Criminal Law Simon Spring 2017
Principles of Punishment
Crime Prevention & Punishment Minimization
Harm: injury caused
Culpability: choice made
Negative: allows punishment
Positive: requires punishment
Culpability has to do with consciousness of decision and degree of harm.
Punish greater harm more, more pain willing to inflict.
You deserve more punishment.
Where does Criminal Law come from?
Common Law: judge made
California uses adopts/states the common law principles
Codifying Coammon Law
MPC à drafters are allowed to copy, not law anywhere unlike UCC
Levels of Crimes
Felony: more than one year of punishment
Felony: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Degree
Misdemeanor: 1 year or less of punishment
Petty Misdemeanor: B
Violation: speedy, disorderly conduct
People v. Du: California case (grocery store/orange juice killing)
Voluntary Manslaughter à intentional killing
Sentencing discretion by judge
Argument about sentencing:
Deter others and other shop owners
Harm: 15 year old girl killed
Choice: she chose to do this voluntarily
She will not do this again; no danger; no isolation needed
She was provoked, inflicting less of a harm because of bad acts by victims.
The community is looking to the criminal law for a set of values. People put huge values on the criminal law’s judgment
Race and gender play a big role in the criminal law.
8th amendment: cruel and unusual punishment; excessive bail and fines
Furman v. Georgia: ruled the death penalty unconstitutional. State statutes needed to list aggregating and mitigating factor for giving the DP, but this was reinstated in Greg v. Georgia
Coker v. Georgia: (Supreme Court à 1977)
Rule: Death penalty for adult rape is unconstitutional. It is excessive.
Focused on harm and proportionality in majority’s opinion.
For Death Penalty
Great harm so we want to generally deter individuals
No specific deterrence argument
Can be seen as conduct that cannot be detered
Rape is just as bad as murder; continuing choice
Harm to society is so great, that this is justifiable (upsets the moral balance)
Life Without Parole
Will deter killing during rape
Incapacitation because no chance of parole
Harm of rape isn’t as great as murder
Kennedy v. Louisana: rape of a child doesn’t allow for the death penalty.
Bottom Line: Death penalty is reserved for homicide
Life with Parole for $120 bad check
Life without Parole for $100 bad check
Life without Parole for 672g of cocaine
Theft of $1,200 golf clubs sentence of 25-life
Wobble Process in California: if you have a prior record there is leniency for charging either a misdemeanor or felony
3 Strike Policy in California:
Crime 1: Felony: violent or drug
Crime 2: Felony: violent or drug
Crime 3: Felony of any kind à mandatory sentence in 25 to life
Incapacitation and deterrence
luntary Act: MPC Definition: a bodily movement that is a product of effort or determination
Why require an act?
Prediction problems: who will actually follow through?
Freedom of thought
State v. Utter (stabbing son)
What aren’t considered voluntary acts?
Other “unconscious” movements
Why not punish involuntary acts?
Not deterrable à utilitarian
Didn’t make a culpable choice à retributive
Beardsley (weekend affair)
Had no legal duty to help her
When you have a legal duty to act?
Creates criminal responsibility
When you must act with a legal duty?
Statute imposes (taxes, reporting child abuse)
Status Relationship (parent/child; spouse)
Contractual Relationship (lifeguard; Doctor/Patient; Babysitter)
Voluntary Assumption of Care and seclusion
Creation of peril
Knowledge of Peril
Ability to help
Knowledge of facts giving rise to the duty
Crime = Act + Mental State + Causation
Act= Duty + Wherewithal
Regina v. Cunningham: (gas meter theft)
Malice is defined:
Actual intention to do the particular kind of harm that in fact was done
Recklessness as to whether such harm should occur or not
Guilty only if he did foresee the risk and took the risk anyway.
Reckless à did know risk
Negligent à should have known risk