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Inside Criminal Law.

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Presentation on theme: "Inside Criminal Law."— Presentation transcript:

1 Inside Criminal Law

2 Written Sources of American Criminal Law
American criminal law is codified, or written down and accessible to all. This allows citizens to know which acts are illegal, and to understand the procedures used to determine an individual’s innocence or guilt. Written sources of law are known as substantive law.

3 Written Sources of American Criminal Law
The U.S. Constitution and the various state constitutions Statutes (or laws) and ordinances passed by Congress and state legislatures Regulations, created by agencies such as the federal Food and Drug Administration Case law (court decisions)


5 The Purposes of Criminal Law
Protect and Punish: the legal function of the law Maintain social order by protecting citizens from criminal harm Includes harms to both individuals and society in general Maintain and Teach: the social function of the law Expressing public morality Teaching social boundaries

6 The Elements of a Crime Criminal law normally requires that the corpus delicti (the body of the crime) be proved before a person can be convicted of wrongdoing

7 The Elements of a Crime Corpus delicti consists of:
Criminal Act - Actus reus Crimes may be acts of commission, or acts of omission, or even attempted acts. Mental State - Mens rea Intent is required to establish guilt of a crime. Intent includes elements of purpose, knowledge, negligence, and recklessness. Concurrance - The guilty act and the guilty intent must occur together.

8 The Elements of a Crime Mens Rea plays a crucial role in differentiating between varying degrees of criminal responsibility or criminal liability. Strict Liability – offenses hold the defendant guilty even if intent to commit the offense is lacking Accomplice Liability – Suspects can be charged for crimes they did not actually commit if it can be proven they acted as an accomplice

9 The Elements of a Crime Corpus delicti also consists of:
Causation - The criminal act caused the harm suffered. Attendant Circumstances – In certain crimes, accompanying circumstances are relevant to corpus delicti. Harm – Damages resultant from the criminal act. Inchoate offenses are conduct deemed criminal without actual harm being done.

10 Defenses Under Criminal Law
Excuse Defenses: These defenses apply When the actor lacks the requisite mental condition to form intent. There are four excuse defenses. Justification Defenses: These defenses apply when the defendant admits to the criminal act, but argues that the act was justified. There are four justification defenses.

11 Defenses Under Criminal Law
Excuse Defenses: Infancy - Youthful offenders cannot understand the consequences of their actions. Insanity- A person cannot have the state of mind (intent) to commit the crime if s/he didn’t know the act was wrong, or didn’t understand the quality of the act.

12 Defenses Under Criminal Law
Insanity is determined by: M’Naughten Rule A person is insane if they can’t distinguish right from wrong ALI/MPC Test Also known as the substantial capacity test, the defendant must lack the capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his/her conduct. Irresistible Impulse Test A person is insane if some “irresistible impulse” resulting from a mental deficiency drove him or her to commit the crime


14 Defenses Under Criminal Law
Excuse Defenses: Intoxication Voluntary and Involuntary Mistake Mistake of Fact Mistake of Law

15 Defenses Under Criminal Law
Justification Defenses: Duress The defendant is threatened with seriously bodily harm, which induces him/her to commit the crime. Self-Defense The defendant must protect him/herself from injury by another. Duty to retreat? “Castle Doctrine” no duty to retreat if in your home.

16 Defenses Under Criminal Law
Justification Defenses: Necessity Circumstances required the defendant to commit the act. Entrapment The defendant claims s/he was induced by police to commit the act. (Predisposed to commit the crime?)

17 Procedural Safeguards
Substantive Criminal Law: Law that defines the acts that the government will punish. Procedural Criminal Law: Procedures, drawn from the Bill of Rights, that are designed to protect the constitutional rights of individuals.

18 Procedural Safeguards
The Bill of Rights: The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was adopted by the states in Since then, seventeen more amendments have been added The Bill of Rights has served as the basis for procedural safeguards of the accused in the U.S.

19 Procedural Safeguards
Procedural safeguards in the U.S. Constitution include: Fourth Amendment provides protection from unreasonable searches and seizures Fifth Amendment requires that no one can be deprived of life, liberty, or property without “due process of the law,” including protections against double jeopardy and individuals being required to be a witness against himself or herself

20 Procedural Safeguards
Sixth Amendment guarantees a speedy trial, a trial by jury, a public trial, the right to confront witnesses, and the right to a lawyer at various stages of criminal proceedings Eighth Amendment prohibits excessive bails, fines, and cruel and unusual punishments Fourteenth Amendment provides due process and equal protection of the laws

21 Procedural Safeguards
Procedural due process is a provision in the Constitution that states that the law must be carried out in a fair and orderly manner Substantive due process is a Constitutional requirement that laws used in accusing and convicting persons of crimes must be fair.

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