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Criminal Law Exam Guide 1

by: Pamela Crockett

Criminal Law Exam Guide 1 CJ 341

Marketplace > University of North Dakota > CJ 341 > Criminal Law Exam Guide 1
Pamela Crockett
GPA 3.5

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About this Document

This study guide outlines the most important aspects of Criminal Law for the first exam.
Criminal Law
Kristi Venhuizen
Study Guide
Amendm, defenses, Bill of Rights
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This 6 page Study Guide was uploaded by Pamela Crockett on Monday September 19, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to CJ 341 at University of North Dakota taught by Kristi Venhuizen in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 264 views.


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Date Created: 09/19/16
Criminal Law Study Guide Exam 1 Criminal Law is the forma means of social control  Branch that prohibits certain forms of conduct and imposes penalties among violators  Core Function: punish wrongdoers Three Fundamental Principles: 1. Constitutional Supremacy 2. Federalism 3. Separation of Powers Crime: Actus Reus – wrongful act Mens Rea – Intent North Dakota Classifications of Crime Class AA Felony – LIFE in prison/no parole Class A – 20 years/$20,000 fine Class B – 10 years/same Class C – 5 years/$10K Class A Misdemeanor – 1 year/$3k Class B – 30 days/$1.5k Infraction - $1k (2 w/in 1 year results in a Class B Misd) Purpose of Criminal Law  Gov’t duty to protect lives and property  Protect public peace, order, and safety  Preserve public morality  Protect public health/natural environment  Efficient/honest public administration and admin. of justice Morality/Justice:  Preservation of public morality – important function of law  Most law is based on collective societal judgment of right/wrong  Values that are not widely shared are subject to change  Criminal law evolves as society’s standards change o Ex. – blasphemy, not going to church on Sunday, cohabitation…  Viewed as wrongs against society, not specific victims o Victim starts action by filing formal complaint w/ police, then becomes witness in prosecution  Criminal law is based on the premise that people are responsible for their actions and should be held accountable Criminal vs. Civil Law Civil – provides remedies for private wrongs where the state has less interest Suing people: Breaches of Contract – violation of agreement Torts – wrongful act that violates a legal right of injured party Civil and Criminal can overlap when conduct is criminal and involves a tort. Origins/Sources of Criminal Law: Mala in se – incoherent wrongs (universal)  Murder, rape, arson, robbery Mala prohibita – only “wrong” because law says so/contrary to public good  Gambling, drugs, etc.… American Criminal Law: Derived from common law – 1776  States adopted common law to the extent it did not conflict w/ new state and federal constitutions o Louisiana is the only state based on Napoleonic Code o Congress did NOT adopt common law o Passed statutes consistent w/ U.S. Constitution to create federal criminal law  Common law was eventually superseded by legislatively defined offenses or statutes o States have the primary responsibility to define crimes/punishments o Local gov’ts adopt ordinances  Federal gov’t has more limited role in developing Criminal Law o Congress does not have “police power” (broad auth. To enact prohibitions to protect public). A person can be prosecuted for violating federal and state criminal statutes! 2 Amendments 1. 1 Amendment: freedom of speech 2. 4 Amendment: search and seizure th 3. 5 thendment: self-incrimination 4. 6 thendment: jury trial 5. 8 Amendment: cruel/unusual punishment 6. 5 + 14 Amendments: due process Role of Courts Judicial Decisions: Trial courts – factual determination; apply settled law; impose sanctions Appellate courts – interpret constitutions; precedent Legal reasoning by analogy: Preserve the past but consider contemporary social, cultural, and economic norms Criminal Process: Due process clauses of 5 and 14 Amendments Forbid taking of person’s life, liberty, or property without due process of law Due Process: procedural safeguards to guarantee fairness!  Presumption of innocence  Proof beyond reasonable doubt – “moral certainty” Less than 5% of cases go to trial because…  Admit guilt  Insufficient evidence  Plea bargain  Police misconduct  Procedural errors Power to Enact Criminal Laws 3 Rule of Law: no crime, no punishment, without law (no one can be guilty of a crime in the absence of a law prohibiting the conduct). Police Powers: authority of gov’t to enact legislation to protect public health, safety, order, welfare, and morality.  Vested primarily in state legislatures Congress’ ability to enact criminal law is limited…  Article I, Section 8 – enumerates authority Powers: 1. Establish immigration rules/naturalization 2. Punish piracies/felonies on high seas 3. Punishment of counterfeiting 4. Regulate interstate commerce (most sig. power) a. Stretched to justify broader authority to enact criminal statutes (computer crimes, carjacking). Article I, Section 8 – Necessary/Proper Clause  Doctrine of implied powers  McCullock v. Maryland (1819)  Expands Congress’ legislative authority  Must be plainly adapted to the goal of furthering one of Congress’ enumerated powers U.S. vs. Lopez (1995) – struck down Gun-Free school zones act of 1990 U.S. vs. Morrison (2000) – struck down federal civil remedy to victims of gender- motivated violence Gonzales vs. Raich (2005) – upheld Congress’ authority to criminalize possession/medicinal use of marijuana Delimiting the Crime of Treason Treason: betrayal of one’s country o Making war against it At common law, there was a special punishment: hanged, entrails removed, burned, decapitated, body divided into 4’s, disposed by King English Kings used treason to punish political dissenters (Article III Section 3 Paragraph 1) – framers in open court (protects against circumstantial evidence). Ex Post Facto Laws: Only applies to criminal laws… 4  Exists after an action is committed, legislature then defines it as a crime – punishment implement. o Article I, Section 9 protects against this Principle of Legality: right to know if conduct is illegal  Cannot apply laws retroactively – must look at law that existed at the time the conduct took place… Four Types: 1. Makes an action criminal after act 2. Makes a crime greater than when it was done 3. Inflicts greater punishment 4. Alters rules of evidence after crime Examples… Miller v. Florida (1987) – retroactive sentencing Carmell v. Texas (2000) – underage testimony Stogner v. California (2003) – child molestation Failure to Act Act of Omission: Must be a legal duty to act  Relationship between actor and victim  Statutory duty (hitting a car)  Contract Inchoate Offenses Offense involving activity/step directed toward completion of crime  “underdeveloped”/” unripened” Attempt: Effort to accomplish a particular purpose  Failed what was intended  Actus Reus – overt act Defenses to Attempt: Legal impossibility – DEFENSE 5 Factual impossibility – NOT defense  Look at how the defendant believed the circumstances to be  Abandonment: prevents consummation of offense Defenses: Countermands the solicitation – NO DEFENSE Impossibility: NO DEFENSE 6


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