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Criminal Law
SUNY Buffalo Law School
Dubber, Marcus Dirk

Criminal Law Outline
Professor Dubber

I. Purposes of Punishment
a. Model Penal Code § 1.02
i. Threatens substantial harm to individuals or public interests
ii. Safeguard conduct
iii. Differentiate between serious and minor offenses
b. NY Penal Code § 1.05
i. Substantial harm to individual or public interests
ii. Give fair warning of the nature of the conduct proscribed and of the sentences authorized
iii. To define act or omission and the accompanying mental state
iv. Differentiate on reasonable grounds between serious and minor offenses
v. United States v. Bergman—
1. Court describes the 4 different punishment theories
a. deterrents—general and individual. Reflect for all society, scare all of, or simply scare individual
b. incapacitation—remove the capacity to commit criminal conduct. Removes “offending member” of society
c. rehabilitation
d. retribution—payback, very Old Testament like.
2. Court feels that a general deterrent is applicable (due to age and lack of threat to society).
II. Constitutional Limitations: Legality
a. Legislativity
i. Model Penal Code § 1.05
1. Must be defined
ii. US v. Hudson & Goodwin—old federal case, libel on the President and Congress. Court did not have jurisdiction, legislature did not grant this. federal government as interfering with states’ rights.
1. Must define crime and what punishment is. Do not allow to prosecute without statutes!
iii. Commonwealth v. Keller – death of babies case. Crime as cognizable under the current laws? Was charged with common law misdemeanor (indecent disposition of a dead body). Went through historical context to explain why this was criminal—creation of a new law? It was upheld—does properly charge even without specifics, as a result of offended sense of justice?
b. Lenity—when in doubt the Court is to favor the defendant. It is not a statutory interpretation which the Court turns to, must make the argument for it. If you are susceptible to a statute which the Court may turn to (2 interpretations) make the argument for.
c. Specificity—requires the criminal law to be specific, to give sufficient notice and to give guidance to law officials to try these offenses in everyday life.
i. Model Penal Code: § 1.02(3)
ii. Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville
1. white females and black males in a car—“loitering by auto.” Ordinary activity as criminal?
2. doesn’t give fair notice of what acts are criminal
3. unfair and discriminatory application of the statute—not being enforced systematically
4. this is vague—covers conduct which is perfectly legal and beneficial to those persons engaging in it
iii. Chicago v. Morales
1. Gang Congregation Ordinance, loitering with one another or other persons.
2. Problem of vagueness—guidance in law application as issue!
3. does not define “loitering,” does not describe what the dispersal order should be.
d. Prospectivity—not practical significance, adhered to as a matter of course.
i. U.S Constitution art. I §§ 9 & 10
ii. Model Penal Code: § 1.01(2)-(4)
iii. Calder v. Bull – questions over will and ex posto facto application of a new law.
1. cannot retroactively make something a crime
2. cannot aggravate a crime (make a cr

. Grant—issue of psychomotor epilepsy. Were his actions (killing an officer) a result of involuntary action?
i. Jury not required to accept the conclusions of a psychiatrist—not against the manifest weight of evidence
e. status crimes
i. Robinson v. California—
1. The state is prohibited from punishing someone with a certain status, which involves being addicted to narcotics.
2. This is analogized to having a common cold—having a disease
a. no one should be punished for having a disease
b. the act is violated by an addiction which is a status—not a criminal act
ii. Powell v. Texas—found being in a state of intoxication
1. The statute separates the disease from the regulation
2. Does not refer to drunkenness, but being drunk
3. Not the addiction itself but what you do while drunk
4. actual criminal behavior as punishable
IV. Omission
a. Model Penal Code § 1.13(4)-(7), § 2.01(3): definitions, liability for the commission of an offense may not be based on an omission unaccompanied by action unless (omission expressly made by law defining the offense, or duty to perform the omitted act is otherwise imposed by law)
i. So if there is a statute which implies
b. People v. Steinberg—requisite intent to cause serious physical injury to a child by failing to obtain medical care