In one sense, every type of criminal case is unique. When the government prosecutes a defendant in a murder case, for example, the game is much different when the defendant is accused of fraud, embezzlement, or selling illegal drugs. But, criminal cases are similar in that the three basic parts of the case are usually the same. To win a conviction, a prosecutor must generally demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt the following : 1. A defendant's actions violated a criminal statute. Crimes were once defined by common law doctrines, but no longer. Almost all criminal law is now statutory. ( Actus reus means “guilty act,” as in someone must have done something wrong.) 2. The defendant committed the illegal acts beyond a reasonable doubt. Merely thinking of committing a crime is generally insufficient to demonstrate a guilty act, but taking a step towards committing a crime usually counts. 3. The defendant intended to violate the law. To some degree, defendants must be shown to have a "guilty mind." ( mens rea) Innocent mistakes lead to, at most, convictions for small crimes, such as selling cigarettes to minors. Convictions for serious crimes require evidence indicating intentional wrongful actions. Many defenses to crimes focus on this third element. Defendants often argue that they should not be held responsible for their actions because they were intoxicated, insane, or mistaken when a crime was committed and therefore did not have the required level of intent. Civil Criminal Nature Deals with rights/duties between individuals Deals with offenses against state as a whole Party bringing suit Individual States Wrongful act Causing harm to another individual Violating a statute prohibiting some type of activity Remedy Sought Damages to compensate for the loss Punishment- fine and/or imprisonment Defenses Negating Intent: 1)Infancy:How can a small child have intent? 2)Insanity: Do they lack capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of their actions? 3)Intoxication: involuntary intoxication? 4) Mistake : this is rarely a defense, but mistakes of fact can be a defense. Other Defenses: 1) Entrapment: criminal plan comes from the policy who implant in the mind of an innocent person the disposition to commit the offense. 2) Self-defense/defense of others Federal Crimes Affecting Business 1) Mail and wire fraud 2) Travel act 3) Hobbs act 4) Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)
6. Insider Trading As we commented in Unit 1, when space does not permit an examination of everything, we prefer to go into detail about a smaller number of topics rather than briefly cover a larger number of topics. In Unit 3, we have opted to forego a survey of dozens of crimes and focus on a specific business crime: insider trading. Section 10(b) of the 1934 Securities Exchange Act makes it illegal to commit fraud in connection with the sale of securities. Penalties for violations can be hefty, including fines of $10,000,000 and jail terms of 20 years for individuals. The reading assignment outlines the basic elements of a case and features United States v. Anderson
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