CRJU (2) Basic Definitions of Law, Types of Laws, and Crime
CRJU (2) Basic Definitions of Law, Types of Laws, and Crime crju110
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kristen Pruett on Friday February 19, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to crju110 at University of Delaware taught by Parker, Karen in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 20 views. For similar materials see INTRO TO CRIMINAL JUSTICE in Criminal Justice at University of Delaware.
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Date Created: 02/19/16
Basic Definitions of Law, Types of Laws, and Crime ● Law: body of rules which defines which behaviors are forbidden ● Civil Law: all law that is not criminal ○ ex. torts (personal wrong; causing some to suffer loss emotionally, economically, or reputational), contracts, property disputes, and commercial law; like divorce ○ (Miller vs. Jones) ● Criminal Law: the body of rules that defines crimes, sets out their punishments, and mandates the procedures in carrying out the criminal justice system ○ (Miller vs. State of Delaware) ○ standard necessary to prove guilty = “beyond reasonable doubt” ● Crime: as defined by criminal law ○ an intentional or omission, or an act in violation of criminal statutes, committed without defense or justification, and sanctioned by the state as either a felony or a misdemeanor ● Felony: a more serious offense that carries a penalty of incarceration in a state prison, usually 1 or more years ● Capital Felony: punishable by death or life imprisonment ● Question: Does a person convicted of a felony offense lose any right? ○ Answer: Yes, right to vote, bear arms, cannot serve jury duty, can adopt children, might not get social security or grants for school ● Misdemeanor: a minor offense usually punishable by less than 1 year’s imprisonment in a local institution such as a county jail (ex. prostitution) ● Must be proven “Beyond Reasonable Doubt”: ○ 4 elements are required: ■ 1. Actus Reus (guilty act) ■ 2. Mens Rea (guilty mind) ■ 3. Concurrence ■ 4. Causation ● Concurrence and causation sometimes go together ○ 1. The Guilty Act ■ includes: ● Aggressive action ● Inaction/failure to act ○ examples of legal duty include poverty/child, physician/patient, contractual relation ● relationship of parties based on status ○ ex. husband/wife, parent/child ● imposition by statute ○ laws that require a person who observes an act to aid ● contractual relationships ○ ex. physician/patient, babysitter/child, etc. ○ 2. The Guilty Mind ■ law acknowledges four types of intent ● general intent ○ only requires that a defendant know, in general terms, that the type of conduct in which he/she is engaged, even if the actor does not foresee the result, that the conduct may produce harm ■ direct evidence of intentionality is rare (specific intent) ■ thus, we must infer from the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident ● specific intent ○ direct evidence of a person’s state of mind ■ requires that the action have formed the intent in his/her mind in specific conduct and to cause a particular result ● constructive intent/malice ● transferred intent (also called “bad aim”) ○ the theory of transferred intent in criminal law has a long history ■ ex. if a man A attempts to shoot man B but he misses and kills man C by accident, the intent is transferred ○ Felony Murder Doctrine ■ Mens Rea ● degrees/gradation of mental fault ○ negligently > recklessly > knowingly > purposely ■ example of recklessly everyone know you can’t shake a baby, so if you do and you kill it it was reckless ■ drunk driving you didn’t mean to kill anyone, but you know you can’t drive intoxicated ■ Standard of Evidence ● both guilty mind and act must be proven ● the only exception is strict liability crimes ○ those do not require mens rea; liability without faulty ■ such as public welfare crimes that statutes prohibit such as traffic laws ● ex. if you are speeding you don't need mens rea to prove you were speeding, the cop just gives you a ticket whether you think or know you were speeding or not ■ Strict Liability Crimes ● certain public welfare (e.g. handgun possession) and sexual offense (e.g. statutory rape, bigamy, and adultery) do not require... ○ 3. Concurrence: establishes the relationship between the act and the mind ■ guilty mind > guilty acat ○ 4. Causation: determination of “cause in fact” or “proximate cause” (eliminating other rival cause) ■ linking the harm to the cause ■ addressing the question, would the harm have occurred if not for the action/inaction of another? ● Formula: ○ Act + Intent + Concurrence + Causation + Injury + Harm + Prohibited Act = Crime
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