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SOC 1500 (173)
Chapter 2

Sociology 1500-Chapter 2.docx

8 Pages
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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 1500
Professor
Andrew Hathaway

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Chapter 2: Reading The Criminal law and its process: - Criminal law controls the formal definition and content of crime - It incorporates historical traditions, moral beliefs, and social values, and is influenced by political and economic developments and conditions - Criminal law is a living concept, constantly evolving - Governs the form and direction of almost all human interaction - The law defines the behaviours of society labels as criminals Origins of law: - Early legal Codes: o Code of Hammurabi on basalt rock columns  First written criminal code developed in Babylonia about 2000 b.c o “an eye for an eye” – lex talionis  Punishment based on physical retaliation o Severity of punishment depended on classe standing  Ex. Assault, slaves would be put to death or freemen might lose a limb o Babylonian laws were strictly enforced by judges o Officials were to apprehend criminals; if they failed they had to personally replace the lost property or if they failed to capture a murderer the officials had to pay a fine to the deceased relative o Mosaic Code of the israelites  Foundation of Judeo-Christian Moral teachings and also a basis for our present day legal system o Roman law contained in the twelve tables  Believed that an unwritten code gave arbitrary and unlimited power to the wealthy who served as magistrates - Early Crime, Punishment , and law: o Dark ages  Superstition and fear of magic and satanic black arts dominated thinking o Crime during the early feudal period involved monetary payments as the main punishments for crimes o Wergild:  Under medieval law, the money paid by the offender to compensate the victim and the state for criminal offence o Guilt was determined by ordeals  Ex: burning hands in boiling water to see whether god will heal the wounds  In some cases guilt could be disputed with the aid of Oath-helpers, who would support the accused’d innocence o Until the 18 century the law was controlled by the lords of the great manors, who tried cases according to local custom and rule - Origins of common law o In england, a common law developed that helped standardize law and justice  Became the foundation for Canada’s legal system o Crime and custom:  Crimes were viewed as personal wrongs, and compensation was paid to the victims  Even Homicide could be settled by payment (wergild) o A scale of compensation existed for lesser injuries such as loss of an arm or an eye o This scale became the precursor of the modern-day criminal fine - The Norman Conquest: o Church court handled acts that might be considered sin o William the conqueror replaced the local tribunals with royal administrators, who dealt with the most serious breaches of peace o Stare Decisis (to stand by decided cases):  Meant courts were bound to follow the law established in previously decided cases (precendent) unless the law was overruled by a higher authority (king or pope) o Current English system of law came into existence during the reign of henry II o At first, Jurors were like witnesses; telling the judge what they knew about the case  By 14 century, jurors became the deciders of fact - Common Law: o Meant to apply to people without regard to social differences o Standardized law of the land o Common law is judge-made law, case law derived from previously decided cases - Common Law and Statutory Law: o Common laws Crimes:  Crimes against the person:  First-degree murder: o Unlawful killing of another human  Voluntary manslaughter: o Intentional killing committed under extenuating circumstances  Assault: o Unlawful touching  Rape  Robbery: o Wrongful taking or carrying away of a personal property  Incomplete offences: (inchoate crimes – incomplete crimes)  Attempt: o Intentional act for the purpose of committing a crime  Conspiracy: o Voluntary agreement to commit an act using means forbidden by law  Crimes against property:  Burglary: o Breaking and entering a dwelling house with an intent to commit crime  Arson: o Intentional burning of a dwelling house  Theft: o Taking and carrying away the personal property with an intent to keep it o Statutory law:  Reflect existing social conditions, dealing with issues of morality, such as gambling, sexual activity, and drug-related offences - The development of Law in Canada: o Justice system was strongly influenced by the common law of England o Military was first to maintain law and order Classification of Law: - Three important classifications: o Crimes and torts o Indictable and summary offences o Mala in se and mala prohibitum - Criminal and Civil Law: o Civil law includes such areas as property law (Law governing transfer and ownership of property) and contract law (law of personal agreements) o Tort law:  Law of personal wrongs and damage  Includes negligence, libel, slander, assault and trespass  Ex. Sueing someone for wrongful damage o A person can be held both criminally and civilly liable for one action o Civil law the harm is considered private, and individuals are compensated for harm done to them by others o Criminal defendant’s guilt must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. - Indictable and Summary offences: o Indictable offence:  Serious offence, such as murder  Have no limitation period on prosecution  Can result in serious penalties if found guilty o Summary offence  Minor, petty crime  Loitering - Mala in Se and Mala prohibitum: o Mala in se crimes are rooted in the core values inherent in our culture and are designed to control such behaviours as inflicting physical harm on others o Mala prohibitum crime that involves violations of laws that relfect current public opinion and social values that are more relative in nature Functions of the Criminal Law: - Substantive Criminal law is a written code defining crimes and their punishments - Canada is centralized under jurisdiction of the federal government - Criminal codes have several distinct functions: o Providing social control o Discouraging revenge o Expressing public opinion and morality o Deterring criminal behaviour o Maintaining social order Providing Social control: - Primary purpose of the criminal law is to control peoples behaviour - Criminal law prohibits behaviour believed to threaten societal well-being and that challenges the political authority o Ex: taking anothers possession o Physically harming another person o Damaging property - Folkways: o Customs tha
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