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Criminallawmidtermstudy - Criminal Law Mid-Term Study...

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Criminal Law Mid-Term Study American Criminal Law has 3 main sources: (1) Common law; and (2) Statutory law; and (3) Constitutional law. The most important of these three is statutory law the Model Penal Code. Punishments : Rehabilitation - Holds those offenders can be changed into non-offenders if given proper treatment. Deterrence - (1) Specific deterrence-theory posits that punishment of a criminal so that they can decide not to commit future crimes or (2) General deterrence- theory of punishment of a criminal so other persons, contemplating committing crimes, will decided not to do so Retribution - Argues that person who chose to do wrong, i.e., criminal acts deserve punishment, and that it should be imposed on them even if it serves no utilitarian purpose Incapacitation -punishing those who commit criminal acts have rejected social norms and have thereby demonstrated their willingness to continue to do so in the future, thus the good of those who abide by the law; these offenders must be prevented (incapacitated) from re-offending Denunciation -punishing the offender by putting them in the public eye to embarrass and humiliate them Actus Reus-the “voluntary act” element of a crime. The criminal law only punishes voluntary action; it does not punish inaction or mere thinking. Reasons: It is extremely difficult to tell what a person is thinking, let alone whether he will act on those thoughts by committing a crime. Without this limitation, perhaps most of us would be subject to the reach of the criminal law because we fantasize about committing a crime one time or another. Omissions and Legal Duty : The criminal law generally punishes an individual only for the affirmative harm he himself inflicts; it does not punish for failing to prevent harm caused by others or by natural forces. In limited cases, failure to act—usually called omission may be a crime if (D) had a legal duty to act (D must have been capable of doing the legally required act).
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Sometimes a statute requires someone to act, e.g., federal statute requiring people to file taxes called voluntary act. Common Law Crime requires either a voluntary physical act or an omission when there was a legal duty to act. Voluntary Act: is a movement of the human body that is, in some minimal sense, willed or directed by the actor, e.g., when a killer pulls out pistol and point it at, and shoots victim. It can also be the result of a habit or even an inadvertence as long as the individual could have behaved differently. Involuntary Act : are those over which the individual had no conscious control. These may include acts done while unconscious, sleepwalking, or acts resulting from physical causes such as an epileptic seizure. They may also include bodily movements caused by being stuck by another person or object.
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