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University of Guelph
SOC 3490
Scott Brandon

LAW MIDTERM NOTES LEC WEEK 7  Criminal Law - Criminal law: deals w social control ([in]formal) - Punishment: retribution, incapacitation, deterrence - Adds to hegemony of ruling class, power over lower classes, public convinced elite act in our best interest (earliest laws dealt w the poor), poor targets b/c threaten capitalism - Instrumental Marxism: law tool of ruling class - OVL criticisms: law & crime political concepts, not objective & impartial - Criminalization of poor applied to “victimless” crimes (ex. squeegee kids) - Solutions – Ontario reform: Social Assistance Reform Act (SARA), govt claims welfare fraud serious problem, lifetime bans, problem only small # ppl convicted of fraud, don't fulfill mens rea or actus rea - Problems w govt power: extraordinary power, workfare, can terminate benefits for trivial reasons - Safe Streets Act (1999): Ontario govt, street kids, penalties ex. tickets or jail time o Coincides w war on poor – welfare cuts, remove strict rent controls, crackdown on homeless & squatters - Broken windows model: ignore/move and keeps getting worse, not really addressing problem LEC WEEK 8  Wrongful Convictions - OVL sees law as impartial & consensus model – untrue - Ppl most targeted: lower class, mental illness, minorities, homeless, ppl on fringe of society, easy targets, stems from adversarial nature of justice system - Eyewitness identification o Used 80% of time, 86% errors o Line ups, photos, composites – issue of sincerity o Why wrong??? Police suggestion, pressure to give false evidence, malleability of confidence - Community conviction pressure: high profile leads to police pressure, media fuels public - Forensic evidence: weighs on trial, flaws in forensics - False confessions o 25% wrongfully accused falsely confess o Why?? Pit ppl against, good cop/bad cop, physical force, public, juries, media, intimidate, no food/water/sleep, record carries weight, to save embarrassment, “sign and you can go home”, offer life instead of death penalty (or other advantages), persuaded they committed the crime (sometimes end up believing), fabricate to please interrogators o Recordings don't start until person beat down o Most under 25 (react diff, don't know rights) o Factors:  Age – lack maturity, older know system better  Mental facilities – many US jurisdictions don't take into account  Drugs, alch, sleep deprivation - Interrogation methods: confined rooms, lie about evidence, undermine denials, general questions (become friends), moral conscious (tell us youll feel better) - Tunnel vision of police – even after proven innocent still believe they are right, ppl promoted from these big cases - Police misconduct o Mr. Big Stings – trap, promise rewards, join criminal org o Noble Cause Corruption – bad acts justified in name of public good, plant/tamper w evidence, entrapment, pretend to be criminal too, ok to do anything b/c law on their side o Police feed media false info o Paid informants - Problems w wrongful convictions: effects on person (lose respect, family, years of life, may believe guilty, health problems, compensation) Steven Truscott - Investigation only 2 days, details confused, another claimed it wasn’t him, stories changed, injuries incorrect, was in school mins after time of death, criminal in area at time never looked into, structural problem and didn’t want to admit mistake LEC WEEK 9  CONT Wrongful Convictions - Sec 696.1 of Crim Code allows reviews of WC cases - Issues of official explanation: witnesses unreliable, juries often believe eyewitnesses - Why error possible: deception, witness “truth telling”, targets marginalized - Problems w components of justice system o Police  don't tell rights, lose or plant evidence on purpose, pick up wrong ppl b/c need suspect o Crown attorneys  make name fore themselves o Judges: class diffs, racism, biases (is jury constructed right) o Forensic experts - EX. Donald Marshall Jr., David Milgaard, Guy Paul Morin, William Mullins-Johnson, Steven Truscott - Structural problems w/I justice system: confessions rule o Ibrahim Rule o Voluntary confessions o Done w “operating mind” - Coerced confessions allowed: o Mr. Big Stings o Oickle (2000) rule – not excessive coercion o Coercion relative - Other structural problems: prosecution of corrupt officers of court, public/media pressure, public reaction to defendant, noble-cause corruption, out of date investigative techniques, tunnel vision Chapter 5 – Law & Social Control - 2 basic processes of social control 1. Internalization of group norms: consequence of socialization, learning rules of behaviour, develop self control 2. External pressures: -/+ sanctions, - penalties for norm violation, + sanctions reward conformity Informal Social Control - Social norms associated w feelings right/wrong, more effective face-to-face, simple societies closer norms - Folkways: established norms of common practices - Mores: societal norms associated w intense feelings right/wrong & rules of conduct not to be violated Formal Social Controls - More complex societies, increased % labour, hetero popn, competing subgroups - Social institutes securing conforming to established modes of behaviour & bodies to enforce - Usually not positive (rewards) Criminal Sanctions - Highly structured system, legislators enact & modified in courts & specify sanction, increased reliance on law - Legalization: process norms move from social to legal level - Ingredients of punishment as social control 1. Inflicted by group upon members of same group 2. Involves pain/suffering justified by some value that the suffering is assumed to have - Objectives of punishment 1. Retribution: retaliation against offender, match impact of crime on victim, state the agent 2. Incapacitation: prevent violator from misbehaving during time of punishment 3. Deterrence:  specific – intimidate person for future deviance VS general – warn potential criminals  assumes ppl weigh costs/benefits of actions, only deter some  effectiveness conditioned by operation of 3 variables 1. severity of offence punishment 2. certainty of punishment 3. speed w which applied - instrumental: material crimes VS expressive: behaviour itself the end Discord over Death Penalty - Past for property not violent crimes, last execution 1962 – 1976 abolished - Brutalization effect: increase violent crime Civil Commitment  Medicalization of deviance: define behaviour as medical problem/illness Crimes without Victims - Mala prohibita: behaviour made criminal by statute but no consensus on if they are criminal in themselves - Mala in se: evil in themselves, public agree on danger Drug Addiction - 1908 fist criminal narcotics legislation - 2 controversial alternatives 1. Consider drug use as medical not legal problem – emphasize comprehensive treatment 2. Legalization/decriminalization White Collar Crime - Effects 1. Decrease faith in economy & business leaders 2. Decrease confidence in political institutions/leaders 3. Erosion of public morality - Corporate crime: illegal activities to furtherance of business operations but not central to purpose of business Administrative Law & Social Control Licensing  belief law enforcement better achieved by prevention led to admin regulation primary mean of govt control - 3 regulatory agencies 1. Self governing bodies: conduct own members 2. Independent regulatory agencies 3. Departmental regulatory agencies Chapter 7 – Law and Social Control - Law dependent and independent variable in society, interdependent w other social institutions - Social change: modifications in the way ppl live & relate to e/o, ppl in activities/relships diff from previous gens Reciprocity b/w Law and Social Control - 2 contrasting views on relship b/w legal precepts & behaviour 1. Law determined by sense of justice & morals of popn, legislation achieves results by being close to social norms 2. Law a vehicle via which social evolution can be brought about - Hard to tell if law creating social change or vice versa, legal reaction to social change can cause social change Social Change as Causes of Legal Changes - Law influenced by tech 1. Instruments to be used in applying law 2. Effects process/application of law b/c tech fosters changes in social & intellectual climate in which legal process is executed 3. Affects substance of law w new conditions to deal w Law as Instrument of Social Change - Indirect role in social change b/c shape social institutions which have direct impact on society - 2 types of changes through law 1. Planning: architectural construction of new forms of social order & interaction 2. Disruption: blocking of existing social forms & regulations Efficacy of Law as an Instrument of Social Change - As instrument of social change law entails 2 interrelated processes 1. Institutionalization: establishment of a norm w provisions for its enforcement 2. Internalization: incorporation of the values in a law - Law successful in inducing change if meets 7 conditions 1. Come from authoritative source 2. Introduce its rationale in terms compatible w existing values 3. Advocates of change reference other places where the laws already in effect 4. Enforcement aim to make fast change 5. Those enforcing law must be committed to the change 6. Include + & - sanctions 7. Reasonable enforcement Advantages of Law in Creating Social Change Legitimate Authority - Weber: “imperative coordination” – probability of commands from a source would be obeyed by group of ppl - 3 types of legit authority 1. Traditional: bases its claims on established belief in sanctity of traditions & status of those exercising authority, obedience a personal loyalty 2. Charismatic: bases claim on individual & normative patterns, leader obeyed by virtue of personal trust & exemplary qualities 3. Rational-legal: bases claims on belief in legality of normative rules & in right of those elevated to authority to issue commands under such rules, obedience to legal impersonal order - Law binding b/c society believes it to - Sanctions: enforce behaviour - Positive policymaking: negative sanctions, positive rewards Proscriptive policymaking: only negative sanctions Limitations of Law in Creating Social Change - Weber 1. Conflict of interests provides framework in which laws brought about 2. Significance of use of power to back up the changes Resistance to Change Social Factors - Vested Interests: ppl resist if fear power/wealth loss (laws adversely affect someone) - Social Class: class patterns hinder change acceptance, attempts to infringe on upper-class by lower resented - Ideological Resistance: ex. religious or conservative groups (gay marriage) - Organized Opposition: widespread r
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