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Chapter 8 Criminal Wrongs

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1 Chapter 8 Criminal Wrongs

2 Chapter Objectives 1. Explain the difference between criminal offenses and other types of wrongful conduct. 2. Indicate the essential elements of criminal liability. 3. Describe the constitutional safeguards that protect the rights of persons accused of crimes. 4. Identify and define the crimes that affect business. 5. Summarize the defenses to criminal liability.

3 Civil and Criminal Law Civil Law Criminal Law
Spells out the duties that exist between persons or between citizens and their governments, excluding the duty not to commit crimes. In a civil case, damages are awarded to compensate those harmed by others’ wrongful acts, or equitable remedies may be granted. Criminal Law Has to do with crimes, which are defined as wrongs against society proclaimed in statutes and, if committed, punishable by society through fines and/or imprisonment—and, in some cases death. Because crimes are offenses against society as a whole, they are prosecuted by a public official, not by victims.

4 Civil and Criminal Law Compared
ISSUE CRIMINAL LAW CIVIL LAW Area of concern Offenses against society as a whole Rights and duties between individuals Wrongful act Violation of a statute that prohibits some type of activity Harm to a person Party who brings suit The state Person who suffered harm Standard of proof Beyond a reasonable doubt Preponderance of the evidence Remedy Punishment (fine or imprisonment) Damages to compensate for the harm

5 Classification of Crimes
Depending on their degree of seriousness, crimes are classified as: Misdemeanors Under federal law and in most states, any crime that is not a felony. Felonies Serious crimes punishable by death or by imprisonment in a penitentiary for more than a year. or


7 Criminal Liability and
Two elements must exist simultaneously for a person to be convicted of a crime: Guilty Act In general, some form of harmful act must be committed for a crime to exist. Intent An intent to commit a crime, or a wrongful mental state, is required for a crime to exist. and

8 Case 8.1 In Re Gavin T. Gavin T., a fifteen-year-old student, was charged in a California state court with assault by “any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury,” after knocking a teacher unconscious with a half-eaten apple. The student did not intend to hit the teacher, but to hit the outside wall. The court found the student “guilty” in order to send a message to other students that his actions were wrong. If the lower court’s message to Gavin and his classmates was that reckless behavior would not be condoned, what was the appellate court’s message to the lower court?

9 Case 8.2 United States v. Hanousek
Edward Hanousek worked for Pacific & Arctic Railway and Navigation Co. (P&A) as a roadmaster of the White Pass & Yukon Railroad in Alaska. Hanousek was responsible for every safety aspect of the entire railroad. A rock quarry known as “6-mile” had a high-pressure oil pipeline running next to it owned by Pacific & Arctic Pipeline, Inc., P&A’s sister company. When the quarry’s backhoe operator punctured the pipeline, 1,000-5,000 gallons of oil were released into the river. Hanousek was charged with negligence and violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). He was found guilty and appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals. One of the essential elements of criminal liability is intent. How can you square the criminal provisions of the (CWA) with this intent requirement?

10 White-Collar Crimes Forgery Robbery
The fraudulent making or altering of any writing in a way that changes the legal rights and liabilities of another. Robbery The forceful and unlawful taking of personal property of any value from another.

11 White-Collar Crimes Money laundering Insider trading
Establishing legitimate enterprises through which “dirty” money (obtained through criminal activities) can be “laundered.” Insider trading The buying or selling of corporate securities by a person in possession of material nonpublic information in violation of securities laws.

12 White-Collar Crimes Arson Mail and wire fraud
The willful and malicious burning of a building or (in some states) personal property owned by another. Mail and wire fraud Using the mails, wires, radio, or television to defraud the public.

13 White-Collar Crimes Bribery Bankruptcy fraud
Includes bribery of public officials, commercial bribery, and bribery of foreign officials. The crime of bribery is committed when the bribe is tendered. Bankruptcy fraud Encompasses crimes committed in connection with bankruptcy proceedings, including false claims of creditors and fraudulent transfers of assets by debtors.

14 White-Collar Crimes Burglary Larceny
At common law, defined as breaking and entering the dwelling of another at night with the intent to commit a felony. State statutes now vary in their definitions of burglary. Larceny The wrongful or fraudulent taking and carrying away of another’s personal property with the intent to deprive the owner permanently of the property.

15 White-Collar Crimes Obtaining goods by false pretenses
Such as cashing a check knowing that there are insufficient funds in the bank to cover it. Receiving stolen goods A crime if the recipient knew or should have known that the goods were stolen. Embezzlement The fraudulent appropriation of another person’s property or money by a person to whom the property or money was entrusted.

16 Crimes Affecting Business
Many crimes that occur in the business context are commonly referred to as white-collar crimes. White-collar crimes are those involving nonviolent acts committed by individuals or corporations to obtain a personal or business advantage.

17 Criminal RICO Violations
Criminal RICO offenses include: The use of legitimate business enterprises to shield racketeering activity Securities fraud Mail fraud Under criminal provisions of RICO, any individual found guilty may be subject to fines of up to $25,000 per violation, imprisonment for up to 20 years, or both.

18 Computer Crime Any act that is directed against computers and/or computer parts, that uses computers as instruments of crime, or that involves computers and constitutes abuse. Computer crime often includes financial crimes that involve computers, such as: Theft of computer software, equipment, data, or services Vandalism and destructive programming of computers

19 Prosecuting Computer Crime
The Internet has given rise to perplexing legal issues, particularly where existing criminal laws are being applied to activities taking place “online.” For example, in U.S. v. LaMacchia the court held existing copyright laws did not cover LaMacchia’s actions in posting software on the Internet. Do you think that the easy pirating of software via the Internet will eventually stifle innovation on the part of software manufacturers?

20 Defenses to Crimes The most important defenses to criminal liability are: Infancy Intoxication Insanity Mistake Consent Duress Justifiable use of force Entrapment Statute of limitations Immunity

21 Responsibility of Infants for Criminal Acts Under the Common Law
Age Absolute presumption of incompetence. Age Presumption of incompetence, but government may oppose. Age 14+ Presumption of competence, but infant may oppose.

22 Intoxication The law recognizes two types of intoxication, whether from drugs or from alcohol: Involuntary—occurs when a person either is physically forced to ingest or inject an intoxicating substance or is unaware that a substance contains drugs or alcohol. Voluntary—using voluntary drug or alcohol intoxication as a defense is based on the theory that extreme levels of intoxication may negate the state of mind that a crime requires.

23 Case 8.3 Montana v. Egelhoff
James Egelhoff was charged in a Montana state court with 2 counts of deliberate homicide. Egelhoff claimed that he had been intoxicated when the incident occurred, therefore, he lacked the mental state required for commission for the crime of murder. Under a state statute, the jury was not required to consider his intoxication in determining his mental state. The jury found him guilty, and he appealed. Do you agree that disallowing voluntary intoxication as a defense “deters drunkenness or irresponsible behavior while drunk”? Why or why not?

24 Insanity Just as a child is often judged incapable of the state of mind required to commit a crime, so also may be someone suffering from a mental illness. Model penal code says: A person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at the time of such conduct as a result of mental disease or defect he lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.

25 Mistake Ordinarily, ignorance of the law or a mistaken idea about what the law requires is not a valid defense. In some states that rule has been modified. People who claim that they honestly did not know that they were breaking a law may have a valid defense if: The law was not published or reasonably made known to the public, or The people relied on an official statement of the law that was erroneous.

26 Consent The law allows consent as a defense if the consent cancels the harm that the law is designed to prevent. Consent or forgiveness given after a crime has been committed is not really a defense, though it can affect the likelihood of prosecution. Consent operates as a defense most successfully in crimes against property.

27 Duress Duress exists when the wrongful threat of one person induces another person to perform an act that he or she would not otherwise perform. The following requirements must be met: The threat must be of serious bodily harm or death. The harm threatened must be greater than the harm caused by the crime. The threat must be immediate and inescapable. The defendant must have been involved in the situation through no fault of his or her own.

28 Entrapment A defense designed to prevent police officers or other government agents from encouraging crimes in order to apprehend persons wanted for criminal acts. “Sentencing entrapment” occurs when undercover police officers induce a criminal suspect to commit a more serious crime than the crime contemplated by the suspect, thus causing the person, if convicted, to receive a harsher penalty under the federal sentencing guidelines.

29 Statute of Limitations
Criminal cases must be prosecuted within a certain number of years. If a criminal action is brought after the statutory time period has expired, the accused person can raise the statute of limitations as a defense.

30 Immunity In cases in which the state wishes to obtain information from a person accused of a crime, the state can grant immunity from prosecution or agree to prosecute for a less serious offense in exchange for the information. Once immunity is given, the person can no longer refuse to testify on Fifth Amendment grounds.

31 Constitutional Safeguards
The rights of accused persons are protected under the Constitution, particularly by the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments. Under the exclusionary rule, evidence obtained in violation of the constitutional rights of the accused will not be admissible in court. In Miranda v. Arizona, the United States Supreme Court ruled that individuals must be informed of their constitutional rights on being taken into custody.

32 Procedure in Criminal Law
Criminal procedures are designed to protect the constitutional rights of individuals and to prevent the arbitrary use of power on the part of the government.

33 The Fifth Amendment and Foreign Governments
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows defendants or witnesses in criminal cases to refuse to answer certain questions that may be self-incriminating. In U.S. v. Balsys, Aloyzas Balsys was required to testify to determine if he had lied on his immigration application about his activities during WWII. Balsys asserted the Fifth Amendment contending that testifying would subject him to prosecution for war crimes by foreign governments. The Supreme Court held the Fifth Amendment applied only to federal or state prosecution. How would you argue in support of the Supreme Court’s conclusion in this case?

34 Can Asset Forfeitures Violate the Eighth Amendment?
Questions of fairness often arise in asset forfeiture proceedings under RICO or other laws because sometimes the punishment (value of the assets forfeited) can be grossly disproportionate to the crime. In 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court gave some guidance to the lower courts on this issue. The court held that “a punitive forfeiture violates the Excessive Fines Clause if it is grossly disproportional to the gravity of a defendant’s defense.”

35 Miranda v. Arizona (1966) The Miranda decision held that criminal defendants must be informed of their constitutional right to remain silent and to have an attorney when they are taken into custody. Hence the phrase, “Miranda rights.” Should illegally seized evidence be excluded from a criminal trial even if the evidence clearly shows the guilt of the person charged? Why should defendants who have admitted that they are guilty be allowed to avoid criminal liability because of procedural violations?

36 Using Trickery to Obtain Confessions
Criminal suspects may waive their Miranda rights, but the waiver must be made voluntarily. What if trickery is used to obtain a confession from a criminal suspect, who voluntarily provides it based on that deceit? Trickery may lead to more guilty defendants being convicted. What cost is nonetheless imposed on society by such actions?

37 Criminal Process Procedures governing arrest, indictment, and trial for a crime are designed to safeguard the rights of the individual against the state.


39 Federal Sentencing Guidelines
Guidelines established by the U.S. Sentencing Commission indicating a range of penalties for each federal crime. Federal judges must abide by these guidelines when imposing sentences on those convicted of federal crimes.

40 For Review 1. What is the difference between criminal law and civil law? 2. What two elements must exist before a person can be held liable for a crime? Can a corporation be liable for crimes? 3. List and describe the various types of crimes. Give examples of each type. 4. What defenses might be raised by criminal defendants to avoid liability for criminal acts? 5. What constitutional safeguards exist to protect persons accused of crimes? What are the basic steps in the criminal process?

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