“Crime and Criminal Justice”
Chapter 2 Summary
Code of Hammurabi: The first criminal code developed in Babylonia about 2000 BCE
Lex talionis: Punishment based on physical retaliation (“an eye for an eye”)
Mosaic code: By tradition, the covenant between God and the tribes of Israel in which they agreed to
obey his law in return for God’s special care and protection.
Wergild: Under medieval law, the money paid by the offender to compensate the victim and the state
for a criminal offence.
Oath-helpers: during the Middle Ages, groups of 12 to 25 people who would support the accused’s
Stare decisis: the principle that the courts are bound to follow the law as established in previously
decided cases (precedent) unless the law was overruled by a higher power.
Common law: Early English law that was developed by judges and incorporated Anglo-Saxon tribal
custom, feudal rules and practices, and the everyday rules of behaviour of local villages. Common law
became the standardized law of the land in England and eventually formed the basis of the criminal law
in Canada and the United States.
Inchoate crimes: Incomplete or contemplated crimes such as solicitation or criminal attempts.
Tort law: The law of personal wrongs and damage, such as negligence, libel and slander.
Indictable offence: A serious offence, such as murder, which carries a serious penalty (up to 25 years in
Summary offence: A minor offence whose penalty is a maximum six months less than a day in jail, or a
Mala in se: Crimes that are rooted in the core values inherent in our culture.
Mala prohibitum: Crimes defined by current public opinion and social values, subject to change.
Folkways: Customs with no moral values attached, such as not interrupting people who are speaking.
Mores: Customs or conventions essential to a community, which often form the basis of criminal law.
Vagrancy: A summary offence crime, meant to prohibit homelessness, begging and loitering. General deterrence: Measures, such as long prison sentences for violent crimes, aimed at convincing
the potential law violator that the pains associated with crime outweigh the benefits.
Specific deterrence: A punishment severe enough to convince convicted offenders never to repeat their
crimes, which is based on the principle that an individual can be dissuaded from committing a crime if
the costs outweigh the benefit.
Actus reus: An