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criminal law week 2a

by: Khaila Coissiere

criminal law week 2a CRJU 4780

Khaila Coissiere
GPA 3.74

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chapter 1 book notes
Criminal Law
Dr. Johnson
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This 6 page Bundle was uploaded by Khaila Coissiere on Sunday August 28, 2016. The Bundle belongs to CRJU 4780 at Georgia State University taught by Dr. Johnson in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see Criminal Law in Criminal Justice at Georgia State University.


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Date Created: 08/28/16
Chapter One: The Nature, Purpose, and Function of Criminal Law ­ Criminal law is the foundation of the criminal justice system  ­ Defines conduct that many lead to an arrest by the police, trail before the courts, and  incarceration in prison I. The nature of criminal law i. Crime is whatever the law declares to be a criminal offense and punishes  with a penalty ii. Important feature of a crime is that it is an act that is officially condemned  by the community and carries a sense of shame and humiliation  II. Criminal and civil law i. Civil law is branch of law that protects the individual rather than the  public interest  ii. Legal action for a wrong is brought by an individual rather than by a state  prosecutor iii. Injury is primarily to you as an individual and little harm to society iv. Conviction of a crime requires high standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt v. Civil wrong is established by lower standard of proof by preponderance of evidence or roughly 51% certainty vi. High standard in criminal cases reflect the fact that a criminal conviction  may result in a loss of liberty and significant damage to an individual’s  reputation and standing in community vii. Tort – an injury to a person or his/her property viii. Civil liability is based on preponderance of evidence standard ix. Criminal conviction carries possibility of loss of liberty and is based on  higher standard of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt x. Sexually violent predator act of 1994 authorized institutional confinement  of individuals who due to a “mental abnormality’ or a “personality  disorder” are likely to engage in “predatory acts of sexual violence” III. The Purpose of criminal law i. Criminal law primarily protects interest of society ii. Civil law primarily protects interests of individual iii. Primary purpose or function of criminal law is to help maintain social  order and stability IV. The principles of criminal law i. Study of substantive criminal law involves an analysis of the definition of  specific crimes and of the general principles that apply to all crimes  ii. Criminal procedure involves a study of legal standards governing the  detection, investigation, and prosecution of crime iii. Criminal procedure is concerned with “how the law is enforced” iv. Criminal law involves “what law is enforced” v. Basic principles that compose the general part of criminal law 1. Criminal act  crime involves an act or failure to act  actus reus 2. Criminal intent  mens rea 3. Concurrence  must coexist or accompany one another Chapter One: The Nature, Purpose, and Function of Criminal Law 4. Causation  5. Responsibility  nullum crimen sine lege nulla poena sin lege (no  crime without law, no punishment without law) 6. Defenses V. Categories of Crime a. Felonies and misdemeanors i. Felony – crime punishable by death or by imprisonment for more than one year  ii. Misdemeanors – crimes punishable by less than a year in prison iii. Capital felonies – crimes subject either to the death penalty or to life in  prison in states that don’t have death penalty  iv. Gross misdemeanor – crimes subject to between 6 and 12 months in prison v. Violations or infractions – acts that cause only modest social harm and  carry fines  offenses so minor imprisonment is prohibited  vi. Noncriminal violations are primarily punishable by a fine or forfeiture of  property vii. Severity of punishment imposed is based on seriousness of particular  offense b. Mala in se and mala prohibita i. Mala in se crimes are considered “inherently evil” and would be evil even  if it wasn’t prohibited by law (ex. Murder, rape, robbery, arson, burglary,  larceny) ii. Mala prohibita are not “inherently evil” and only considered wrong  because they are prohibited by a statute (Ex. Tax evasion, carrying a  concealed weapon, leaving scene of an accident, and being drunk and  disorderly in public) iii. Law provides that individuals convicted of a “crime or moral turpitude”  may be deported from USA c. Subject matter i. Crimes against the state ii. Crimes against the person: homicide iii. Crimes against the person: sexual offenses and other crimes iv. Crimes against property and habitation  v. White collar crimes vi. Crimes against public and social order and morality vii. Crimes against the administration of justice VI. Sources of criminal law i. English and American common law  English and American judge­made  laws and English acts of parliament ii. State criminal codes  comprehensive written set of laws on crime and  punishment iii. Municipal ordinances  cities, towns, and counties authorized to enact  local criminal laws usually of minor nature 1. Laws regulate city streets, sidewalks, and buildings Chapter One: The Nature, Purpose, and Function of Criminal Law iv. Federal criminal code v. State and federal constitution  vi. International treaties vii. Judicial decisions b. The common law i. English common law is foundation of American criminal law ii. Origins of common law can be traced to norman conquest of England in  1066 iii. Principles that compose this common law began to be written down in  1300  iv. Distinctive characteristic of common law is that it is the product of  decisions of judges in actual cases v. Louisiana followed French Napoleonic code until 1805 c. State criminal codes i. 1812 USSC proclaimed federal courts are required to follow law  established by congress and wasn’t authorized to apply common law ii. began to abandon common law in mid 19  century iii. Indiana revised statutes of 1852 proclaims that crimes and misdemeanors  shall be defined and punishment fixed by statutes of state and not  otherwise iv. Common law states – common law may be applied where state legislature  hasn’t adopted a law in a particular area (ex. Missouri and Arizona) v. Reception statute – states “receive” common law as an unwritten part of  their criminal law (Ex. Florida) vi. Code jurisdiction – acts or omissions only punishable that are contained in state criminal code (ex. California, Ohio and Utah)  vii. Most state statutes are based on common law d. State police power i. State governments possess the broad power to promote public health,  safety, and welfare of residents of state ii. Police power – includes “duty…to protect well­being and tranquility of  community” and “prohibits acts or things reasonably thought to bring evil  or harm to its people” e. The model penal code f. Federal statutes i. Federal criminal code – criminal laws adopted by US congress ii. Supremacy clause – US constitution provides that federal law is superior  to a state law within those areas that are preserve of the national  government  preemption doctrine iii. Interstate commerce clause – to regulate interstate commerce as providing  authority to criminally punish harmful acts that involve the movement of  goods or individuals across state lines iv. Sharing of power between the federal and state governments  dual  sovereignty  Chapter One: The Nature, Purpose, and Function of Criminal Law g. Constitutional limitations i. Ability of legislators to enact criminal laws is also limited by public  opinion VII. The criminal justice process i. Criminal investigation – detecting and investigating criminal offenses 1. Determine whether a crime has been committed 2. Identify who committed the crime ii. Arrest – authorized to execute an arrest of an individual and to place  him/her in custody 1. Police may seize suspect with warrant or obtain an arrest warrant  from judicial official  2. Could be searched at time of arrest iii. Post­arrest – recording information about arrestee and taking mug shots  and fingerprints iv. Post­arrest investigation v. Criminal charge – brought before magistrate (lawyer appointed by district  court judge for 8­year term) and informed of charges against them and  right to silence and counsel  1. Warrantless arrest  Gerstein hearing to determine whether there  was probable cause to arrest and detain the suspect  vi. Pretrial – magistrate determines whether there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed crime charged in the complaint 1. Motion for discovery  court order requiring prosecution to turn  over information to defense 2. Nolle prosequi  dismiss the complaint 3. Arraignment  informed of charges against them, advised of their  rights, and asked to enter a plea vii. Pretrial motions viii. Trial ix. Sentencing x. Appeal xi. Post­conviction VIII. The structure of the federal and state court systems i. Concurrent jurisdiction  joint authority of federal and state courts over  certain areas b. The federal judicial system i. Lowest level 1. 94 district courts (Federal trial courts of general jurisdiction) and  hear every type of case 2. venue for prosecutions of federal crimes  ii. magistrate judge authorized to issue search warrants, conduct preliminary  hearings, and rule on pretrial motions submitted by lawyers 1. also may conduct misdemeanors trials with approval of defendant iii. organized into 11 regional circuits Chapter One: The Nature, Purpose, and Function of Criminal Law iv. circuit courts of appeals sit on 3­judge panels  en banc v. USSC sits at top of hierarchy of federal and state courts (Aka court of last  resort)  vi. USSC sets precedent and is binding authority on every sate and every  federal court in USA vii. Any court in country that hears a case involving an issue on which USSC  has rued is required to follow Supreme Court’s judgment  viii. State decisis  to stand by precedent and to stand by settled points ix. Ways to reach USSC: 1. Original jurisdiction – disputes between federal government and  state, between states, involving foreign ministers on ambassadors 2. Writ of certiorari – appeal from decision of court of appeals  a. 4 judges must vote to grant certiorari for lower court  decision to be reviewed by USSC  rule of four x. ability of a petitioner to compel state to demonstrate that he/she has been  lawfully detained  most important safeguards for individuals liberty and  guaranteed in Article I, Section 9, Clause 2 of US Constitution  xi. 5 of 9 Supreme court justices are required to agree if they are to issue a  majority opinion  1. decision will constitute a legal precedent  xii. concurring opinion – expresses his/her own view xiii. per curiam decision – an opinion of entire court without any single justice  being identified as author  xiv. USSC and other federal judges are appointed by US president and  approved by US senate and have lifetime appointments as long as they  maintain “good behavior” c. State judicial systems i. Prosecutions 1  initiated or originate in courts of original jurisdiction  ii. Courts of limited jurisdiction (aka municipal courts, police courts, or  magistrate’s courts) prosecute misdemeanors and specified felonies iii. Judges in municipal courts also hear traffic offenses, set bail, and conduct  preliminary hearings in felony cases iv. Judges preside over criminal cases in these courts without jury v. Judge sits without jury  bench trial vi. Courts of general jurisdiction – hear more serious criminal and civil cases vii. Trial de novo – completely new trial is conducted that may involve same  witnesses, evidence, and legal arguments that formed basis of 1  trial (Aka circuit courts, district courts, or courts of common pleas) 1. Have jurisdiction over cases that arise in a specific county or  region of state viii. Appeal as a matter of right may be filed to an intermediate court, usually  sits in panels of 2 or 3 judges ix. Appeals court doesn’t hear witnesses or consider new evidence Chapter One: The Nature, Purpose, and Function of Criminal Law x. Supreme Court is court of last resort in a state system and has final word  on meaning of local ordinances, state statutes, and state constitution  xi. Discretionary appeal – review decision of a lower court and will do so at  its discretion  xii. States that don’t have intermediate appellate courts, appeals may be  directly taken from trail courts to state supreme court xiii. Some states elect judges in a partisan election in which judges run under  label of political party xiv. Other states hold nonpartisan elections in which judges aren’t identified as belonging to political party  xv. Other states judge are elected by state legislature xvi. Appointment by governor with consent of legislature IX. Precedent i. 1  impression – case that presents an issue that court has never previously  decided on  ii. persuasive authority – cases to be considered in reaching a decision 


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