Criminal Law—class notes
January 31, 2002
a. The Queen v. Dudley and Stephens(11) Nothing much has changed—this is still a legal case on necessity. This is supposed to tell you about the law in Buffalo in 2002. the Court is struggling to put a doctrinal label on this case—three different possibilities that the Court considers (intent—murder about malice and evil, but the court says no, it’s intentional killing; self-defense and excuse). They only spent 6 months in prison before the sentence was excommunicated.
b. This is not how this would have been handled today—they had no doctrinal mechanism to make allowances for this case, (but they at least had a mercy option). Today we would feel it was a doctrinal question also, and it wasn’t justified (the balance of evils comes out in their favor) but then they may consider the extenuating circumstances and determine that anyone in that position could not have withstood the circumstances.
c. What happened to Brooks? He had objected to killing—he does nothing at all but complain. But he still ate the cabin boy?? But he escapes criminal liability altogether—accessory after the fact? But he could have interfered? What circumstances can you be held criminally liable for not acting? Duty to engage in certain conduct!
d. United States of America v. Bergman 19—I can’t force the state prosecutor to act, but the judge here can “reconsider” the federal punishment. This is not double jeopardy b/c the systems (federal and state) are two different sovereigns. You stepped on 2 different toes!
e. Bergman—fraud for Medicare. The Court takes into consider all the evidence relating to his person (form of mitigating evidence?) the judge then goes through all these different punishment theories—four different ones
i. Deterrents—general deterrents; individual deterrents. General deterrents reflect on all society, scaring others. Individual/specific deterrents is to scare the person away from crime (repeat offense).
ii. Incapacitation—locked up or removed from society so they cannot offend. Remove the capacity to conduct criminal conduct! Killing them as the strongest incapacitation. Problem with prison—many cases they get out, but they can also escape (went on a rampage in Pittsburgh!). they can harm others while in jail, etc. also may “remove the offending member”.
iv. Retribution — payback for the crime you had committed. But hard to determine what the price should be (“eye for an eye…”)
f. In this case, general deterrent s
th the states’ rights. The power of the federal legislature comes from the Constitution (which gives them the power to criminalize activities). There is no Constitutional provision for libel—very sensitive due to the freedom of speech. [drug statutes, regulations falls into the commerce power]
We don’t have a statute—it’s about the legislatively. Without a statute, there could be loopholes to regulate the citizens. Attempting to limit the federal power, but allow them to prosecute without statutes??? This is why legislatively is crucial, esp. for the federal govt.
This is about federalism, and protecting states’ rights. Expansive govt. and expansive judiciaries.
Commonwealth v. Keller
Indecent disposition of a dead body. This crime is listed specifically in the statute—questions on its scope, what does indecent, disposition, etc? definition! Does not get this crime from a statutory regulation, or even PA case law…
What other possible harm might this disposal create? Interference with the corner.