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Criminal Law Outline

Criminal Law Outline - CRIMINAL LAW Chiu Spring 2004 I II...

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CRIMINAL LAW Chiu Spring 2004 I. Questions for Criminal Law R Why the criminal law? Why do we punish? What purposes does punishment serve? h Who should we punish? Who are the criminals? h What is a crime? What is not a crime? What distinguishes blameworthy conduct from other conduct? h How much should we punish? II. Definitions Crime: an act or omission and its accompanying state of mind which, if duly shown to have taken place, will incur a formal and solemn pronouncement of the moral condemnation of the community Burden of Proof : Prosecutor has to persuade factfinder beyond a reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime charged III. Violations and Crimes A. NYPL Section 10.00 Definition of Offenses 1. Offenses (fine or imprisonment) a) Traffic Infractions b) Violations (offense w/ no more than 15 days in jail) c) Crimes i) Misdemeanors – anything punishable by more than 15 days & less than a year in jail ii) Felonies – anything punishable by more than a year in jail PRINCIPLES OF PUNISHMENT THEORIES I. UTALITARIAN (forward-thinking) looks to whether there is any benefit to punishment A. Background: a) Utilitarian theories of punishment have dominated American jurisprudence during most of the 20 th century. MPC is utilitarian. b) According to Jeremy Bentham’s classical utilitarianism whether an act of social practice is morally desirable depends upon whether it promotes human happiness better than possible alternatives c) Since punishment involves pain, it can be justified only if it accomplishes enough good consequences to outweigh the harm. The utilitarians believe that all human beings act according to the pleasure and pain principle. d) No matter how horrible the crime, utilitarians don’t advocate punishment unless they believe it will provide an overall social benefit. B. Purposes of Punishment a) Specific (Individual) Deterrence i. The actual imposition of punishment creates fear in the offender that if he repeats his act, he will be punished again. (deter THAT person) The penalties out weigh the benefits. b) General Deterrence i. knowledge that punishment will follow crime deters people from committing crimes, thus reducing future violations of right and the unhappiness and 1
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insecurity they would cause. Punish those who do commit will Deter others from doing the same. c) Incapacitation i. Imprisonment puts convicted criminals out of the general circulation temporarily and the death penalty does so permanently These punishments physically prevent persons of dangerous disposition from acting upon the destructive tendencies. (lock sex offenders up and throw the key away, cannot rehab them…) d) Rehabilitation (reform) i. Punishment may help to reform the criminal so that his wish to commit crimes will be lessened and perhaps so that he can be a happier more useful person. Conviction and simple imposition of a penalty might themselves be thought to
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Criminal Law Outline - CRIMINAL LAW Chiu Spring 2004 I II...

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