Criminal Law - Criminal Law A General Principles 1 Criminal...

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Criminal Law A. General Principles 1. Criminal acts are often the basis for tort claims. A “crime is a wrong arising from a violation of a public duty. It is prohibited and punished by the government. In the US, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Each state has its own criminal law, although there is a common pattern from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. If you are a “complainant”, you are someone who has caused charges to be brought against someone else. The prosecutor is entrusted with prosecutorial discretion. In other words, it’s up to the state to prosecute. 2. Seriousness of the Offense. Crimes are classified according to their seriousness. An act may be a misdemeanor in one state and a felony in another. A felony in Va. is any crime punishable by more than one year in prison. A misdemeanor is a less serious crime and in Va. is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or $2,500 fine. Relatively minor crimes may be prosecuted as felonies in many states under the three strikes rule. 3. Basis of Criminal Liability—as a general rule, a crime has the following elements: an act and the requisite mental state. Mental state generally requires that the defendant did the act voluntarily and that the act is criminal. In some instances a particular mens rea (criminal mind/evil intent) is required (E.g. Murder requires malice aforethought). Note: Intoxication is not a defense to a criminal prosecution in Virginia. 4. Parties to a Crime. Generally speaking, everyone who takes part in the planning, execution or cover-up is guilty of that crime in Virginia. The act of aiding and abetting in regard to the commission of a crime is in itself a crime. 5. Responsibility for Criminal Acts -- An employer is liable for the crime of the employee when the employer directs the employee to commit the crime. The employee is also guilty. A corporation may be found criminally responsible. US v. Park – 421 US 658 (1974) – Mr. Park was CEO of Acme. In 1970 the FDA ordered Park to clean up Acme warehouses. 1971 – Same order was issued. 1972 – The Acme warehouses were unclean and now criminal sanctions are brought against Mr. Park. Can he be prosecuted criminally? The rule that corporate employees who have "a responsible share in the furtherance of the transaction which the statute outlaws" are subject to the criminal provisions of the Act was not formulated in a vacuum.”, U.S. v. Park, 6. Attempts and Conspiracies
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“Attempts” are something less than the crime but more than preparation. The crime is attempted bit not completed. “Conspiracy” is an agreement between 2 or more people to commit a crime. The crime is the agreement and in Virginia, withdrawal is no defense. In addition, it does not matter that the crime was not completed or thwarted.
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  • Spring '14
  • LaRoche
  • criminal law, theft, Miranda Rights…Miranda

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