Criminal Law Outline
Power to Criminalize and Punish
· Justifying Criminalization and Punishment
o The Limits of the Criminal Law (D: 1-6; Lawrence)
§ Lawrence v. Texas- gay cowboys are caught by the cops in a sex act that is illegal in TX
o The Purposes of Punishment (D: 29-50)
§ Theories of Punishment
o Depends only on consequences of the crime and the general goal is to maximize the happiness of society
o Punishment is a necessary evil- the threat of crime will reduce crime (pain of punishment is greater than the pleasure of the crime
o 3 questions a criminal will ask himself
§ Intensity of punishment
§ Duration of punishment
§ Chance of getting caught
o General deterrence: D is punished to convince the general community to forgo criminal conduct in the future
o Specific (individual) deterrence: D is punished to deter D from future crimes
§ Incapacitation: D’s imprisonment prevents him from committing crimes
§ Intimidation: occurs upon D’s release, but the previous punishment reminds D that he does not want to return to prison
o Rehabilitation: using the correction system to reform the wrongdoer
o Morally responsible people who commit moral wrongs deserve punishment
o “If you do the crime, you do the time”
o The wrongdoer should be punished regardless of whether the punishment will deter future crimes.
o Assaultive: treat criminals like noxious insects to be ground under the heel of society
o Negative: you can’t punish someone more than they deserve
o Protective: punishment balances out society; criminals have a right to be punished
· Difference between Utilitarianism & Retributivism
o R looks backwards and justifies punishment only on the voluntary commission of the crime.
o U looks forward to provide an overall benefit to society.
§ Queen v. Dudley and Stevens- D &S and Brooks[not agree to kill but eat] were on a boat and decide to eat the teenage cabin boy to survive 20 days in and then were rescued- few days later- convicted of murder
· Was punishment proper- answer based on retributive or utilitarian purposes?
o The Distribution of Punishment
§ Sentencing (D: 50-59)
· Determinate Sentencing- specific sentence for each crime, with certain aggravating or mitigating factors that can increase or decrease the amount of punishment [DU] · Indeterminate Sentencing- broader sentencing discretion, more so in the hands of the judge instead of the legislature (started to be disfavored in the 1970s)
· Mandatory Minimum sentencing statutes- legislature attempt to limit judicial discretion
· People v. Superior Ct (Du)
o Du originally sentenced to 10 years in prison- judge suspended sentence to only probation
o The objectives of sentencing a defendant to be followed: (1) to protect society (2) to punish the defendant for committing the crime (3) to encourage the defendant to lead a law abiding life (4) to deter others (5) to isolate the defendant so she can’t commit other crimes (6) to secure restitution for the victim (7) to seek uniformity in sentencing
§ Proportionality (D: 66-75; 76-87)
· Coker v. Georgia
o Convict broke out of jail, broke into as house, tied up husband, stole car, kidnapped wife, and raped wife.
o RULE: A sentence of death is grossly disproportionate and excessive punishment for the crime of rape and is therefore constitutionally forbidden as cruel and unusual punishment
· Ewing v. California
o Three strikes- repeat offender stole golf clubs
o RULE: The 8th Amendment does not prohibit a state from sentencing a repeat felon to a prison term of 25 years to life under the state’s 3 strikes law
The Separation of Powers
· Legislatures and Courts
o Legality (D: 88-116
§ United States v. Foster
· Foster is a known drug dealer and has drug paraphernalia and a gun in the car.
· Reversed conviction.
· RULE: In order for a D who was in a car to be convicted of “carrying” a gun on violation of 18 USC Sect. 924, the weapon must have been within hand’s reach while the car was in motion
· Judges and Juries
o Proof and Nullification (D: 7-28; TIME essay)
§ Owens v. State
· Owens passed out in truck with beer cans, car was on.
· Court convicts of driving while intoxicated
· RULE: Conviction upon circumstantial evidence alone is not sustained unless the circumstances are inconsistent with any reasonable hypothesis of innocence.
§ State v. Ragland
· D appeals because there was no jury nullification because there was no jury instruction at trial
· The Elements of Crime
· Actus Reus- A voluntary act that causes social harm; the physical or external part of the crime
o Two Essential Elements
§ Act/Omission: Must be a voluntary act by D or an omission to perform an act when he had a lawful duty to act
§ Social Harm
o Voluntary Act (Voluntary Act)
§ Model Penal Code
· 2.01 Requirement of Voluntary Act; Omission as Basis of Liability; Possession as an Act
o (1) A person is not guilty of an offense unless his liability is based on conduct which includes a voluntary act or the omission to perform an act of which he is physically capable.
o (2) The following are not voluntary acts within the meaning of this Section: