Presentation on theme: "Dr. Patrick Bamwine Chapter One: The Nature and Limits of Criminal Law"— Presentation transcript:
1 Dr. Patrick Bamwine Chapter One: The Nature and Limits of Criminal Law
2 Some Important Concepts… DemocracyConstitutionsPrinciples of criminal liabilityDefenses to crimePrinciple of limited methods
3 Limits to Law Non-criminal wrongs “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.
4 Limits to Law Social condemnation Friends and other people who matter should criticize what the actors did and maybe even cut off their relationship with them for doing it.Individual conscienceLeave the control to the individual’s guilty conscience.
5 Limits to Law No action Ignore what the actors did Nolle Prosequi = No ProsecutionSocial encouragementThe actors should be praised for what they did
6 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 bansEqual protection of the lawLegislatures can’t define crimes and punishments that apply differently based on inherited characteristics (race, ethnicity, gender, and age)Individual rights and libertiesLegislatures can’t make crimes that violate the rights to free speech, religion, and privacy
7 Principles of Criminal Liability A conduct that was committedUnjustifiably and inexcusablyInflicts or threatens substantial harmTo individual or public interests
8 Criminal Liability Actus reus (criminal act) We punish people for what they do, not for what they intend to do or for who they areMens rea (criminal intent)Punishment(at least for serious crimes) depends on the blameworthiness of the intent that triggers the criminal actConcurrenceCriminal intent (mens rea) has to trigger criminal acts (actus reus) and cause criminal harm
9 Crimes vs. Non-criminal wrongs (Torts) Crimes are actions brought against members of the societyNon-criminal (civil) wrongs also known as “torts”, makes it possible for one individual to sue another and receive monetary compensationsCrime is different from “torts” in the sense that crime hurts the community, but “torts” hurts only the individual
10 Limits on PunishmentsThe constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishments8th AmendmentThe principle of limited methods
11 Trends in PunishmentHistorically, societies have justified punishment on the grounds of retribution, deterrence, and rehabilitationRetribution dominated penal policy until 18th century, when it was replaced with deterrence and incapacitationRehabilitation replaced deterrence in the late 20th century and was the major form of punishment until 1960.By mid-1980’s retribution and incapacitation were the primary forms of criminal punishment.
12 Criminal Punishment Criteria for criminal punishment Inflict pain or other consequencesPrescribed within the law defining the crimeAdministered intentionallyAdministered by the state as punishment
13 Criminal Punishment (Continued) PreventionGeneral deterrenceSpecial deterrence (Specific)IncapacitationRehabilitationRetributionAn “eye for an eye” captures the idea of retribution
14 General & 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
15 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.
16 Societal Controversy… Grading CrimesMalum in seInherently evil conduct that has injurious consequencesMalum prohibitumConduct prohibited by law because they are not evil in nature.Societal Controversy…Every society may disagree on what is “evil” behavior and what behavior “should” be criminalized by society. Examples:Viewing sex offenders differently county by countyDifferent states having different ages at which a child can be treated as an adult for a crime
17 Definition of Crimes Crimes against the state: Crimes against persons: Domestic & foreign terror.Crimes against persons:Murder & rape.Crimes against property:Stealing & trespass.Crimes against public order and morals:Aggressive panhandling & prostitution.
18 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 have existed from Aristotle in 350 B.C to the Magna Carta in 1215, they include:FairnessLibertyDemocracyEquality
19 “No Crime Without Law: No Punishment Without Law” This proposition means that a person can not be convicted of, or punished for a crime unless the law defined the crime and prescribed the punishment before he or she acted.The case of Treva Hughes (Hughes v. State 1994) is an excellent example.
20 Legislative & 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 this law making includes: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”.
21 Sources of Criminal Law U.S. ConstitutionState constitutionsCommon law of England & U.S.U.S. criminal codeState criminal codesMunicipal ordinancesJudicial decisions interpreting codes and the common law
22 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, 13 original states adopted the common law, Florida was one of those states.Federal common law crimesU.S v. Hudson and Goodwin (1812)
23 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 state adopted the MPC completely, but it influenced all of them to an extent.
24 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. One of such questions isCan legislatures authorize administrative agencies to create regulations, when there is a criminal penalty for violating such regulation?
25 Reading case law… Facts of the case Action of the court Intention of the courtQuestion - Legal issue(s) involvedDecisionAffirmReverseReversed and Remanded – 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” = 319N.W.2d = Northwestern Reporter, Second Series459 = page number, 459(Neb. 1982) = Nebraska Supreme Court in the year 1982
28 Apply a “Slice of Reality”: Marital Rape Until 1993, most states did not criminalize the rape of a spouse (i.e. it did not count as “rape”)…Even after 1993, some states saw it relevant to provide “exceptions” (e.g. if the spouse is asleep or cannot physically provide consent)Some debate still exists on whether “marital rape” should exists as a criminal lawLook up marital rape law(s) in your state and learn the history and possible current debate!
29 Key Terms Principle of legality Torts Felonies Misdemeanors Malum in seMalum prohibitumGeneral parts of criminal lawSpecial parts of criminal lawRetroactive criminal law makingRule of lenityCommon law crimesModel Penal Code (MPC)Administrative crimesRetributionPreventionPrinciple of legality