CRIM LAW OUTLINE - Criminal Law Outline PURPOSES OF...

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Criminal Law Outline PURPOSES OF CRIMINAL LAW AND PUNISHMENT Sources: statutes (define elements of crime or offense), constitutional interpretation and limitations on substantive law (limit legislature’s ability to define crimes), case precedent (interpretation of statutes). MPC – not binding law; a guide to legislatures and judges created by crim law wonks. E.g. Theft “To prove the crime of Theft, State must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt: Def knowingly obtained, used or kept the prop of the victim, without victim’s permission, with the intent to permanently or temporarily appropriate the property to his own use.” o Common law: rarely any common law crimes but can be used for interpretation and for defenses o Model Penal Code: the main mode of comparison for all cases in this class. Not binding but can be adopted in part or whole by states Used by some judges as a persuasive source. Objective elements: actus reus Conduct o Murder – action causing death o Selling drugs – act of selling o Battery – hitting or touching Circumstances (e.g. battery – against person’s will) Results (most crimes require only conduct and circumstances). Those that require a state of affairs need results (e.g. murder – no death = no murder) Subjective element: mens rea Mental intent (e.g. theft – knowing property obtained belongs to someone else, knowing permission to take not given, intending to appropriate for own use) 4 categories of intent: purpose, knowledge, recklessness and negligence. Philosophies of law o Reasons to punish: Utilitarian /Consequentialist – Bentham: people should act to maximize utility for society. Punish people in best interest of society. Cost should outweigh benefit. Assumes criminals do a CBA before acting w/ knowledge they might get caught and are aware of the consequences Deterrence – CBA, cost should outweigh benefits, don’t use ineffective, superfluous, over-expensive punishment Rehabilitation Incapacitation –remove dangerous elements. Deterrence irrelevant Retribution (deontology – Morality of act stems from principles, not consequences. Man not a means to an end. People deserved to be punish, regardless of benefit or detriment to society. Punishment s/b proportional to that deserved) Victim’s rights o Let some criminals off lightly: efficiency, low danger to greater society, no harm then no foul o repeat offender (3 bad checks, I.E.)-3 strike law Recidivist statutes to incapacitate repeat offenders b/c they’ve shown to be incorrectable Not retributive o Two safeguards - 1)Prosecutorial ethics - ethics violations for over charging (for prosecutors). 2)The check on the defendant is perjury rules.
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course LAW 5100 taught by Professor Gruber during the Spring '08 term at FIU.

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CRIM LAW OUTLINE - Criminal Law Outline PURPOSES OF...

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