CRM/LAW C144 Lecture 8: Elements of Just Punishment (04/27/17)

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University of California - Irvine
Criminology, Law and Society

LECTURE 8 Thursday, April 27, 2017 Elements of Just Punishment (p. 224) Duty to Act • Good Samaritanism o In the book, it says that it requires you to act when you see a crime taking place ▪ Not how it’s generally used in the legal system o Generally, Good Samaritanism refers to civil laws, protection against liability o Good Samaritan laws protect you from being liable for a reasonable act to save another person, not requiring people to act ▪ This is to encourage people to act Three Elements of Just Punishment 1. Formulations a. Govern the people b. Warn people that certain acts are illegal i. How much warning does the law have to apply? 1. Activist judges: Makes their own laws a. Breaking precedent/prior decisions b. Defining when it’s ambiguous i. Interpret the law c. (e.g.) Brown v. Board of Education i. Separate but equal is not legal because you don’t get equality ii. That’s a liberal example of breaking the precedent d. (e.g.) Citizens United i. The court previously ruled unconstitutional all prior laws on campaign contributions, the idea is that our campaign should not be a function of the best politician you can buy ii. Money and how you spend it is free speech, which is constitutionally protected 1. Unrestricted campaigning with money iii. This is an example of conservative activism e. Judges have their own opinions… 2. Institutions a. Empowered to enforce those formulations 3. Procedures a. How the institutions apply the formulations Commonwealth v. Mochan (p.150) • Defendant, a male juvenile, was constantly calling a girl and harassing her, charged with a common law misdemeanor o He was soliciting her for sex • Can he be convicted of a common-law crime? o No law specifically against it ▪ Issue of prior warning? ▪ Ignorance of law? o Despicable behavior – question is, is it illegal? • The court said it was illegal, that common law is sufficiently broad to punish any act that openly outrages decency and is injurious to public morality o Clearly immoral and bad behavior, so we should be able to be punish him Shaw v. Director of Public Prosecutions (p.152) • Publication of a directory of prostitutes and their services o This is the oldest profession in the world ▪ A business transaction • “Conspiracy to corrupt the public morale” • Should we use activism? o The class says no, it shouldn’t be illegal ▪ Two consenting parties Discussion • Sex hot lines, sexual gratification phone calls • Thailand travel arrangements for the purpose of underage sex o Booking the flights, hotel rooms, addresses, current charges ▪ Facilitating the commission of the act ▪ Still responsible to some extent o What if the age of consent is 15 years old in Thailand? ▪ Then he would be facilitating what’s legal in another country… McBoyle v. United States (p.154) • Petitioner was convicted of transporting across state lines (Ottawa, Illinois, to Guymon, Oklahoma) an airplane he knew to have been stolen • Issue: Whether the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act applies to aircraft o “motor vehicle” includes “any other self-propelled vehicle not designed for running on rails” o Everyday speech and the popular sense? • Construe the law in light of what’s most favorable to the defendant o Vehicle does not include airplane • The statute doesn’t say airplane, so judge does not interpret the law actively United States v. Dauray (p.155) • Arrested in possession of pictures (or photocopies of pictures) cut from one or more magazines o Found Dauray in possession of thirteen unbound pictures of minors, pieces of magazine pages and photocopies of those pages • Whether this is in violation of 18 USC §2552(a)(4)(B) o Punishes the possession of (inter alia) “matter,” three or more in number, “which contain any visual depiction” of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct • Construed the law, if ambivalent, in a way most favorable to the defendant o Rule of lenity, or a requirement that “in criminal prosecutions, ambiguities in the statute must be resolved in the defendant’s favor” Keeler v. Superior Court (p.163) • Five months after obtaining a divorce, a man intercepted his ex-wife on a mountain road. She was in an advanced state of pregnancy by another man; fetal movements had already been observed. Her ex-husband said to her, “You sure are pregnant. I’m going to stomp it out of you.” He shoved his knee into her abdomen and struck her. The fetus was delivered stillborn, its head fractured • The issue here is, can they charge him with murder? • The law said the crime of murder, “unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought”, Penal Code section 187 • The law didn’t define a fetus as a human… o The issue was whether the fetus which the petitioner is accused of killing was, on February 23, 1969, a “human being” within the meaning of the statute o If not, the petitioner cannot be charged with its “murder” • California courts never interpreted fetuses as humans • Relies on Bouie v. City of Columbia o The Court reasoned that the due process restrictions on courts include the same ex post facto restrictions applicable to legislatures. VAGUE: MOST FAVORABLE? • When you’re looking at vague statutes, you interpret it in the view most favorable to the defendant Winters v. New York • Defendant was convicted of misdemeanor of possessing books that could incite violence and depraved crimes o Unconstitutionally vague ▪ Overbreadth – it reaches too far, and into the First Amendment rights ▪ How it is applied People v. Price • Application of statute against nude exposure, designed to prevent topless bars o Topless bars were in vogue in New York City at the time • Price was wearing a fishnet blouse o More holes than there are mat
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