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Chapter 2 Notes

by: Lauren Heller
Lauren Heller


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About this Document

These notes were taken from the class lecture and cover chapter 2
intro to criminal justice
Stephen Clipper
Class Notes
Criminal, Justice, Criminal Justice
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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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