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Criminal Law
SUNY Buffalo Law School
Ewing, Charles Patrick

2-04-08
· Procedure of Criminal Law
o Cases are appellate cases
o Multiple paths to appellate courts
o Class not about who gets the money – – criminal law has a different currency – – that of liberty and life
· How do cases get started in criminal law
o Step one – Someone calls the police, goes to the police, DA’s office (or along those lines)
§ Usually the first people in the criminal justice system are police officers
· Police officers have a great amount of discretion
· Generally it is there call about whether or not to arrest someone
· Whole system gets triggered by an arrest or appearance ticket
o Step two- Prosecution – Next step belongs to a prosecutor about whether or not to prosecute a case
§ Total discretion
§ A lot of cases never come close to case for various reasons
· Not worth the money
· Not enough facts
§ How prosecutor can commence a case
· Go in front of a judge and convince enough for a case
· Grand jury
o Convince it to issue an indictment
o Grand jury originally intended to protect people from having the prosecutor try an improper case
§ Now grand jury is more an investigatory committee
· DA can call someone in to testify (subpoena)
· Totally one sided – – only prosecution privy
§ Once charged case can go to trial by jury (in most districts)
· Very few cases make it to trial – downward pyramid
o Crimes
o Detected
o Reported
o Prosecuted
o Indicted- – formally
o Plea bargain
§ Juries can acquit whenever they want
· 2 states jury nullification
· Common elements/parts of current cases
o In most cases defendant does not testify
§ Why
· They are bad people
§ Usually guilty
· Attorney can’t allow a client who they know are guilty to testify
§ If witness takes the stand prior bad acts can be brought up
· Reason

is a crime?
o Harm or wrong as defined by legislature against society resulting in punishment
§ Offensive to society as deemed wrong or offensive by legislature
§ NY penal law v federal penal code
§ Model Penal Code
· Criminal code that was put together by judges, law professors, and other learned peeps
· Some portions of the code is dated
o Punishments
§ Why do we punish some people criminally?
· Deterrence?
o By punishing people for their actions will make others less likely to commit similar acts in the future
o If you were a criminal would you be deterred?
§ Most crimes are impulsive and people won’t be deterred unless they think about it
Denouncement – To denounce behavior as intolerable by society