Chapter 4 Notes

Chapter 4 Notes - Sociology of the Criminal Justice System...

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Sociology of the Criminal Justice System – 2/10/11 Chapter 4: Inside Criminal Law The Development of American Criminal Law The Conception of Law o Law consists of enforceable rules governing relationships among individuals and between individuals and their society o An early example was Hamurabi’s Code, which was based on the idea of “an eye for an eye,” also the Mosaic Code English Common Law o Common law: body of law developed from custom or judicial decisions in English and U.S. courts and not attributable to a legislature o Rulings were generally followed by other circuit judges, becoming precedent in future cases o Typically reflects cultural, social, religious, and economic values of people Stare Decisis: “to stand on decided cases” (precedent) o Controlling precedents are considered binding authority o Helps courts become more efficient Sources of American Criminal Law American criminal law is codified, or written down, and accessible to all Allows citizens to know which acts are illegal and to understand the procedures used to determine innocence or guilt Written sources of law are known as substantive law (four types): o (1) Constitutional Law: the U.S. Constitution and the various state constitutions U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land
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o (2) Statutory Law : laws and ordinances passed by Congress and state legislatures Federal/state statutes and ordinances Influence of common law Model Penal Code – began in 1952; not a law in and of itself, but, instead, it defines the general principles of criminal responsibility and codifies specific offenses o (3) Administrative Law : rules, orders, and decisions of regulatory agencies Examples include OSHA and FDA o (4) Case Law : rules of law announced in court decisions allowing precedent to stand from previous cases Also referred to as judge-made law Purpose of Criminal Law (1) Protect and Punish: the legal function of the law
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Chapter 4 Notes - Sociology of the Criminal Justice System...

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