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CRIMINAL LAW CRIMINAL LAW SPRING 2008 BASICS I. SOURCES OF CRIMINAL LAW A. COMMON LAW – roots are here 1. judge made law - uncommon in crim law 2. can be statutorily superseded 3. often serves to aide in interpretation of ambiguous terms 4. still law where no statute exists B. CRIMINAL STATUTE 1. prevailing source of criminal law 2. classifies crimes as misdemeanor or felony C. MODEL PENAL CODE 1. not law in any jurisdiction – basis of law in most jurisdictions 2. but many states have adopted portions of the MPC as their state statutory law D. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CRIMINAL LAW AND TORTS 1. victim not compensated bc act against the state 2. burden of proof – beyond reasonable doubt 3. types of punishment: a. fines b. incarceration c. both 4. higher culpability bc more severe reaction/moral condemnation from community E. SUBSTANTIVE CRIMINAL LAW OFFENSES: 1. required act – actus reus 2. required state of mind – mens rea F. PRINCIPAL JUSTIFICATIONS FOR PUNISHMENT: 1. deterrence 2. retribution – legal revenge; ex: war crimes 3. rehabilitation – “cure” the sick criminal – requires judge to evaluate 4. incapacitation/specific deterrence/restraint – infliction of punishment makes less likely to engage in similar conduct PHYSICAL PUNISMENT + MORAL CONDEMNATION = TOTAL PUNISHMENT ( vote, family talk, fired) G. LAW AND ECONOMICS THEORY: balance: value of item / chance of detection = optimal punishment value of item to *incarceration only necessary when culprit is incapable of being deterred by optimal punishment only for poor/insolvent H. 3 PARTS OF CRIMINAL LAW: 1) STRUCTURE/ANATOMY OF CRIME (FIRST 8 CLASSES) - elements of every crime, emphasis on voluntary acts and subjective intent 2) SPECIFIC CRIMES (BGN Feb. 12) 3) DEFENSES (LAST 5 CLASSES)
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CRIMINAL LAW II. ACTUS REUS – required for all crimes; gov’t required to establish A. voluntary act that causes social or physical harm 2 essential components: 1. voluntariness 2. act/omission B. refers to the physical aspect of the criminal activity ( thinking aspect); intent is irrelevent C. General Rule: person is guilty of a crime unless his conduct includes a voluntary act (w/limited exceptions) D. IMPORTANT DEFINITIONS: 1. Act –involves a physical behavior; it does not include the mental proceses of planning or thinking about the physical act that gives rise to the criminal activity (the domain of mens rea) 2. Voluntary – any volitional movement; habitual conduct, even if is unaware of what he is doing at the time, may still be deemed voluntary (depends on jurisdiction) a. involuntary acts may include: spasms, seizures, and bodily movements while unconscious or asleep b. burden of proof - may raise defense, but burden of proving voluntariness of an act is an element of the crime and therefore prosecution bears burden of proof ( only has to raise defense) 3. AUTOMATISM – not being able to exert willful control over bodily actions; not necessarily loss of awareness of social norms; affirmative defense 4. MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES: if one personality is conscious and able to control
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