Posted: September 19th, 2022

criminal justices

 In this journal entry, reflect on at least two things you learned or discovered through the Chapter’s readings. Reflect on how a particular topic in the chapter was interesting, challenging, boring, surprising to you and how you may apply a particular concept or theory you learned in the reading in your current or future profession.

Instructions: There is no minimum word limit for your journals, however, you will need to put in some effort and write at least a couple of good paragraphs for your reflection journals.

     

Criminal Justice: A Brief Introduction

Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 3

Criminal Law

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1

The Nature and Purpose of Law (1 of 2)
Law
A rule of conduct, generally found enacted in the form of a statute, that proscribes or mandates certain forms of behavior
Laws regulate relationships between people and between parties

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2

The Nature and Purpose of Law (2 of 2)
Statutory law—the “law on the books,” written or codified law resulting from legislative action
Penal code—the written form of the criminal law.
Case law—law resulting from judicial decisions.
Common law—traditional body of law originating from usage and custom rather than from written statutes

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3

Table 3.1 What Do Laws Do?

Laws maintain order in society.
Laws regulate human interaction.
Laws enforce moral beliefs.
Laws define the economic environment.
Laws enhance predictability.
Laws support the powerful.
Laws promote orderly social change.
Laws sustain individual rights.
Laws redress wrongs.
Laws identify wrongdoers.
Laws mandate punishment and retribution.

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4

The Rule of Law (1 of 2)
The belief that an orderly society must be governed by established principles and known codes that are applied uniformly and fairly to all of its members
No one is above the law; those who make or enforce the law must also abide by it
Sometimes referred to as the supremacy of law
Jurisprudence-the philosophy of law, the science and study of the law, including the rule of law

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The Rule of Law (2 of 2)
Key elements of the rule of law:
Freedom from private lawlessness
High degree of objectivity in formulating legal norms and evenhandedness in their application
Legal ideas/devices for attaining individual and group objectives within bounds of ordered liberty
Substantive and procedural limitations on governmental power

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6

Criminal Law
The body of rules and regulations that define and specify the nature of and punishments for offenses of a public nature or for wrongs committed against the state or society
Also called penal law
Includes statutory (written law) and case law

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7

Statutory Law
Substantive criminal law
The part of the law that defines crimes and specifies punishments
Procedural law
The part of the law that specifies the methods to be used in enforcing substantive law
Balance suspect’s rights against the state’s interests in the speedy and efficient processing of defendants

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8

Civil Law (1 of 2)
Governs relationships between and among parties
Includes rules for contracts, divorces, child support and custody, wills, libel, etc.
Civil suits typically seek compensation, not punishment

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9

Civil Law (2 of 2)
Violation of civil law is not a crime
May be a contract violation or a tort
Tort—a wrongful act, damage, or injury not involving a breach of contract (personal wrong, not a crime)
Parties to a civil suit
Plaintiff: Seeks relief
Defendant: Against whom relief is sought

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10

Administrative Law
Body of regulations governments create to control the activities of industries, businesses, and individuals
Includes tax laws, health codes, vehicle registration laws
Most breaches of administrative law are not crimes, but criminal law and administrative regulations may overlap

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11

Case Law
Law of precedent, comes from judicial decisions
Precedent
A legal principle that ensures that previous judicial decisions are authoritatively considered and incorporated into future cases
Stare decisis
A legal principle that requires that in subsequent cases on similar issues of law and fact, courts be bound by their own earlier decisions and by those of higher courts having jurisdiction over them

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12

Felonies
A criminal offense punishable by death or by incarceration in a prison facility for at least one year
Serious crimes such as murder, rape, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, and arson
Convicted felons typically lose certain privileges upon release from prison

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Misdemeanors
An offense punishable by incarceration, usually in a local confinement facility, for a period whose upper limit is prescribed by statute in a given jurisdiction, typically one year or less
Relative minor crimes such as petty theft, simple assault, breaking and entering, disturbing the peace, etc.
Most offenders receive suspended sentences involving a fine and supervised probation

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14

Infractions
A minor violation of state statute or local ordinance punishable by a fine or other penalty or by a specified, usually limited, term of incarceration
Typically includes things like jaywalking, spitting on the sidewalk, littering, and certain traffic offenses
Offenders are normally ticketed and released

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15

Treason
A U.S. citizen’s actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the United States
The attempt to overthrow the government of the society of which one is a member

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16

Espionage
The “gathering, transmitting, or losing” of information related to the national defense in a manner that the information becomes available to enemies of the United States and may be used to their advantage
The key difference between treason and espionage is that espionage may be committed by non-U. S. citizens

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17

Inchoate Offenses
An incomplete offense—one that has not been fully carried out
An offense that consists of an action or conduct that is a step toward the intended commission of another offense
Includes conspiracies and attempts to commit a crime

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18

General Features of Crime
The essence of crime consists of three conjoined elements
Actus reus
Mens rea
Concurrence

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19

Figure 3.3 Features of a Crime

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The Criminal Act (Actus Reus)
“Guilty act”
Person must commit a voluntary act for it to be considered a crime
To be something is not a crime; to do something may be.
An omission to act can be a crime
Threatening to act can be a crime
Conspiracy can be a crime

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21

A Guilty Mind (Mens Rea) (1 of 5)
The state of mind that accompanies a criminal act; the defendant’s mental state at the time of the crime
Types or levels of mens rea
Purposeful or intentional
Knowing
Reckless
Negligent

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22

A Guilty Mind (Mens Rea) (2 of 5)
Purposeful or intentional action
Undertaken to achieve some goal
Transferred intent—if harm resulting from an intentional action is unintended, criminal liability is not reduced
Knowing behavior
Undertaken with awareness, although the intended purpose of acting in a knowingly criminal way may not be criminal intent
Involves near certainty

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23

A Guilty Mind (Mens Rea) (3 of 5)
Reckless behavior
An activity that increases the risk of harm
Lacks the certainty of knowing behavior
Criminal negligence
A behavior in which a person fails to reasonably perceive substantial and unjustifiable risks of dangerous consequences
No negative consequences need to be intended

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24

A Guilty Mind (Mens Rea) (4 of 5)
Mens rea is not the same thing as motive
Motive
A person’s reason for committing a crime
Motive is not an essential element of a crime
Mens rea must generally be inferred from a person’s actions and from all circumstances

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25

A Guilty Mind (Mens Rea) (5 of 5)
Strict liability crimes do not require mens rea
Also called absolute liability offenses
Make it a crime simply to do something, even if there is no intent to violate the law
Routine traffic offenses, statutory rape

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26

Concurrence
Requires that the act and the mental state occur together in order for a crime to take place
If one occurs before the other, the requirements of the criminal law have not been met

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27

Other Features of Crime (1 of 3)
Causation
The concurrence of a guilty mind and a criminal act may cause harm
Legal cause—must be demonstrated in court to hold an individual criminally liable for causing harm
Harm
Harm occurs in all crimes but not all harms are crimes
Harm subsumed under notion of guilty act in a criminal prosecution

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28

Other Features of Crime (2 of 3)
Legality
A behavior cannot be criminal if no law exists that defines it as such
Ex post facto laws (“after the fact”) are not binding
Laws cannot be binding prior to the date of their creation
Punishment
No crime can be said to occur where punishment has not been specified in the law

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29

Other Features of Crime (3 of 3)
Necessary attendant circumstances
The facts surrounding an event
Additional elements that must be present for a conviction to be obtained
May increase the degree, or level of seriousness, of an offense

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30

Elements of a Specific Criminal Offense
Element of a crime
In a specific crime, one of the essential features of that crime, as specified by law or statute
Elements of first-degree murder
Unlawful killing
Of a human being
Intentionally
With planning (or “malice aforethought”)

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31

The Corpus Delicti of a Crime
“The body of the crime” or the facts that show that a crime has occurred
A person cannot be tried for a crime until it has been shown the crime occurred
Two key aspects:
A certain result has been produced
A person is criminally responsible for its production
The identity of the perpetrator is not an element of the corpus delicti of an offense

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32

Figure 3.4 Body of Crime

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Source: SCHMALLAGER, FRANK. J; HALL, DANIEL. E.; DOLATOWSKY, JOHN. J; CRIMINAL LAW TODAY, 4th Ed., ©2010. Reprinted and Electronically reproduced by permission of Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

33

Types of Defenses to a Criminal Charge
Defense
Evidence and arguments offered by the defendant to show why he or she should not be held liable for a criminal charge
Four categories of defenses
Alibi
Justification
Excuse
Procedural defenses

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34

Alibi
The claim that the defendant could not have committed the crime because he or she was elsewhere at the time
Based upon the premise that the defendant is truly innocent
Denies that the defendant committed the crime
Best supported by witnesses and documentation

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35

Justifications (1 of 6)
The defendant admits to committing the act but claims that it was necessary to avoid some greater evil
Claiming a moral high ground
Conduct that a person believes is necessary to avoid harm to himself or herself is justifiable if the harm the person is trying to avoid is greater than the harm that may be caused by his or her conduct

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36

Justifications (2 of 6)
Self-defense
The defendant needed to inflict harm on another to ensure his or her own safety in the face of near-certain injury or death
Amount of defensive force must be proportional to that being faced
Reasonable force
The degree of force that is appropriate in a given situation and that is not excessive

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37

Justifications (3 of 6)
Defense of others
Extension of self-defense to the use of reasonable force to defend others
Alter ego rule
A person can only defend a third party under circumstances, and only to the degree that the third party could legally act on his or her own behalf

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38

Justifications (4 of 6)
Defense of home and property
Most jurisdictions allow property owners to use reasonable nondeadly force to protect property
Castle exception: There is no duty to retreat from one’s own home in the face of an immediate threat, even if retreat is possible, before using deadly force to protect the home

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39

Justifications (5 of 6)
Necessity
The claim that some illegal action was needed to prevent an even greater harm
A useful defense in cases that do not involve serious bodily harm.
Consent
Defense that claims that whatever harm was done occurred only after the injured person gave his or her permission for the behavior in question

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40

Justifications (6 of 6)
Resisting unlawful arrest
Resisting arrest is a crime in all jurisdictions
Resistance may be justifiable, especially if the arresting officer uses excessive force
Laws generally say that a person may use a reasonable amount of force, other than deadly force, to resist arrest or an unlawful search if the officer uses greater than necessary force

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41

Excuses (1 of 11)
Defenses claiming that the individual engaging in the unlawful behavior was, at the time, not legally responsible for his or her actions and should not be held accountable under the law
Criminal liability may be negated on the basis of some personal disability the individual has or some special circumstances characterizing the situation

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42

Excuses (2 of 11)
Duress
Any unlawful threat or coercion used by a person to act (or refrain from acting) in a manner he or she otherwise would not (or would)
Generally not a useful defense when the crime involves serious physical harm
Age
In most jurisdictions, children below age 7 cannot be charged even with juvenile offenses

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43

Excuses (3 of 11)
Mistake
Mistake of law is rarely an acceptable defense (“Ignorance of the law is no defense”)
Mistake of fact may be a useful defense
Involuntary intoxication
The claim that the person was tricked into consuming an intoxicating substance, which created an altered mental condition
Voluntary intoxication is rarely a defense

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44

Excuses (4 of 11)
Unconsciousness
An individual cannot be held responsible for anything he or she does while unconscious
Rarely used
Provocation
A person can be emotionally enraged by another who intends to elicit this reaction
Generally more acceptable in minor offenses

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45

Excuses (5 of 11)
Insanity
Insanity is a legal concept, not a medical one
Defense based on claims of mental illness or mental incapacity
Rarely used and even more rarely successful

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46

Excuses (6 of 11)
M’Naghten Rule—did the defendant know what he or she was doing or that the behavior was wrong
Irresistible Impulse—defendant unable to stop doing what he or she knew was wrong
Durham Rule—a person is not criminally responsible if his or her actions resulted from mental disease or defect
Substantial-Capacity Test—defendant lacked the mental capacity to understand the wrongfulness of his act or conform his behavior to the requirements of law

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47

Excuses (7 of 11)
Difficulties with the insanity defense
Psychiatric testimony is expensive and expert witnesses often contradict each other
Society often not satisfied that justice is served when findings of “not guilty due to insanity” are made
Four states have barred the use of the insanity defense (Kansas, Montana, Idaho, Utah)

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48

Excuses (8 of 11)
Guilty but mentally ill verdict (G B M I)
Some states use “guilty but insane” finding
A verdict, equivalent to a finding of “guilty” that establishes that the defendant, although mentally ill, was in sufficient possession of his or her faculties to be morally blameworthy for his or her acts
Judge may impose any sentence possible under the law but usually also mandates psychiatric treatment

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49

Excuses (9 of 11)
Temporary insanity
The offender claims to have been insane only at the time of the crime
The insanity defense under federal law
Insanity Defense Reform Act (1984) uses a definition of insanity similar to that used in M’Naghten
Places the burden of proving insanity defense on the defendant

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50

Excuses (10 of 11)
The consequences of an insanity ruling
Judge may order the defendant to undergo psychiatric treatment until “cured”
Defendants may spend more time in a psychiatric institution than would have been spent in prison
Diminished capacity
A defense claiming a mental condition that may be insufficient to exonerate the defendant but that may be relevant to specific mental elements of a crime
Abolished in some states

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51

Excuses (11 of 11)
Mental incompetence
Refers to the defendant’s condition immediately before prosecution
Incompetent to stand trial
As a result of mental illness, the defendant is incapable of understanding the nature of the proceedings, of consulting with an attorney, and of aiding in his or her own defense

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52

Procedural Defenses (1 of 5)
Procedural defenses claim that the defendant was in some manner discriminated against in the justice process
May also claim that some important aspect of official procedure was not properly followed

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53

Procedural Defenses (2 of 5)
Entrapment
An improper or illegal inducement to crime by agents of law enforcement
Agents created a crime where there otherwise would have been none
Double jeopardy
Prohibits a second trial for the same offense
Does not apply in cases of trial error (hung jury, etc.)
Does not prevent someone from being tried in both civil and criminal court

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54

Procedural Defenses (3 of 5)
Collateral estoppel
Facts that have been determined by a “valid and final judgment” cannot become the object of new litigation
Selective prosecution
14th Amendment guarantees equal protection of the laws
Defense may apply if several individuals are suspected of a crime but not all are actively prosecuted

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55

Procedural Defenses (4 of 5)
Denial of a speedy trial
6th Amendment guarantees the right to a speedy trial
State/federal laws define time limits necessary for a trial to be “speedy”
Does not include delays resulting from requests by the defense
If the legal time limit is exceeded, the defendant must be released and no trial can occur

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56

Procedural Defenses (5 of 5)
Prosecutorial misconduct
Actions by prosecutors that give the government an unfair advantage or prejudice the rights of a defendant or witness
Police fraud
Defense available to defendants victimized by the police through planted evidence, fabrication of facts, false arrests

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57

Copyright

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