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Criminal Law
SUNY Buffalo Law School
Ewing, Charles P.

 Criminal Law1
 
 
Criminal Law1
 
I. Just Punishment
 
Topic Class Notes
 
Criminal Procedure
Original Crime
Investigation
o            May or might not have to deal with lawyer
Miranda Rights at arrest
o            Book the criminal and then arraigned
o    At that point questions about what to charge the person with (made by prosecutor who have the discretion)
o    Person Indicted
o    Pre-trial hearings, (suppress confessions, what evidence to allow)
o    Plea Bargains (downside may plead guilty because afraid to not)
o    Prosecution burden of proof
§            Proof beyond a reasonable doubt
o            Appeal complaint jury instructions, insufficient proof
§            Idea that no acquittal, prosecution cannot appeal an acquittal
o            Sentencing, distinct attribute to criminal law
§            Probation, death
o            Appeal, one appeal as a right, can be multiple appeals in some cases
§            T – I – SC   FED DC-CCA-SC
o            Prosecution can make certain appeals if the state allows it
What is a crime?
o            Knowing
o    Act or Omission
o    Violates Statute
o    Deemed to be a crime
o    Against Society. Common Good
o    Punishable
o    Harm- not all harm is crime
o    Crime – a harm that is defined by law that it is a crime
§            Defined by the legislature – body of common law crimes, rarely used now
§            All states and districts have a penal code, NY – NY Penal Law
§            UB uses the Model Penal Code – very influential
§            Harm – defined – made punishable
§            Separates criminal law from other types of law
§            Always people of certain state v. defendant
§            Punishment is what gives life to criminal law
 Queen v. Dudley & Stephens
o            Hired by Dudley to sail the yacht to Australia
o    Boat becomes ruined
o    Forced to take a dinghy
o    By 18th day of the voyage 7 days without food 5 without water
o    Possibility of drawing straws, a custom of the sea
o    Parker drinks seawater gets ill, thought he was best closest to death no family
§            Parker didn’t want to draw straws
o            Rescued 4 days after
o    Deterrence
§            Does it work in this case? -remove necessity as a defense
§            Relies on free will
§            Severity and Certainity
Last time
Crime
o            Social harm defined as punishable by law
o    Dudley v. Stevens, justification
§            General deterrence
§            What other justifications
Retribution
o            Justification today?
o            Why punish Dudley and the gang for the killing?
o            Restores the balance of the crime, human nature
o            Reduce the likelihood of a family member or the victim going after the injurer
o            Limiting principal, eg. Ewing, what criminal deserved
Incapacitation
o            Continuous offenders
o            How decide who deserves this
o            Justice issue
Denunciation
o            This crime cannot be tolerated
Rehabilitation
o            Societal value
Alex Cabarga
o            17 years old arrested, influence of tree frog raised
o    Rape, kidnapping, unlawful sexual intercourse
Rummel
o            Repeat offender
o    Writes a bad check while on parole
o    Mandatory life sentence did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment
o    Solem vs. Rummel
§            Life without parole in Solem is going too far, whereas Rummel has a chance for parole
§            Look at proportionality
o            Harmelin, 672 g of coke
§            Life without parole
§            Threw out within and between jurisdictions analysis, and kept only proportionality
§            Being “grossly disproportionate”, which eliminates the comparison       of sentences
·         There is no proportionality guarantee in the Eighth Amendment. The framers of the Constitution chose not to include a guarantee against disproportionate sentences.
 
 
 
 
 
Solem v. Helm , 463 U.S. 277, United States Supreme Court, Justice Powell, 1983
 
Ewing v. California , 123 S. Ct. 1179
 
Case Brief
 
Facts:
One previous serious or violent felony twice the sentence for second felony
 
Two previous serious or violent felonies 25 to life in prison
 
Parole store 3 golf clubs 299 a piece
 
Issue:
Whether 8th amendment prohibits the State of California from sentencing a repeat felon to a prison term of 25 years to life three strikes law
 
Rule:
Extreme sentences that are grossly disproportionate to the crime
 
Application:
The stealing of 1200 stuff was not a “passive crime” and because of the recidivist values of the three strikes law his crime is not grossly disproportionate
 
Conclusion:
Deference to state legislatures to determine the penalty. Rummel mandatory life imprisonment did not violate eighth amendment. Solem did not have parole.   Harmelin was not about recidivism.
 
o            Ewing
§            Stole 3 clubs w

ple v. Levya , 38 N.Y.2d 160
 
Case Brief
 
Facts:
 All three defendants appeal from separate orders affirming their convictions for criminal possession of dangerous drugs rendered after a joint jury trial. All three were apprehended while they were together inside an automobile which also contained a large quantity of cocaine, stored in a manila envelope underneath the front seat. Their arrest stemmed from information received by police from an informer.
 
Issue:
 
 
Rule:
On the other hand, denying the prosecution the use of any inferential tool in cases like the present one would lead to the ‘practical impossibility of proving * * * actual participation in the illegal activities.’ (United States v. Gainey, 380 U.S., at p. 65, 85 S.Ct., at p. 757.) In the absence of a legislative presumption in drug cases, for example, many drug traffickers could operate with impunity simply by ensuring that the contraband was in some part of the transporting vehicle and not on their persons.
 
Application:
 
We believe, and find, that it is rational and logical to presume that all occupants of a vehicle are aware of, and culpably involved in, possession of dangerous drugs found abandoned or secreted in a vehicle when the quantity of the drug is such that it would be extremely unlikely for an occupant to be unaware of its presence * * *
 
 ‘We do not believe that persons transporting dealership quantities of contraband are likely to go driving around with innocent friends or that they are likely to pick up strangers. We do not doubt that this can and does in fact occasionally happen, but because we find it more reasonable to believe that the bare presence in the vehicle is culpable, we think it [p. 167] reasonable to presume culpability in the direction which the proven facts already point. Since the presumption is an evidentiary one, it may be offset by any evidence including the testimony of the defendant, which would negate the defendant’s culpable involvement.’
Conclusion: