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Chapter 1 and Part 1 of Chapter 3

by: Nicole Wolfe

Chapter 1 and Part 1 of Chapter 3 CJ 341

Marketplace > University of North Dakota > Criminal Justice > CJ 341 > Chapter 1 and Part 1 of Chapter 3
Nicole Wolfe
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About this Document

Notes cover all the notes from chapter 1 and the beginning of chapter 3
Criminal Law
Kristi Venhuizen
Class Notes
Criminal Justice




Popular in Criminal Law

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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Nicole Wolfe on Thursday September 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CJ 341 at University of North Dakota taught by Kristi Venhuizen in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 65 views. For similar materials see Criminal Law in Criminal Justice at University of North Dakota.


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Date Created: 09/01/16
Chapter 1 - Fundamentals of Criminal Law and Procedure What is criminal law?  Formal means of social control  That branch of law prohibiting certain forms of conduct and imposing penalties on those who engage in prohibited behavior.  Core function is to punish wrongdoers Substantive Law  Prohibits certain forms of conduct by defining crimes and establishing parameters of penalties (burglarize, lie to judge, etc.)  Examples: possession of heroin, driving under the influence of alcohol, urinating in public Procedural Law  Regulates enforcement of the substantive law, the determination of guilt and the punishment of those found guilty of crimes  Examples, regulating police search and seizure, trial procedure, right to attorney, sentencing 3 Fundamental Principles  Constitutional Supremacy: o Criminal law and procedure is subordinate to the U.S. Constitution  Federalism: o Division between national government and the 50 states  Separation of Powers: o The federal government and the states have separate legislative, executive, and judicial branches. What is a crime?  Actus Reus or Wrongful Act  Mens Rea or Criminal Intent o Not the same as motive o Having formed a mental purpose to act o Intentionally committed a prohibited act o Exceptions  Felonies o More serious crimes o Imprisonment for more than one year  Misdemeanors o Less serious offenses o Imprisonment for less than one year North Dakota Classifications of Crime  N.D.C.C. § 12.1-32-01: o Class AA felony – maximum life in prison without parole o Class A felony – maximum of twenty years and/or fine of $20,000 o Class B felony – maximum of ten years and/or find of $20,000 o Class C felony – maximum of five years and/or fine of $10,000 o Class A misdemeanor – maximum of one year and/or fine of $3000 o Class B misdemeanor – maximum of 30 days and/or fine of $1500 o Infraction – maximum fine of $1000 Purpose of criminal Law:  Government’s duty to protect lives and property of its citizens  Society’s interest in protecting the public peace, order, and safety  Preservation of public morality  Protect the public health and natural environment  Efficient and honest public administration and the administration of justice Morality and Justice:  Preservation of public morality is regarded as an important function of criminal law  Today this assumption is coming under question  Much of criminal law is based on the collective societal judgment of what is right and wrong  Law must reflect the prevailing morality of the people  Those values that are not widely shared will be subject to challenge Criminal law evolves as society’s standards change  Examples: blasphemy, not going to church on Sunday, cohabitation Criminal law is viewed as wrongs against society, not specific victims  Victim starts the action by filing a formal complain with the police  Victim becomes a witness in the prosecution **Criminal law is based on the premise that individuals are responsible for their actions and must be held accountable for them.*** Criminal Law vs. Civil Law  Civil law – provides remedies for private wrongs where the state has less interest o Breaches of contract: violation of agreements o Torts: wrongful act that violates a legal right of the injured party (physical)  Example: car crash, tree fell on garage  want money to fix it  Civil Law and Criminal Law often overlap – when conduct is criminal and also involved a tort o Example: State v. O.J. Simpson; Brown/Goldman v. O.J. Simpson ORRRRR like a car crash where someone is driving drunk (criminal) and you get injured and want them to pay for your car, time without work, hospital bills etc. (civil) Origins and Sources of Criminal Law  Mala in se: o Inherent wrongs o Universally condemned behaviors o Examples: murder, rape, robbery and arson  Mala prohibita: o Offenses only because they are defined by law as wrong o Society’s collective judgment that certain conduct is contrary to the public good o Examples: gambling, possession of drugs, underage drinking Law in the Western World  Code of Hammurabi – Babylonia 2000 years before Christ  Draco’s strict code – Athenian city – states in 7 century BC o Today very strict rules/penalties are referred to as “Draconian” th  Twelve tables – Roman Law in 5 century BC  Code of Justinian – 6 century AD codification of Roman Law  Napoleonic code – 1804 codification of law in France o Became a model of a uniform system of law for the Western European nations o Considered a “Roman law”” system – based on the primacy of the statutes enacted by the legislature o Created a code subject to minimum judicial interpretation English Common Law  Common law – refers to those customs, traditions, judicial decisions, and other materials that guide courts in decision making but that have not been enacted by the legislatures into statutes or embodied in constitutions  In 1066 after the Norman Conquest, English law was a compilation of local customs  The new king appointed judges to settle disputes and these decisions became precedent to guide future judges  Decisions were based on customs and recorded to serve as precedent  Stare decisis – common law doctrine of following precedent  Common law developed through judicial decisions, not legal codes like Romth law  17 century saw the emergence of representative government in England  Dominance of common law courts diminished  Parliament began adopting statutes that revised and supplemented common law American Criminal Law  American criminal law is derived from the common law as it existed in 1776  States adopted common law to the extent it did not conflict with new state and federal constitutions o Louisiana is the only state based on the Napoleonic Code  Congress did not adopt common law  Congress passed statutes consistent with the US Constitution to create federal criminal law  Common law was eventually superseded by legislatively defined offenses or statues  The states have the primary responsibility to define crimes and punishments o Common law definitions have been updated o Local governments adopt ordinances  Federal government has a more limited role in developing criminal law o Congress does not have “police power” or the broad authority to enact prohibitions to protect public order, health, and safety o Limited authority to enact criminal laws that relate to Congress’ legislative powers and responsibilities  An individual can be prosecuted for violating federal and state criminal statutes Sources of procedural law  Legislative bodies by Enactment of Statutes o Promulgated by the courts through judicial decisions o Courts develop rules and court procedure Constitutional Limitations to the Development of Criminal Law  Bill of Rights – contains the most important constitutional provisions relative to criminal justice o Adopted by Congress in 1789 o Ratified by the states in 1791  Regulate both procedural and substantive law  First Amendment – prohibits government from passing laws interfering with freedom of speech  Fourth Amendment – prohibits unreasonable search and seizures  Fifth Amendment – protects against self incrimination  Sixth Amendment – right to trial by jury  Eighth Amendment – prohibits “cruel and unusual” punishment  Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment – guarantees due process  Most provisions of the Bill of Rights also apply to the states  States can grant greater protection than afforded under the US Constitution, but not less Role of courts  Courts through judicial decisions o Trial courts:  Make factual determinations  Apply settled law  Impose sanctions o Appellate courts:  Interpret constitutions and statutes  Precedent  Legal reasoning by analogy – preserve the past but also consider contemporary social, cultural, and economic norms o Theory behind common law – applying cultural norms o Developed rules to resolve ambiguity in the law Criminal process  Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments: o Forbid the taking of a person’s life, liberty or property without due process without due process of law o Due Process refers to the procedural safeguards that guarantee fairness  Fair Notice  Fair Hearing  Presumption of Innocence  Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: o Fact finder must achieve the “moral certainty” that arises from eliminating “reasonable doubt” as to the defendant’s guilt o Preponderance of the evidence standard used in civil proceedings  Less than 5% of cases go to trial  Causes of the “sieve effect”: o People admit guilt o Insufficient evidence o Procedural errors o Police misconduct o Plea bargaining  Pros and cons  US Supreme Court upheld the process as constitutional Chapter 3 - Constitutional Limitations on the Prohibition of Criminal Conduct Judicial Review  Framers of the US Constitution understood that the ability to make and enforce criminal law could be a serious threat to liberty o Created a Constitution to put limits on Congress’ ability to enact criminal statutes  Courts are empowered to declare null and void laws that violate the principles of the Constitution – judicial review o Marbury v Madison (1803)  Unconstitutional per se – inherently violates a constitutionally protected liberty  Unconstitutional as applied – law is facially valid but enforced in a ways that restricts a person’s constitutional rights Power to Enact Criminal Laws  Rule of Law – “There is no crime, there is no punishment, without law.” o No one can be guilty of a crime in the absence of a law prohibiting the conduct  Police powers – authority of government to enact legislation to protect the public health, safety, order, welfare, and morality o Vested primarily in the state legislatures  US Congress’ ability to enact criminal law is limited  Article 1, Section 8 enumerates Congress’ authority o Enumerated powers:  Power to establish rules governing immigration and naturalization  Punish piracies and felonies on the high seas  Punishment of counterfeiting US currency  Regulate interstate commerce  Artice 1, Section * - Necessary and Proper Clause o Doctrine of implied powers o McCulloch v Maryland (1819) o Expands Congress’ legislative authority o Must be plainly adopted to the goals of furthering one of Congress’ enumerated powers  Most significant enumerated power is to regulate interstate commerce  Congress has stretched the concept to justify broader authority to enact criminal statutes: o Ex: computer crimes, transportation of kidnapped persons or stolen automobiles, carjacking  Unites States v Lopez (1995) – struck down the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1990  United States v Morrison (2000) – struck down a federal civil remedy to victims of gender-motivated violence  Gonzales v Raich (2005) – upheld Congress’ authority to criminalize the possession and medicinal use of marijuana Delimitating the Crime of Treason  Treason – betrayal of one’s country o Making war against it o Giving aid and comfort to its enemy  At common law there was a special punishment – hanged, entrails removed, burned, head cut off, body divided into four parts, body parts at king’s disposal  English kings used treason to punish political dissenters o Framers wanted to protect against the abuse so drafted Article III, Section 3, paragraph 1 very specifically o Has to be proven by two witnesses or a confession in open court  Protects against being convicted on circumstantial evidence alone  Extremely difficult to convict a person for treason Ex Post Facto Laws  Ex post facto law exists when after an action is committed, the legislature then defines it as a crime, and a punishment is implemented o Article I, Section 9 prohibits Congress from enacting ex post facto laws  Principle of legality – people have the right to know in advance if conduct is illegal  Ex post facto only applies to criminal laws  Cannot apply laws retroactively o Must look to the law that existed at the time the illegal activity took place  4 types of ex post facto laws: o Law that makes an action criminal after the act was committed o Law that makes a crime greater than when it was committed o Law that inflicts a greater punishment than when the crime was committed o Law that alters the rules of evidence after the crime was committed  Examples: o Miller v Florida(1987) – Florida’s revised sentencing guidelines as applied to crimes committed before the enactment of the new guidelines o Carmell v Texas (2000) – defendant convicted under amended law allowing convictions based on testimony of child under age of 18 o Stogner v California (2003) – California increased the statute of limitations for child molestation cases Bill of Rights  First 10 amendments to the Constitution o Ratified in 1791  Baron v Baltimore (1833) – original view that the Bill of Rights only placed limitations on the US Congress, not the states  Fourteenth Amendment – ratified in 1868 o Section 1 stops states from depriving any person of life, or property without due process of law  Due Process Clause makes enforceable against the states those provisions of the Bill of Rights that are “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty”  Virtually all provisions of the Bill of Rights have made applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment o Doctrine of Incorporation


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