Criminal Law Foundations
1. Criminal law in the US has its source in the common law, which was judge-made law from Great Britain that was adopted into the U.S. criminal law system. 2. Today in the US, criminal law is based upon statutes or penal codes that were drafted by legislatures to define crimes and other criinal law doctrines. 3. The Model Penal Code was adopted in 1962 by the American Law Institute's scholars, judges, and lawyers as a model statutory scheme for legislatures to consider in reforming their own criminal law statutes. 4. In criminal law, a government prosecutes a defendant, whereas civil law involves two parties in a lawsuit. 5. In criminal law, a defendant may be punished by incarceration, fines, or death. In civil litigation, generally, a plaintiff seeks to be compensated by a defendant. 6. Criminal cases require a prosecutor to meet a higher burden of proof than what is generally required in civil litigation.