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Criminal Justice 101- Chapter 3 NOTES

by: Renée

Criminal Justice 101- Chapter 3 NOTES Criminal Justice 101


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Outline on Criminal Justice in Action by Larry Gaines and Roger Miller (ch3)
Justice and Society
Angela Morrison
Class Notes
Criminal Justice
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This 11 page Class Notes was uploaded by Renée on Thursday February 4, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Criminal Justice 101 at Grand Valley State University taught by Angela Morrison in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Justice and Society in Criminal Justice at Grand Valley State University.

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Date Created: 02/04/16
Criminal Justice 101 February 3, 2016 Chapter 3: Inside Criminal Law *** All notes aredirectly from the book of Criminal Justice in Action*** ***None of the writing is my work, it is an outline of the notable information from the book*** Written Sources of American Criminal Law:  Initially, American criminal law relied on precedents  Written sources: o U.S. constitution o Statues and ordinances o Regulatory laws o Case law  Constitutional law: Law based on the U.S. Constitution and the constitutions of the states o Supreme law of the land o State constitutions generally follow federal laws (some don’t such as the marijuana laws) and are supreme within the state’s borders  Statutory law: The body of law enacted by legislative bodies o There are federal statues and state statutes  State: laws enacted by state legislature  Federal: enacted by the U.S. Congress o The original federal crimes:  Treason, piracy, and counterfeiting  Today there are many more today (in the thousands) o Supremacy clause: A clause in the U.S. Constitution establishing that federal law is the supreme law of the land and will always have more power than state constitutions or statues o Ballot initiative: A procedure through which the citizens of a state can force a public vote on a proposed change to state law, given they have enough support in the form of signatures  Administrative law: The body of law created by administrative agencies in order to carry out their duties o A regulatory agency is a federal, state, or local government agency established for a specific function o If regulatory laws are broken they can be seen as criminal offenses  Case law: The rules of law announced in court decisions o Precedents: A court decision that furnishes an example of authority for deciding subsequent cases involving similar facts The Purposes of Criminal Law:  Two functions: o To keep social order by protecting citizens from criminal harm which includes  Individual safety  Society’s interests o Protecting society’s moral values  Views are usually a society’s accepted norms  Teaches social values  Issues with this are due to the difference of values across the country Classification of Crimes:  Three different types of classification: o Civil and criminal law  Civil law: The branch of law dealing with the definition and enforcement of all private and public rights as opposed to criminal matters  Disputes are between private individuals or entities  Uses torts for these private disputes  Plaintiff: The person or institution that initiates a lawsuit in a civil court proceeding by filing a complaint  Defendant: In a civil case, is the individual or entity that the action is being brought against, whereas in a criminal case it is the person who has violated a criminal law  The burden of proof  Beyond a reasonable doubt: The degree of proof required for criminal cases to find the defendant guilty  Preponderance of evidence: The degree of proof required to decide in favor of one side or the other in a civil case that implies that it is more likely than not that something is true o Felonies and misdemeanors  Felony: A serious crime punishable by death or imprisonment for a year+  Degrees of felonies  Capital offenses: Maximum punishment is death  First degree: Maximum punishment is life imprisonment  Second degree: Maximum punishment is ten years of imprisonment  Third degree: Maximum punishment is five years of imprisonment  Misdemeanor: A criminal offence that is less serious than a felony  Imprisonment from a misdemeanor sends the offender to jail instead of prison  Types of misdemeanors  Gross: punishable by 30 days to a year of jail  Petty: punishable by fewer than 30 days in jail  Probation and community service are imposed on most misdemeanor offenders  Infraction: A noncriminal offense for which the penalty is a fine instead of imprisonment o Crimes mala in se and mala prohibita  Mala in Se: A term for acts that are morally wrong regardless of the law  Reflects the moral principles of society  Mala Prohibita: A term for acts that are made illegal that are not specifically wrong on a moral level  It is considered wrong due to being prohibited Elements of a Crime:  Corpus Delicti: The body of circumstances that must exist in order for a criminal act to have happened o Elements:  The actus reus  The mens rea  Concurrence  Causation  Attendant circumstance  The outcome involving harm o Actus reus: A guilty act  The act of commission must be present  Must be voluntary  Omission can be a crime in certain instances  Usually has the duty if the two individuals or groups based on relationships  Attempt: The act of taking steps to commit a crime regardless if carried out  Gives a lesser punishment then fulfilling the action o Mens rea: A wrongful mental state or intent which is necessary to establish liability  Types  Negligence: A failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonable person would in certain situations  Recklessness: The state of being aware that a risk exists but ignoring it and still doing the act  Degrees of crime  Willful murder: Intent to kill, excludes negligence or accidents  First Degree Murder: Premeditated or deliberate killing  Second Degree Murder: No premeditation or deliberation but disregards the consequences of the action  Manslaughter  Voluntary manslaughter: A homicide where intent to kill is present but lacks malice  Involuntary manslaughter: A homicide where the offender does not intend to kill the other  Strict liability crimes: Crimes which the defendant is guilty regardless of circumstance or state of mine  Protects the public by eliminating the possibility of a defendant claiming ignorance  Statutory rape: A strict liability crime where an adult and a minor take part in a sexual act  Being an accomplice to a crime is also punishable if  There was intent to help the offender  They receive commission from the offender  Felony-murder: An unlawful homicide that occurs during a felony o Concurrence  For a criminal act, the guilty act and intent must both happen together o Causation  The harm suffered had to specifically caused by the criminal act o Attendant Circumstance: The facts surrounding a criminal event that must be proved to convict the defendant of the underlying crime  Must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt  Hate crime laws: A statue that provides for greater sanctions against crimes targeting people based on race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, gender, disability, or age  Recent type of crimes o Harm  The result of most crimes is a person that was the victim of harm  Inchoate offenses: Conduct deemed criminal without harm actually occurring  Conspiracies are an example of this  Conspiracy: A plot by two+ people to carry out an illegal or harmful act Defenses Under Criminal Law:  Two routes: o The defendant is not responsible for the crime they committed o The defendant was justified in their actions  Infancy: A condition that excused criminal acts of young children due to their lack of comprehension o Children under the age of 7 can not be held responsible for their actions  Insanity: A defense for liability of committing a crime due to the mental state of the offender o Measuring sanity  Elements of insanity:  Offender does not comprehend the consequences of their actions  Offender does not know the act is wrong and criminal  Offender is not able to control their actions  Tests:  M’Naghten Rule: An insanity test of criminal responsibility that relies on the defendant’s ability to set right and wrong apart  Substantial-Capacity Test: An insanity test that states a person is not responsible for their criminal acts when unable to understand their behavior is wrong  Irresistible-Impulse Test: An insanity test where the offender knows their action was wrong, but they could not control themselves due to mental deficiency  If found to be mentally ill, the offender might serve sentence in a psychiatric hospital  Competency hearings: A court proceeding to determine if a defendant is mentally competent enough to sentence  Intoxication: Defense for criminal liability where the defendant claims that the level of intoxication they were at made them unable to make decisions  Involuntary: When a defendant unknowingly consumes an intoxicating substance  Voluntary: When a defendant willingly participated in getting intoxicated  To claim a valid defense of being unaware of a law:  The law must not have been published or is recent  The defendant relied on an inaccurate official statement o Justification  Duress: Unlawful pressure on a person that causes them to preform an act they normally wouldn’t  Only is duress if  The threat is of serious harm or possibly death  The harm threatened is greater than the harm of the crime  The threat must be immediate and unescapable  The defendant became involved through none of their own action  Self defense: The legally recognized privilege to protect one’s self or property from injury of another person  Amount of force  Can use the amount of non-deadly force needed to protect  Deadly force is only permissible if there is reason to believe death or extreme harm will occur  Duty to retreat: Requirement of a person claiming self defense to prove that they first tried to leave the situation before using force  Necessity: Defense against criminal liability where the defendant proves that the circumstances made it necessary to commit the crime  Entrapment: Defense where the defendant claims that they were induced by a public official to commit a crime that they otherwise wouldn’t have committed Procedural Safeguards:  Substantive criminal law: The rights and duties of individuals in respect to each other  Procedural criminal law: The manner which the rights and duties of people may be enforced  Bill of rights: The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution o These are used as safeguards of the accused so their rights are not infringed o Offers protection from the government  Due Process Clause: The provisions of the 5 and 14 th amendments that guarantee no one is deprived of life, liberty, and property o Procedural due process: A provision that states the law must be carried out in a fair and orderly manner o Substantive due process: The requirement that laws used in accusing and convicting offenders are fair  Victim’s rights o Recent legislature now protects victims better o There are federal and state level laws designed to aid victims and give them more rights  Crime Victim’s Right Act (2004)  Informs victims of help and information on their rights  Gives victims the right to be present at court hearings  Allows victims to speak about what happened to them


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