CRIMINAL LAW - Introduction


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Unformatted text preview: CRIMINAL LAW DEFINITIONS OF LAW 1. Black's Law Dictionary Law - "That which is laid down, ordained, or established. ... That which must be obeyed and followed by citizens, subject to sanctions or legal consequences is a `law.'" 2. American Heritage Dictionary Law - "1. A rule established by authority, society, or custom. 2. a. The body of rules governing the affairs of man within a community or among states; social order... 3. A set of rules or customs governing a discrete field or activity: the law of contracts, criminal law. ... 9. Capital L - A code of behavior of divine origin. (e.g., Islamic Law) 10.a. Principles of conduct conceived to be of natural origin: the laws of decency. ...(scientific laws, etc.) 3. Intro. To Law, p. 32 - "Laws - Rules of conduct promulgated and enforced by the government that define the types of conduct that are either prohibited or required." CRIMINAL LAW VS. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE Criminal law - the law which 1) declares what is criminal behavior and 2) prescribes the punishment to be imposed for such conduct Includes both general principles governing all crimes and defines specific crimes Criminal Procedure - dictates the process or methods used to implement criminal law from investigation and arrest through completion of punishment; specified legal steps through which a criminal case (proceeding) passes from initial investigation of a crime through termination of punishment Criminal Law, Lafave & Scott DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS of CRIMINAL LAW view that crime harms both the victim and society as a whole public wrong concept 1) Means for government exerting control 2) Means to avoid cycle of personal revenge/vigilante action moral condemnation of criminal act generally, more severe &/or physical punishment punishment carried out/fines received by government traditionally Purpose of Criminal Law Prevent harm to society - define what behavior is prohibited (criminal) - prevent wrongdoing by criminals - prevent private vengeance Punish wrongdoers - grade crimes - fix punishment of crimes - punishment based on idea of culpability (morally at fault, blameworthy) Theories of Punishment 2 purposes of punishment Retribution revenge Avoidance of personal vengeance Prevention Four Forms of Prevention General deterrence Idea that threat of punishment deters general population from crime Prevent individual from pursuing crime Physically preventing person from committing further crimes (e.g., incarceration) Developing the will of the person not to commit crimes; so that does not want to commit crime Special deterrence Incapacitation Rehabilitation Rule of Law Exercise of governmental authority only based on previously established, publicized laws universally applied; no one above the law Democratically determined Broadly accepted principles Separation of powers independent judiciary Universal application Equality before the law Notice Fair application not arbitrary Sources of Criminal Law Common law Derived from common law of England Stare decisis & precedent Limited in U.S. today Based on general principles/filling in gaps Statutory Federal only statutory Codification of common law "administrative" crimes Constitution treason Model Penal Code Variation between jurisdictions federal system Classification of Crimes Malum in se (inherently evil or wrong) vs. malum prohibitum (defined as wrong) Jurisdictional federal vs. state (some local infractions) Seriousness of crime/punishment Felony, misdemeanor, violation/infraction Crimes against 1) Persons, 2) Habitations & Property, 3) Health, Safety & Morals (Quality of Life), 4) Government Type of harm Criminal Justice as Two Party System Government Criminal Defendant In both retributive & rehabilitative models, victims & community excluded from process. Emerging Changes Victim's rights movement Efforts to give victims voice in criminal process & provide restitution New paradigm Restorative Justice model Focus on the harm caused by the crime to victim, community & offender rather than merely rule violation Seeks to repair harm Holds offender accountable for repairing harm Involves all stakeholders victim & community as well as offender & government in decisionmaking collaborative process Seeks reintegration/restoration of victim, offender & community Basic Restorative Justice Principles Court Structure 3-tiered structure Trial & appellate courts distinction Role of judge & jury Appealable issues Jurisdiction concept Limited jurisdiction of federal courts Federal system Case Law What are "cases" or opinions Why important How to find/where located How to read & understand ...
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