Chapter 2 Notes
Chapter 2 Notes CJ100
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lauren Heller on Monday August 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CJ100 at 1 MDSS-SGSLM-Langley AFB Advanced Education in General Dentistry 12 Months taught by Stephen Clipper in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views.
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Date Created: 08/29/16
Chapter 2 Definition of crime An appropriate definition of crime remains a critical unresolved issue in criminal justice Many dangerous and harmful behaviors are not crimes Many less dangerous or harmful behaviors are crimes Social definition of crime A typical social definition of crime is behavior that violates the norms or social mores of society A norm or social more is any standard or rule regarding what human beings should or should not think, say, or do under given circumstances Unfortunately: Norms or social mores vary from group to group Norms or social mores are subject to interpretation Norms or social mores change from time to time and place to place A legal definition of crime Crime is an intention violation of the criminal law or penal code, committed without defense or excuse and penalized by the state The major advantage of a legal definition of crime, at least on the surface, is that it is narrower and less ambiguous than a social definition of crime Problems with a legal definition Over criminalization arises in the so-called victimless crimes Gambling Prostitution involving consenting adults Homosexual acts between consenting adults Use of some illegal drugs, such as marijuana Nonenforcement is common for: White-collar crimes Government crimes Nonenforcement causes disrespect for the law Under criminalization Very harmful and destructive action or inactions that are not criminal, but should be An example is a corporation’s intentional production of a potentially hazardous product to maximize profits Elements of crime A legal definition of crime is the basis of criminal justice in the united states Technically and ideally, a crime has not been committed unless the following elements are present Harm For a a crime to occur there must be harm, either physical or verbal Harm is the external consequence required to make an action a crime Thinking about committing a crime is not a crime A verbal threat to strike another person is a crime Legality Two aspects: The harm must be legally forbidden A criminal law must not be ex post facto A harm must be legally forbidden for the behavior to be a crime, and e law must not be retroactive Ex post facto A law that 1 declares criminal an act that was not illegal when it was committed, 2 increases the punishment for a crime after Actus Reus Refers to intentional criminal conduct, or criminal negligence Crimes involves not only what people do but also things they do not do Mens Rea Refers to the mental aspect of crime: criminal intent or a guilty state of mind Criminal conduct is usually limited to intentional or purposeful action or inaction and not to accidents Sometimes, negligence or reckless action can be criminal Negligence is the failure to take reasonable precaution to prevent harm Responsibility In the US, an offender is not considered responsible or less responsible of he or she: Acted under duress Was underage Was insane Acted in self-defense or defense of a third party Was entrapped Acted out of necessity Duress Person did not want to commit a crime, but was forced to do so against his or her will, he or she committed the crime under duress Age A child under the age of 7 is not responsible for criminal acts In most states, youth under the age of 18 are not considered entirely responsible for their criminal acts; they have committed juvenile delinquency Insanity A legal term that rests on the assumption that someone who is insane at the time of a crime lacks the capacity to form mens rea Refers to mental and psychological impairment or retardation Self defense Generally, people are relieved of criminal responsibility if they use the amount of force reasonably necessary in self-defense or defense of a third party Entrapment People are generally considered not responsible or less responsible for their crimes if they committed the crime through entrapment Occurs when a person who was not already predisposed to it is induced into committing a crime by a law enforcement officer or by his/her agent Necessity Necessity defense can be used when an act was committed with mens rea but under specific extenuating circumstance Example when a crime committed to prevent a more serious crime Causation For behavior to be a crime, there must be a causal relationship between the legally forbidden harm and the actus reus The criminal act must lead directly to the harm without a long delay Concurrence There must be concurrence between the actus reus and the mens rea The criminal conduct and the criminal intent must occur together Punishment A behavior to be considered a crime, there must be a statutory provision for punishment or at least the threat of punishment
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