Chapter 4 Lecture Notes: Criminal Law: Substance and Procedure

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Virginia Commonwealth University
Criminal Justice
CRJS 181
Christina Mancini

Intro to Criminal Justice, CRJS 181, 003, 23200, Mancini: Lecture Notes 9/10/13 Chapter 4 Terms Referenced: Criminal Law, Substantive criminal law, Procedural criminal laws, Stare decisis, Mala in se, Ex post facto law, Actus reus, Mens rea, Excuse defense, Justification, Stalking, Obitiatry, Exclusionary rule st 4 categories of law: focus on 1 two.  Substantive Criminal Law – actual statutes “written”  Procedural Criminal Law – Rules of pretrial and trial proceedings. Ex) “right to an attorney,” “right to not incriminate yourself”. Substantive Law  Enforces social control – Criminal Justice system only way Government can control people  Designed for retribution – eye for an eye/karma  Express our opinions about certain types of behavior ex) stalking not always a crime  Deter deviant behavior/ pragmatic reasoning  Punish wrongdoers  Maintain social order – No Criminal Justice system – no consequences, leads to vigilantism. Potential anarchy.  Restoration – we need to restore victim, society. History of Law – Roots from ancient codes such as code of Hammurabi, Mosaic Law. Hammurabi centralized the system. Brought all local laws together. Our legal code comes from England’s common law. Stare decisis – precedent Mala in se – Murder, rape, etc. Universally wrong. Mala prohibitum- societal thought dictate the law ex) public intoxication, drug offenses, drinking age Our court system makes sure laws are fair. Judicial system is a check on legislative system. Judicial rulings can directly affect the law. Death penalty was outlawed in ’72 states revised statutes and it was brought back. Supreme Court is law of the land.  Kennedy v. Louisiana (2008) struck down law that permitted capital punishment for child rapists. Constitutional limits  Cannot criminalize a person’s status ex) Not convicted of being a drug addict  Cannot be cruel or capricious (e.g., Furman v. Georgia)  Bills of attainder (i.e. punishment without a trial/plea  Ex post facto law Classifying Crimes  Felony offenses – more serious offense; more than one year of incarceration. Carries prison sentences.  Misdemeanors- less serious; less than a year of jail; fine. Jail = short term; prison = long term. Variation across states. States have different penalties. Legal Definition of a crime st  Actus reus – what is the action, 1 requirement.  Mens rea – Intent; 2 requirement  A connection must be made between the two to convict someone. Minor offenses – mens rea is not required. Ex) traffic code infraction. rd  3 element needed to prove crime is committed is the immediate relationship to or concurrence of the act with the criminal intent or result ex) chasing someone into street and they are hit by a car. Criminal Defenses – General  Denying actus re
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