Presentation on theme: "Chapter 1 The Nature and Limits of Criminal Law Joel Samaha, 9th Ed."— Presentation transcript:
1 Chapter 1 The Nature and Limits of Criminal Law Joel Samaha, 9th Ed.
2 Conduct that Unjustifiably Inflicts Harm CrimeNoncriminal wrongRegulationLicenseLawful
3 Conduct that Unjustifiably Inflicts Harm CrimeThe degree of severity should reflect the amount of stigma that a criminal should suffer and the severity of punishment a person deserves
4 Conduct that Unjustifiably Inflicts Harm Non-criminal wrongs (torts)“Victims” should sue the actors (a word for parties in legal cases) who injured them, but the stigma of “criminal” should not be attached to the offender.LicenseTaxes, Licensing, Permits, etc. and pursuing those who violate the laws. Neither encourages nor discourages the behavior.
5 Conduct that Unjustifiably Inflicts Harm LawfulThere are no legal consequences for the act but it can still be deemed deviant behavior by peers and the community.RegulationGovernment places this burden on behaviors to discourage them, i.e., alcohol tax creates a higher user price, but drinking is not a criminal act.
6 Principles of Criminal Liability “conduct that unjustifiably and inexcusably inflicts or threatens substantial harm to individual or public interest,” Model Penal Code, 1985.A conduct that was committedUnjustifiably and inexcusablyInflicts or threatens substantial harmTo individual or public interests
7 Criminal Law versus Civil Law Public WrongsProsecuted by the StateProof beyond a reasonable doubtRight to counselDefendant has right to silencePenalties or sanctions are based on seriousness of the offense, i.e., misdemeanors and feloniesCivil Law (torts)Private MattersPrivate parties file suitPreponderance of the evidenceMust hire own attorneyDefendant may be forced to testifyPenalties based on compensation or remedies
8 QuestionWhat is the most important difference between torts and crimes?Explain how this relates to punishment.
9 Criminal Punishment “Every criminal law has to define the crime and prescribe a punishment.”Criteria for criminal punishmentInflict pain or other consequencesPrescribed within the law defining the crimeAdministered intentionallyAdministered by the state as punishmentLimitation: 8th amendment
10 Criminal Punishment (Continued) Prevention (forward looking)General deterrenceSpecial deterrence (specific)InapacitationRehabilitationRetribution (backward looking)An “eye for an eye” captures the idea of retribution
11 Trends in PunishmentHistorically, societies have justified punishment on the grounds of retribution, deterrence, and rehabilitation.Retribution dominated penal policy until the 18th century, when it was replaced with deterrence and incapacitation.Rehabilitation replaced deterrence in the late 20th century and was the major form of punishment until the early 1960s.By the mid-1980’s retribution and incapacitation were the primary forms of criminal punishment.
12 General and Specific Parts of Criminal Law General part of criminal lawCovers principles that apply to all crimes: constitutional principles found in the U.S. and state constitutionsSpecial part of criminal lawThe special part defines specific crimes and arranges them into groups according to the subject matter and seriousness
13 Crime Classification Felonies Crimes punishable by death or imprisonment in a state facility for life or a period of time.MisdemeanorsCrimes punishable by a fine or a jail term of up to a year in a local facility.
14 Societal Controversy… Grading CrimesMalum in seInherently evil conduct that has injurious consequences, e.g., murder, rape, robberyMalum prohibitumConduct prohibited by law because they are not evil in nature, e.g., dui, tax evasion, speeding, carrying a concealed weaponSocietal Controversy…Every society may disagree on what is “evil” behavior and what behavior “should” be criminalized by society.Examples:1) Viewing sex offenders differently county by county2) Different states having different ages at which a child can be treated as an adult for a crime
15 Definition of Crimes Crimes against the state: Crimes against persons: Domestic & foreign terrorCrimes against persons:Murder & rapeCrimes against property:Stealing & trespassCrimes against public order and morals:Aggressive panhandling & prostitution
16 Principle of Legality Also known as the rule of law This principle purports that law controls the power of government.It consists of four values that has existed from Aristotle in 350 B.C to the Magna Carta in 1215, they include:FairnessLibertyDemocracyEquality
17 No Punishment Without Law” l Explain this proposition. “No Crime Without Law:No Punishment Without Law”lExplain this proposition.The case of Treva Hughes(Hughes v. State, 1994)is an excellent example.
18 Legislative and Judicial Retroactive Criminal Law Making Legislative retroactive law making has a ban imposed on it. One reason for the ban is to allow the rule of law not the rule of officials.Judicial retroactive criminal law making allows judges to exercise their judgment (discretionary decision making) in cases.Limits to law making include:Judges are bound by the U.S and state ConstitutionsJudges have to follow the rule of lenity and stickPrecedentStare decisisRule of lenity: implies that when judges apply a criminal statutes to a defendant, they must stick “clearly within the letter of the statute.”
19 Sources of Criminal Law U.S. ConstitutionState constitutionsCommon law of England & U.S.U.S. criminal codeState criminal codesMunicipal ordinancesJudicial decisions interpreting codesand the common law
20 Common-Law OriginsCriminal codes didn’t spring full-grown from state legislatures. They evolved from a long history of ancient offenses called common-law crimes.These crimes were created before legislatures existed and when social order depended on obedience to unwritten rules:lex non scriptaState common law crimesFollowing the American revolution, the 13 original states adopted the common law.Federal common law crimesU.S v. Hudson and Goodwin (1812): There are no federal common law crimes, however, there are exceptions, e.g., the Sherman Act, civil rights legislation, and mail fraud statutes.
21 Constitutional Limits Due process of lawLegislatures have to write criminal laws that are clear enough for individuals and government officials to know in advance exactly what the law bans.Equal protection of the lawLegislatures cannot define crimes and punishments that apply differently based on inherited characteristics (race, ethnicity, gender, and age).Individual rights and libertiesLegislatures cannot make crimes that violate the rights to free speech, religion, and privacy.
22 Model Penal Code (MPC)Focuses on the analysis of criminal liability meaning “who is responsible for what.”After the adoption of MPC in 1962, more than forty states changed their criminal codes.None of the states adopted the MPC completely, but it influenced all of them to an extent, in essence, the MPC is the common denominator in U.S. criminal law.
23 Administrative Agency Crimes These are rules or laws written by administrative agencies, who have been granted authority from both federal and state legislatures to create laws.They are a rapidly growing source of criminal law, but they often raise constitutional questions. Two such questions are:Can legislatures authorize administrative agencies to create regulations, when there is a criminal penalty for violating such regulation?Can legislatures allow agencies to set up their own courts to decide cases involving violations of the regulations they have created?
24 Criminal Law in the Federal System There are 52 criminal codes: one for each of the fifty states, one for the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Criminal Code.Definitions, defenses, and punishment of crimes vary across state lines.
25 Reading Case Law Facts of the case Action of the court Intention of the courtQuestion - Legal issue(s) involvedDecisionAffirmReverseReverse and remand – sent back to lower courtOpinionMajorityConcurringPluralityDissenting
26 Finding CasesExample: (State v. Metzger [Chapter 2]), just after the title of the case, State v. Metzger, you read “319 N.W. 2d 459 (Neb. 1982).”Here’s how to interpret this citation:319 = First number is always the “Volume number”N.W.2d = Northwestern Reporter, Second Series459 = page number(Neb. 1982) = Nebraska Supreme Court in the year 1982