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Chapter 3: Inside Criminal Law
Transcript of Chapter 3: Inside Criminal Law
Part I: Written Sources of Law
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1. Constitutional Law
federal & states
Constitution = supreme law of the land, USSC determines if other laws violate this
10th Amendment: any power not expressed toward the federal government is given to the states!
Federalism...means each state has its own Constitution with supreme law within its borders
#1: Willful Murder: willful killing, depends on the mens rea
1st Degree: premeditated instead of spontaneous, decided after a process of decision making
2nd Degree: no premeditation but had malice afterthought/disregard toward victim
#2: Manslaughter: homicide committed without malice toward victim
voluntary manslaughter: crimes of passion; intent to kill is present but with no malice
involuntary manslaughter: careless acts, but with no intent to kill
Part II: Civil vs. Criminal Law
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Agrees what they did was against the law, but is still justified in doing so
Procedural Criminal Law
Bill of Rights
Why do we need Laws?
Civil Law = all types of law, besides criminal...involves disputes between individuals and entities
Part III:Elements of a Crime
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Criminal Law = court convened to determine if defendant is guilty (civil law focuses more on the responsibility)
Chapter 3: Inside Criminal Law
Corpus Delicti: "body of the crime". Proof that a specific crime has happened.
2. Statutory Law
statutes enacted by legislative bodies (also includes ordinances by cities and counties
How many different criminal codes in America?!?
Federal criminal code: original vs. modern day
3. Administrative Law: rules, orders, and decisions of regulatory agencies (what is that??)
Example: Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency
certain laws can be a criminal violation (but not all)
4.Case Law: precedent
interpretations of constitutional provisions, statutes enacted by legislatures, regulations created by administrative agencies
AKA Common Law!
Varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction because it relies on how courts interpret a statute
maintain social order by protection citizens from criminal harm
physical safety & property
society's collective interests
purpose is to reflect values and norms of society
CJ Process serves to 'teach a lesson' to society of what is acceptable and what is punishable
Initiated by individual or corp., resolution of torts (private wrongs) is where the injured party (plaintiff) proves that wrong was committed by the defendant
Burden of Proof: both civil and criminal law tries to control behaviors with sanctions
easier to win monetary damages than criminal convictions
criminal = beyond a reasonable doubt
civil = preponderance of evidence
imprisonment for 1+ year(s), or death penalty
4 Degrees: Capital Offenses; 1st; 2nd; 3rd
fine/confinement for up to 1 year
go to local jail
gross misdemeanor is 30 days to a year
petty misdemeanor is less than 30 days in jail
Infractions: noncriminal offenses, usually will not appear on record and require fine to be paid
mala in se --> wrong even if there was no law prohibiting it; considered 'natural law' which includes the moral principles of society
mala prohibita --> wrong because it has been prohibited and codified through statutes
1. Actus Reas = guilty act
Act of commission must be voluntary.
Omission can be a crime, but only when they have a legal duty to perform the omitted act
criminal thoughts alone do no harm unless acted upon ("attempted" charges applicable only if substantial steps have already been taken!)
2. Mens Rea
1. Purposefully=desires to engage in criminal activity, or to cause a criminal result
2. Knowingly=aware of illegality, or suspect it
3. Negligence=deviates from standard of care that a reasonable person would use...took an unjustifiable risk that resulted in harm
4. Recklessness=consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk
Mens Rea Affects These
-> Strict Liability Crime = no mens rea required; protects the public by not allowing offenders to use ignorance/mistake of law as a defense
->Accomplice Liability = no actus reas required; must have 'dual intent' of aiding the person who actually committed the crime...this 'aid' would lead to the crime occurring
Exceptions for Mens Rea & Actus Reas
Actus Reas and Mens Rea occur TOGETHER
act causes the harm suffered
5. Attendant Circumstances
Accompanying circumstances depends on the state
Ex: type of weapon used, monetary amount involved...etc.
crimes categorized by the harm resulted from the act (the level of severity)
inchoate offenses=conspiracies, threats, or attempt at criminal act was made
Less than 7 years old can't be legally liable
7-14 years old lacked capacity of criminal behavior
>14 years old adult
States determine age (usually 18); youth sent to juvenile court system and prosecutors decide on charges
INSANITY: state of mind cannot claim legal responsibility for actions
How do we Measure criminal insanity?
Requirements for insanity as a defense means there cannot be any perception of physical nature or the consequences of conduct....the offender does not know the action is wrongful and/or cannot sufficiently control him or her self.
Three 'Standards' Tests used in the courtroom:
1. M'Naughten Rule: 1843 case, legally insane if cannot distinguish between right and wrong at the time of the crime.
about half the states use this
New Hampshire expands on this by using a 'product test'
2. ALI/MPC Test: early 1960s
substantial capacity test-->offender lacks 'substantial capacity' to either "appreciate the wrongfulness" of conduct or to conform that conduct to the requirements of the law
3. Irresistible Impulse Test: can be found insane even if offender found the act to be wrong, as long as some "irresistible impulse" (that is a result of a mental deficiency) drove them to commit the crime
Psychiatry is more commonly used to determine if the defendant is for to stand trial.
After arrest, before sentencing; if incompetent then everything stops, then continues after treatment if it is restored.
forced to inject/ingest substance, or unaware beverage contains drugs
.....why is this a viable defense??
only ever used when defendant was so intoxicated that mens rea was not there
**12 states deny this**
excluded in strict liability crimes (mens rea does not matter!)
Only accepted if the public did not know of the law OR offender relied on an official statement of the law that was erroneous
Only a defense if it negates the mental state necessary to commit the crime
Wrongful threat by another; negates the mens rea
Against self, other person, property, or prevention of crime
Nondeadly Force used to protect themselves, property, or other crime prevention
Deadly Force used if imminent death or harm is there; cannot initiate or provoke act...must be no other option!
Duty to Retreat: cannot use deadly force if there is an opportunity to run away
Courts weigh the harm caused by the crime vs. the results if it had not been done
Law enforcement deceives a defendant into wrongdoing