SOC1500 - Crime and Criminal Justice Notes - SOC 1500 Crime...

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SOC 1500 – Crime and Criminal Justice CHAPTER 13 – PUBLIC ORDER CRIMES Public order crimes – Sometimes called victimless crimes, these acts interfere with public order, such as loitering for the purposes of prostitution. - They prohibit distribution of morally questionable things (erotic material, mood altering drugs), as well as banning acts that people holding political power deem immoral (abortion, prostitution, marijuana use, assisted suicide…) LAW AND MORALITY - Legislation of moral issues is a continual source of frustration - If there is no victim, can there be a crime? - Must consider whether there are actually victims in these crimes or not Some participant may have been forced into these acts e.g. porn industry… Conversely, when consenting behaviour between adults is criminalized, it sends the message out that repression is an acceptable way to enforce conformity. People often feel the state has no business in the “bedroom” Debating Morality - It is argued that porn, prostitution and drug use erode the moral fabric of society and should be punished by law because of a collective feeling of revulsion towards certain acts, even if they are not dangerous. - Some argue that basing criminal definitions on moral beliefs is an impossible task: Who defines morality? Are we not punishing differences rather than social harm? If morals are really the expression of the majority, does that mean they should be the basis for regulating the conduct of all? [Utilitarianism Jeremy Bentham] - “What may be trash to some may be prized by others” – William O. Douglas [Supreme court Justice] - Legislating morality creates a social divide, as those who abstain are viewed as morally good, and those who participate are viewed as deviant. (Gusfield) Criminal or Immoral? - Acts that we view as immoral are not necessarily criminal. e.g. Sloth, pride, lust… [vices] - Violations of conventional morality may be tolerated because it could be useful for social functions. Porn could relieve tension/stress
- More people die from alcohol, tobacco, and auto related deaths than all drug related deaths combined. - When people were survey whether they were in favour of or opposed to legal euthanasia, 49% voted yes, 37% no, and the rest undecided. Vigilante Justice Vigilante – Someone who takes the law into their own hands, who acts outside the law in the interest of justice. (batman) Moral crusades – Efforts by interest groups to stamp out behaviour they find objectionable; typically directed at public order crimes, such as drugs or porno. Moral Entrepreneurs – Interests groups that attempt to control social life and the legal order in order to promote their own personal set of moral values. - Many Vancouver stores selling marijuana paraphernalia have been raided and seized under section 462.2 of the criminal code. Many brand these authorities as reactionary and spend too much time on petty issues. However if they ignore these public order crimes they are accused of being soft on morality Illegal Sexuality

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