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Introduction to Law and Criminal Justice
Transcript of Introduction to Law and Criminal Justice
Introduction to Law
& Criminal Justice
Legality Principle &
Elements of a Crime
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Role of Criminal Law
Defining Criminal Behavior
Social System to Govern
Safeguard Individual freedoms
Reasonableness of Regulations
Preserve Fairness in Government – Citizen Interaction
Establish Guidelines for Government Actors to Fact/Truth Find
Sources of Law
Assigning Appropriate Weight
Identification of Rights and Interest
Balancing State and Citizen interest
Ex Post Facto
Arbitrary and Erratic arrests
Fails to notify ordinary person
Elements of a Crime
Preponderance of the evidence
Clear and Convincing Evidence
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Tennessee Code Annotated 39-17-308 - Harassment —
(a) A person commits an offense who intentionally:
(1) Threatens, by telephone, in writing or by electronic communication, including, but not limited to, text messaging, facsimile transmissions, electronic mail or Internet services, to take action known to be unlawful against any person and by this action knowingly annoys or alarms the recipient; (italics added for emphasis).
(4) Communicates with [“or about another person or transmits or displays an image” – new amended language from Bill HB300/487] by any method described in subdivision (a)(1), without legitimate purpose:
(A) (i) With the malicious intent to frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress; or
(ii) In a manner the defendant knows, or reasonably should know, would frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress to a similarly situated person of reasonable sensibilities; and
(B) As the result of the communication, the person is frightened, intimidated or emotionally distressed.
(D) A violation by a minor of subdivision (a)(4) is a delinquent act and shall be punishable only by a fine of one hundred dollars ($100), or twenty (20) hours of community service, without compensation, for charitable or governmental agencies, or both, as determined by the court.
Physical Component of the Crime
The Act must be voluntary
Voluntary Conduct =
A set of movements that represent an ACT of will
Failure to Act
Placed in Peril
When is an ACT non-culpable?
Not a product of effort of the Actor
Behavior that the actor is unaware of and over which there is no conscious control
What does Mens Rea mean?
Ex. Failing to stop at a Stop Sign
Ex. Statutory Rape
Model Penal Code
It was the conscious object to cause the resulting harm
Practically certain that the action will cause the specific result/harm
Consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the conduct will cause the social harm of the offense
Should be aware that the conduct creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm
S 125.27 Murder in the first degree. A person is guilty of murder in the first degree when:
1. With intent to cause the death of another person, he causes the death of such person
S 125.20 Manslaughter in the first degree. A person is guilty of manslaughter in the first degree when:
1. With intent to cause serious physical injury to another person, he causes the death of such person
125.15 Manslaughter in the second degree. A person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree when:
1. He recklessly causes the death of another person;
S 125.10 Criminally negligent homicide.
A person is guilty of criminally negligent homicide when, with criminal negligence, he causes the death of another person.
Cause - in - Fact
* But For...
* Legally Defined Cause
After Original Actor's Act
V's actions are a
to conditions created by defendant
An event will be Superseding ONLY if it is NOT a normal and reasonably foreseeable result of original act.
Reasonable Person Standard
Any Social Harm Defined and Made Punishable by Law
Conduct deemed criminal without actual harm being done
How close did D come to completing the offense?
Did D's conduct unequivocally manifest criminal intent?
1) An act constituting a substantial step in a course of conduct planned to culminate in commission of the crime; AND
2) the act is "strongly corroborative" of the criminal purpose.
Lying in wait, searching for, or following
Intent + Act + Failure
Plea in Denial
Confession and Avoidance
Impede Free Choice
Competency to Stand Trial
be at the
Be able to
testify on their
Ability to present evidence and witnesses
Dusky v US
"Defendant must understand the Nature and Object of Proceedings"
Ability to consult with counsel and assist in his defense...
Defendant has a rational, as well as a factual understanding of the proceedings
Model Penal Code
Federal Insanity Reform Act 1984
nature and quality
of the Act...
2) Did not know the Act was wrong
Laboring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, to...
As the result of mental disease or defect,
Defendant acted with an irresistible and uncontrollable impulse,
Or, lost the power to choose between right and wrong,
And could not avoid doing the act in question, as free will was at the time destroyed.
As the result of a mental disease or defect - defendant lacked the
the criminality of the actions
2) Conform conduct to the law
- OR -
As a result of a
mental disease or defect,
Defendant was unable to appreciate the nature and quality,
Or the wrongfulness of his acts…
Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity
2 Issues to Balance
Clear and Convincing evidence that the person...
has a mental disorder
BECAUSE of that mental disorder, is:
Dangerous to self or others
Involuntary Civil Commitment
- AND -
Unable to provide for basic personal needs and safety.
- OR -
period of time to determine if...
that the individual will attain competency in the foreseeable future.
If not -
Move to ICC
Mental Health and the Law
"I did it...BUT..."
Prosecution bears complete weight of proving all elements of the crime
Threat of Death or serious bodily injury
No role in creating situation
Lesser of Two Evils/ Choice Between Two Evils
Clear and Imminent Danger
No effective legal alternative
The harm must be "Lesser"
Limitations to Necessity Defense
No Necessity Defense
Duty to Retreat?
Entrapment - Subjective
Entrapment - Objective