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Criminal Law
Temple University School of Law
Greenstein, Richard K.

 Criminal Law
[He doesn’t use a textbook]  
1)      Introduction (General Principles)
a)      Legal structure + animating social concerns = criminal law
b)      Conceptual structure + Values that animate: common to all fields of law.
i)        Almost all crimes share structure: physical, mental dimension and the relationship between them.
(1)   Physical: Actus reus (e.g causing the death)           
(2)   Mental: Mens rea (e.g by intentional killing)
c)      Criminal Code
i)        Legislated (statutes, not common law)
ii)       Self-referential: in theory, everything you need to know should be self contained.
iii)     Model criminal code
(1)   Created in 50s & 60s
(2)   Quite successful – 40 states have adopted or modified their own codes to reflect the model code. Not compelled to adopt – voluntary.
d)      Thoughts alone are not punished – an act (or omission) is needed.
i)        Would inflict more harm than benefit/don’t want to be thought police/could lead to loss of respect of law by community.
2)      Objectives of Criminal Codes:
a)      Set standards of appropriate behavior
b)      Prescribes punishment objectives
c)      Give advance warning to public as to what conduct is criminal & punishable (doctrine of “fair warning”)
i)        No punishment in the absence of law
ii)       Must be a statute making act illegal AND proscribing punishment
3)      Defining Criminal Conduct / Elements of a Crime
a)      a voluntary act (“actus reus”)
b)      a culpable intent (“mens rea”)
c)      concurrence between the mens rea and the actus reus;
d)      causation of harm (if the crime has a result element)
Actus reus
Mens rea

or Excuse
5)      Malum in se v. Malum prohibitum
a)      malum in se – bad in and of itself (somewhat of a misnomer – most all is socially constructed, e.g. it goes against a social norm).
b)      malum pr

n benefit to community (Not about blameworthiness). Benefits of punishment must outweigh the costs of punishment (e.g. costs of punishing an insane person are too high). Requires:
(1)   Conduct has caused or is the type that has the potential for causing more harm than benefit (cost/benefit analysis of conduct)
(2)   Benefits of punishment outweigh harm/costs of punishment (cost/benefit analysis of punishment)
ii)       Types:
(1)   Deterrence (benefit)
(a)    Special/Specific (to individual)
(b)   General (deter the public)
(2)   Rehabilitation (a benefit)
(3)   Revenge (a benefit)
(a)    About a psychological benefit to other people by punishing the wrongdoer.
(4)   Reinforcing norms (benefit)
(a)    E.g. drugs – in any amount – are wrong.
(5)   Incapacitation
(a)    Temporarily – in jail/prison
Permanently – execution.