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Crim C10 - Week 1 notes

by: Edward Avakian

Crim C10 - Week 1 notes Crm/Law C10

Edward Avakian
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About this Document

These notes were from Tuesday and Thursday of Week 1.
William Thompson
Class Notes
Crim, criminology, Law, Fundamentals




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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Edward Avakian on Thursday March 31, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Crm/Law C10 at University of California - Irvine taught by William Thompson in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 87 views. For similar materials see FND CRM, LAW & SOC in Criminology and Criminal Justice at University of California - Irvine.

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Date Created: 03/31/16
Crim C10 Lecture 1 Week 1 03/29/2016 ▯ This course will examine some key foundational questions underlying the study of crime, law, and society, such as:  What should, and should not, be illegal?  What kind of law ought we have?  What laws are just, fair, optimal?  What is justice? ▯ ▯ These kinds of questions are most commonly discussed in moral philosophy, but are important in evaluating the law. We’ll consider the overview provided by Michael Sandel in his book “Justice.” ▯ ▯ Consider people torturing/killing animals in China for sexual gratification = crime  EX) Woman clothed in loose garments stepping on a cat ▯ ▯ Criminology = crime, why people do it, how to solve it ▯ ▯ Law and society = the law and where it comes from  The underlying social, political, and economic forces that lead law to be developed ▯ ▯ Central questions in Crim, Law & Society  Where does law come from? Why do we have the particular laws we have? Why are some things criminal? Why do laws change over time? o In other words, who make the rules, and why?  Who breaks the rules and why?  How and how well do we deal with rule breakers? ▯ ▯ Questions about origin of law—Why we have the laws we have  Procedural/Jurisprudential – What legislative, judicial or regulatory activity created these laws?  Social theory—What social forces led society to adopt these laws?  Psychological—What causes individuals to favor particular kinds of laws? ▯ ▯ Social Theory Perspective  Emile Durkheim—law is the product of social consensus (shared values) o Law is based in individual morality o Argues that it is impossible to eliminate crime; there’s always going to be variation in behavior o Some of us will always find objections to what others are doing; “our way is better than their way” o Crime is a perfectly normal thing  Karl Marx—law is a tool used by a dominant elite to protect their economic interests o All about economics and power o Society is divided up into classes and there are certain people who have more money and more power than other people; they have disproportionate influence on political process and use that influence to bring about laws that benefit them more than others  Max Weber—law is the result of a formal, rational process of deliberation o Law changes over time because we become more rational and more consistent with our true underlying values o Idealistic viewpoint on law ▯ ▯ Justice  How to distribute the fruits of prosperity and burdens of hard times?  How to define the basic rights of citizens?  What does it mean to maximize welfare, respect freedom and cultivate virtue? ▯ ▯ What makes a good law?  1) Does it promote the general welfare, contribute to human happiness, and reduce suffering? (utilitarian approach)  2) Respect individual rights?  3) Promote virtue and the good life? ▯ ▯ Midterm and final exams are going to be multiple choice (maybe 50 questions) ▯ ▯ Attend 6/9 discussion sections = extra credit ▯ ▯ Utilitarianism  English philosophers John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) and Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) were the leading proponents of what is now called “classic utilitarianism” ▯ ▯ The Basic idea of utilitarianism  The greatest happiness principle: o “Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness” – John Stuart Mill o Happiness = pleasure, and the absence of pain o Unhappiness = pain, and the absence of pleasure ▯ ▯ Happiness is the only thing that has intrinsic value  “pleasure, and freedom for pain, are the only things desirable as ends…all desirable things are desirable either for the pleasure inherent in themselves, or as means to the promotion of pleasure and the prevention of pain” ▯ ▯ Utilitarians were social reformers  They supported suffrage for women and those without property, and the abolition of slavery.  Utilitarians argued that criminals ought to be reformed and not merely punished (although Mill did support capital punishment as a deterrent)  Bentham spoke out against cruelty to animals  Mill was a strong supporter of meritocracy ▯ ▯ Proponents emphasized that utilitarianism was an egalitarian doctrine  Everyone’s happiness counts equally ▯ ▯ The Trolley Problem  Try to simplify the situation down and to say “what would you do” or “what would be the morally right thing to do”  EX) Should you save the greatest number? (Trolley going straight and killing 5 people or turning trolley off track and kill one) ▯ ▯ Crim C10 Lecture 2 Week 1 03/31/2016 ▯ Foundational Questions  What laws are just? What laws ought we have? o Utilitarian approach –consequences for happiness o Human rights approach o Focus on virtue  Why do we have the laws we have? o Social consensus about values (Durkheim)  Murder is bad in a consensus and it should be illegal  By making murder illegal and making it punishable to commit murder, passing of laws is a way for society to portray its values and refine itself o Influence of the economic elite (Marx)  People who are wealthy have disproportionate influence through media, education, etc. so people learn how to think about certain types of things o Rational ideals (Weber)  Why do people favor some laws over others? o A question addressed by psychologists like Jonathan Haidt (see his TED video) o Examines how liberals and conservatives focus on values  Harm – more important for liberals  Fairness – more important for liberals  Loyalty  Purity/Sanctity  Authority; conservatives view all points ass equal ▯ Initial Focus: Moral Philosophy  Methodology – hypothetical moral dilemmas  Used to: o Illustrate the nature of moral arguments o Identify conflicts between theory and moral perceptions (which can stimulate insights and analysis) ▯ Moral/Legal Issue #1  Should there be a law against price gouging during emergencies? ▯ California Price Gouging Law  Prohibits increasing the price of goods and services more than 10% after the governor declares a state of emergency  California passed this form of anti-price gouging law in 1994, based on events of price gouging during the Northridge earthquake of 1993  Penalty: imprisonment for up to a year; fines up to $10,000. ▯ Martin Shkreli  CEO, Turing Pharmaceuticals o Company he controlled bought the rights to a drug that treated parasitic infections o Selling for $13 a pill he raised the price to $750 or so a pill  Did he behave morally? o Called before Congress to explain his views o He had the libertarian rights view of point  Should his actions have been illegal? ▯ Moral character and military valor  Purple Heart – who gets it? Why? o The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces of the US who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action. It is specifically a combat decoration. o Honors sacrifice not bravery  Should it be awarded to those with PTSD?  This is an example of how the utilitarian theory can’t answer all the issues ▯ Special forces in Afghanistan ▯ ▯ The Basic idea of utilitarianism ▯ ▯ Objections to utilitarianism  Human rights argument o For certain things, whether everyone is happy or not, you need to respect the rights of every human being  Difficulty of “trans-personal utility comparisons” o How do you measure people’s happiness? How do you compare my happiness against yours? ▯ The Trolley Problem  Should you always save the greatest number of people possible, possibly at the cost of one life? o Sandel’s answer = utilitarianism isn’t always the answer; you need human rights ▯ The Mignonette, 1884 (Queen v Dudley)  Parker evidently was the sickest, and he had no wife or children; it only seemed fair, Dudley reasoned, that he be the one killed  Parker was 17 years old and an inexperienced seaman ▯ ▯


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