Do Now Read the article silently to yourself and reflect on it by answering the questions
Criminal Justice ICriminal Law Mr. Concannon Smith
Written Sources of American Criminal Law • American criminal law originally was uncodified, but has since been written down and made accessible to all • American criminal law is also referred to as “substantive” criminal law, and is available in several written sources • The United States Constitution and various state constitutions • Statutes, or laws, passed by Congress and by state legislatures, plus local ordinances • Regulations created by regulatory agencies • Case law (court decisions)
Constitutional Law • The law as expressed in the United States Constitution and the constitutions of various states • The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. • Each state has its own constitution, which is the supreme law of the respective state (but the US Constitution maintains supremacy over the state constitutions as stated above)
fornication |ˌfôrniˈkāSHən|noun • sexual intercourse between people not married to each other
Case Law Referring to MGL 272 section 18 • Fort v. Fort, 12 Mass. App. Ct. 411 (1981). "The crimes of fornication, adultery, and lewd and lascivious cohabitation are never, or substantially never, made the subject of prosecution.” • Attorney Gen. v. Desilets, 418 Mass. 316 (1994). "This statute is of doubtful constitutionality, at least as applied to the private, consensual conduct of persons over the age of consent."
Do Now • What is direct democracy? • Think back to your US History I course! • Why were the founders so wary of it?
Modern Code and Voter Made Law Mr. Concannon Smith
Modern Penal Code • First Model Penal Code was released in 1962. (American Law Institute) • The code defines the general principles of criminal responsibility and codifies specific offenses • There are essentially fifty-two different criminal codes in the United States • one for each state, the District of Columbia, and the federal government • Ballot initiatives in 24 states allow voters to approve proposed measures that can be enacted into law
Ballot Initiatives • At the state and local level, voters can write or rewrite criminal statutes through a form of direct democracy known as a ballot initiative. • A group drafts a proposed law and gather signatures (petition) to get the proposal on that year’s ballot • If a majority of the voters approve the measure, it is enacted into law. • Currently, 24 states and the District of Columbia accept ballot initiatives
Example in MA • 2008: Decriminalizing Small Amounts of Marijuana Possession • possession of one ounce or less of marihuana shall only be a civil offense, subjecting an offender who is eighteen years of age or older to a civil penalty of one hundred dollars and forfeiture
Referendum • Popular referendum – The people may challenge a law recently passed by the legislature. If enough signatures are gathered, the law will be put to a vote by the people who may vote to nullify the law or uphold the law.
Activity Death with Dignity
Administrative & Case Law Mr. Concannon Smith
Administrative Law • Rules, orders, and decisions of regulatory agencies • Regulatory agencies are federal, state, or local government agencies established to perform a specific function • Example: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) oversees the safety and health of American workers • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) serves as another example • Disregarding certain laws created by regulatory agencies can result in criminal prosecution
Case Law • Another basic source of American criminal law consists of rules of law announced in court decisions • Case Law includes interpretations of constitutional provisions • Also referred to as common law or judge-made law • Precedents are judge-made decisions that may be used to help decide subsequent cases (stare decisis)
Precedent Defined noun |ˈpressid(ə)nt| • an earlier event or action (think preceding) that is regarded as a guide to be considered in subsequent circumstances • (if something is unprecedented than nothing like it has happened before) • IN LAW a PRECEDENT is a previous case or legal decision that may be or (binding precedent) must be followed in subsequent similar cases: the decision set a precedent for others to be sent to trial in the US.
Purposes of Criminal Law Mr. Concannon Smith
The Purposes of Criminal Law • Protect and punish: the legal function of the law • Primary function is to maintain social order by protecting citizens from criminal harm • Variety of criminal harm can fall into two categories • Harms to individual citizens’ physical safety and property (murder, theft, arson) • Harms to society’s collective interests (unsafe food, consumer products, a polluted environ.)
Flammable Fabrics Act • Passed 1953 regulates the manufacture of highly flammable clothing and fabrics. The Consumer Protection Safety Commission can issue mandatory flammability standards. • Standards have been established for the clothing textiles, vinyl plastic film, carpets and rugs, children's sleepwear and mattresses and mattress pads. • Penalty: • Imprisonment for not more than 5 years for a knowing and willful violation
Social Functions of Criminal Law • Expressing public morality • The main purpose of the criminal law is to reflect the values and norms of society • A society’s view of morality change • Teaching societal boundaries • Laws teach values that are the expressed expectations of society • Various laws also can teach society about the consequences of non-compliance, thus reinforcing the social order
Teaching Through Punishment • Fining Speeders, Revoking License, Reckless Driving • Criminal Record • VA example: • 2 days in jail for every mph over 90 mph, and, if over 100 mph, add an additional 30 days in jail to that total. • Thus, someone convicted of doing 94 mph will get 8 days in jail, and someone doing 101 mph gets 52 days in jail! (crime = time ?)
Classification of Crimes Civil Law and Criminal Law *two categories of law distinguished by their primary goals
Criminal Law • Criminal justice system is concerned with protecting society form harm by preventing and prosecuting crimes • Crime is an act so reprehensible that it is considered a wrong against society as a whole • State prosecutes a person who commits a criminal act • Persons found guilty of a crime will be punished by government by imposing fines or imprisonment or both
Civil Law • Includes all types of law other than criminal law • Concerned with disputes between private individuals and between entities • Proceedings in civil lawsuits are normally initiated by private individuals and between entities • Disputes may involve terms of a contract, ownership of property, or an automobile accident • Torts, or “private wrongs” involve disputes between an “injured” party (the plaintiff) and the accused (the defendant)
Major Distinction Guilt Responsibility A civil court is concerned with assigning responsibility for the plaintiff’s injury or loss Much more flexible concept • A criminal court determines if a defendant is guilty of the criminal offense which he or she has been charged
Example • 19 year old George Baldwin was paralyzed in a car accident in 2011. • An Illinois judge partially blamed Laura Pfeifer • Baldwin had been drinking beer with Pfeifer’s underage daughters at Laura Pfeifer’s house before losing control of his car • Even though the mother was unaware of the teenagers’ activities, the judge decided that she was liable (legally responsible) for his injuries because she should have monitored her daughters behavior more closely.
MA Bullying Law • Look over the handout and answer the following: • Do you see any examples of legal precedent? Where, and how do you know this? (hint: in MA Law on Cyberbullying) • Compare the Florida case with MA Law. • Name the Aggressors • Name the Target • Do you think this FL case meets the legal definition of bullying in Massachusetts? • Use evidence from BOTH the article and the law to support your answer • Do you think the parents should be charged? Why/why not?
Felonies and Misdemeanors Mr. Concannon Smith
Burden of Proof • Two systems, criminal law and civil law, are completely separate in the modern legal system, but have similarities • Both attempt to control behavior by imposing sanctions on those who violate the law • Often supplement each other, as a victim may file a civil suit against an individual who also is the target of criminal prosecution (example George Zimmerman) • The burden of proof in criminal court is beyond a reasonable doubt, a much greater standard than that which is applied in civil court • The burden of proof in civil court is preponderance of the evidence
Felony v. Misdemeanor • Crimes are classified as felonies or misdemeanors based on their degree of seriousness
Felonies • Felonies are serious crimes punishable by death or imprisonment in a federal or state penitentiary for one year or longer; for example from the Model Penal Code we see: • Capital offenses—the maximum penalty is death • First degree felonies—the maximum penalty is life imprisonment • Second degree felonies—the maximum is ten years imprisonment • Third degree felonies—the maximum is five years imprisonment
Degrees Vary State-to-State • Despite the minor variations: • Murder in the first degree—when the crime is premeditated and deliberate • Murder in the second degree—occurs when there is no premeditation or deliberation, but the perpetrator did have malice aforethought toward the victim • Homicide—without malice aforethought towards the victim, known as manslaughter • Voluntary manslaughter occurs when the intent to kill was present, but malice was lacking • Involuntary manslaughter occurs when the actions of the defendant were careless, but there was no intent to kill
Misdemeanors • Punishable by a fine or by confinement for up to a year • If imprisoned, the guilty party goes to a local jail instead of a penitentiary • Gross misdemeanors—offenses punishable by thirty days to a year in jail • Petty misdemeanors—offenses punishable by fewer than thirty days in jail • Infractions—punishable only by a small fine and does not appear on a wrongdoer’s criminal record
Strikes in MA List of Felonies in MA that count as “Strikes” under new Melissa Law
Do Now For an act to be a crime, do you think the accused person must have intended to commit the crime (i.e. is it necessary for the person to have a “guilty mind”)? Consider a situation where a person might have committed a criminal act without meaning to. Should the person be charged? Would it be fair to be convicted of the crime?
Elements of a Crime Mr. Concannon Smith
Mala in se • Considered wrong even if there were no law prohibiting it • Said to go against “natural laws” • Against the “natural, moral, and public” principles of society • Examples include murder, rape, and theft
Mala prohibita • Refers to acts that are considered crimes only because they have been codified as such through statute • “Human-made” laws • Considered wrong only because it has been prohibited; it is not inherently wrong • Definitions can vary from country to country or state to state