing is called the plaintiff• The individual/business being sued is called the defendant• The goal is compensation for an injury• Compensation awarded by the court is called damages
  7. 7. In a Civil Litigation Matter:• If the plaintiff and defendant want legal representation, they will be represented by private attorneys• There is no right to a free attorney, so the defendant must pay for a private attorney even if he/she did nothing wrong• If the defendant cannot afford a private attorney in civil litigation, the defendant must represent himself/herself
  8. 8. Damages:• Compensatory: compensate for the injury• Costs: compensate for the costs of suing, including attorney’s fees• Punitive: punish the defendant
  9. 9. Harm Requirement:• Because the goal of civil litigation is to compensate for harm, the plaintiff must be able to prove harm/bad result• Without harm, or a victim, the lawsuit will be dismissed
  10. 10. Because Compensation is the Goal:• Fault is not necessarily a requirement• Sometimes, a defendant will be liable in civil litigation if not at fault• Strict liability: a tort without a “bad intent” requirement• Respondeat Superior: the employer may be liable for an injury caused by an employee based on ability to pay-even if not at fault
  11. 11. Characteristics of Criminal Prosecution• The government prosecutes, rather than an individual plaintiff• In a state crime, the government is sometimes referred to as “The People” (of the state of. . .)• In a federal crime, the government is the USA• The state government is represented by a prosecutor, often called a District Attorney• The federal government is represented by a prosecutor called the United States Attorney
  12. 12. The Wrongdoer in a Criminal Prosecution:• Is called the defendant, just like civil litigation• The defendant can be an individual or business
  13. 13. Because the Government is Prosecuting. . .• The Constitution governs the proceedings• This means the defendant gets special protections• Freedom from double jeopardy, self- incrimination, and the right to counsel• The defendant will get a free attorney (called a public defender) if facing incarceration and unable to afford attorney’s fees
  14. 14. The goal of a Criminal Prosecution:• Punishment• No need for a victim or harm
  15. 15. Comparison of Civil and Criminal:Civil: Criminal• Parties are called plaintiff • Parties are state/federal and defendant government and defendant• Plaintiff and defendant • Defendant may get a free must pay for private attorney if he/she can’t attorneys afford one and facing• Goal is compensation for incarceration injury• No constitutional • Goal is punishment protections • Constitutional protections• Harm is a requirement • Victim/harm not required
  16. 16. Classification of Crimes• Felony: most serious, and all range of sentencing options available, incarceration is in prison• Felony-misdemeanor: can be prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances• Misdemeanor: less serious, jail rather than prison• Infraction: least serious; traffic ticket-fine or alternative sentencing
  17. 17. Purposes of Punishment• Deterrence: scares people into obeying the law. General-the public is deterred. Specific: the defendant is deterred.• Incapacitation: removes the offender from society• Rehabilitation: reforms the offender• Retribution: gives the public satisfaction• Restitution: compensates the victim/government for harm financially
  18. 18. Sources of Law• The places where law comes from• Constitution, statutes, cases
  19. 19. Constitution• Highest source of law• Only applies to government action. Intended to regulate the government to protect the private rights of individuals• Individuals are protected by the Constitution, but do not have to abide by it• One federal Constitution, and every state has a state constitution
  20. 20. Statutes• Enacted by the federal legislature (Congress) or state legislature• Statutes apply to individuals/businesses• Includes ordinances, which are enacted by a city or county• Cannot conflict with or attempt to supersede the Constitution
  21. 21. Case Law• Created by judges• Generally an appeal, rather than a trial• Based on English common-law principles• Case law interprets statutes and the Constitution so is very powerful, although technically inferior to statutory law• Judicial review: a case can invalidate a statute if it is unconstitutional
  22. 22. Case Briefing:• Highlights the most important aspects of a judicial opinion• Review the Keeler case brief in chapter one for a brief format

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