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Criminal Law Notes

Criminal Law Notes - 1 Criminal Law Professor Bobis...

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Criminal Law Professor Bobis Extension *6016 I. Introduction (A) Background Information Crimes Distinguished from Civil Wrongs : [Each has a different moral content .] (1) Crime case = Guilty (2) Civil case = Responsible Crime is a SOCIAL HARM : “It is conduct which, if duly shown to have taken place, will incur a formal and solemn pronouncement of the moral condemnation of the community.” A criminal conviction is a public stamp of disapproval; we make something a crime in order to convey the message “Don’t do that … Biznatch” Crime Classification : English C/L divided into 2 categories. (1) Felony : any species of crime that allowed for the forfeiture of land or goods. All C/L felonies were punishable by DEATH. [Imprisonment in State Prison.] (2) Misdemeanor : all other offenses, besides felonies, are misdemeanors. [Imprisonment in Local Jails.] Crimes hurt society in a general, thus we as a society take action: State v. Tomic (B) The Jury (1) Right to a Jury : The 6 th amendment says, “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an IMPARTIAL JURY” This prevents prejudice/oppression by a single judge or the government. Generally have the right to a jury over a judge when the maximum potential punishment exceeds incarceration of 6 months. Voir Dire : The examination of prospective jurors [venire persons]. He judge and lawyers ask questions. The may excuse for “cause” and are also allowed a limited number of “preemptory” challenges. (2) Jury Nullification : Occurs when the jury acquits even though the prosecutor proves “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the accused D committed the offense charged. A juror may ignore the law and vote whichever way he wants. Jurors may feel the law is wrong, immoral or unwise. Jurors may feel that the D has suffered enough. Juries do not have to explain verdicts; instead, they only have to say “guilty” or “not-guilty.” A jury verdict is unreviewable. There is no ‘double jeopardy’ (5 th amendment). One cannot be prosecuted after a not guilty verdict. Hypo: Acquittal of Zenger for seditious libel against the British Authorities. Also, the acquittal of the California needle exchange organizers. This doctrine may be considered anti-democratic because the legislature should make the laws, not the jury. 1 1
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State v. Ragland (page 15) The D was accused of armed robbery, and as a convicted felon he could not carry a weapon. The judge instructed “If it was found that he was carrying a weapon, you MUST find him guilty of the possession charge.” D lost and appealed saying that the jury command “MUST” did not inform the jury of their nullification power. The D wants
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Criminal Law Notes - 1 Criminal Law Professor Bobis...

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