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Criminal Law
Temple University School of Law
Deguzman, Margaret M.

DeGuzman Crim Law Fall 2012
 
 
 I.   Theoretical Underpinnings
A.      Introduction: What is a Crime? 
1.       Moral Condemnation & Punishable
2.       Acts labeled as a crime (ie. CL & statutes, etc.)
3.       Carries great deal of gravity/seriousness
4.       Generally requires culpable state of mind (exceptions-ie. strict liability)
5.       Causes social harm
B.      Principles of Punishment – MPC 1.02(1) & (2)
1.       Theories of Punishment
a.       Utilitarianism: [Bentham] forward looking. Justification on benefits
                                                                  i.      Punishment should be taken if creates greater good for society; outweighs the gain
                                                                ii.      Moral culpability is necessary to punish:
                                                               iii.      General Deterrence: discourage others from committing future crimes. Society as a whole would be deterred from performing undesirable act as a result of threatened punishment
                                                              iv.      Individual Deterrence: Discourage D from committing future crimes.
                                                                               1.      More severe punishment of repeat offenders warranted bc 1st penalty = ineffective; D generally deterred
                                                                               2.      Incapacitation: form of individual deterrence (jail, death penalty, parole supervision). Benefit is derived from individual who committed undesirable act being incarcerated
                                                                               3.      Rehabilitation: treat/teach D; positive steps to make offenders less antisocial- society bettered by D rehabilitated than applying strict punishment
b.      Retribution: backward looking. Justification based solely bc deserve it (eye for an eye)
                                                                  i.      Moral culpability is sufficient to punish:
                                                                ii.      Negative Retributivism: D only punished if guilty/deserve it = necessary condition
                                                               iii.      Positive Retributivism: D should be punished if guilty = sufficient condition
                                                                               1.      Take other factors into consideration – don’t have to punish everyone who deserves it
c.       Expressivism: express social condemnation – ct takes into account social norms & community more in rendering judgment
d.      MPC Theory: mixed system but has become more retributivist
                                                                  i.      General purpose/reason for provisions:
                                                                               1.      To forbid & prevent harm that unjustifiably/inexcusably threatens to harm individuals & society
                                                                               2.      To safeguard conduct that’s wo fault from condemnation as criminal
                                                                               3.      To give fair notice of conduct that will constitute an offense
                                                                               4.      To differentiate btw serious & minor offenses
                                                                ii.      General Theory of Sentencing
                                                                               1.      Sentences should be proportionate to the gravity of offenses, the harms done to crime victims, & blameworthiness of offenders
                                                                               2.      To render sentences no more severe than necessary
                                                                               3.      To rehabilitate, deter, & incapacitate dangerous offenders & restore crime victim back into society
2.       Theories in Action
a.       Who Should be Punished and How Much?
                                                                  i.      Queen v. Dudley & Stephens (p. 48): Retributive
                                                                               1.      F – stranded sailors killed weaker kid to live
                                                                               2.      Boy didn’t assent to killing, who not someone else?
 
UTILITARIAN
RETRIBUTIVIST
PUNISH
Deter (generally & specifically) future instances (society & Dudley)
[Incapacitation & rehabilitation] Wrong to kill
[morally culpable] DON’T PUNISH
Great good for all (3 lives > 1 life)
No utility – waste resources (Excuse)
Choose lesser evil (Justified)
Sailors did what they thought was rt   
[not morally culpable] Insane (Excused)
                                                                               3.      Convicted of murder (later reduced)
                                                                               4.      Initial sentencing = retributive v. later vacating = utilitarian
                                                                ii.      Proportionality – How much you punish the D [MPC §6.01]                                                                                1.      Justified using force only if proportionate/reasonable to harm threatened or interest to be furthered – look at gravity of offense compared to severity of penalty
                                                                               2.      Proportionality w/ punishment: punishment appropriate to crime committed
                                                                               3.      8th Amend: prohibits infliction of “cruel & unusual punishment” by fed gov’t
                                                               iii.      People v. Du (p. 51) Utilitarian/Expressivism[HH1] 
                                                                               1.      F – shop owner killed 14 yr old girl
                                                                               2.      Expressivism: ct takes into account social norms & community mores in render judgment
                                                                               3.      General deterrence seems to be playing role but not stated in holding
                                                                               4.      Sentencing Goals:
a.       Protect society (Utilitarian)
b.      Punish D for committing crime (Retributive)
c.       Encourage Ds to lead law-abiding life (Utilitarian)
d.      Deter others (Utilitarian)
e.      Isolate D so can’t commit other crimes
f.        Secure restitution for victim (Restorative Justice)
g.       Uniformity in sentencing (Retributive) OR Fair sentence in society, proportionate/deter (Utilitarian)
                                                                                                                 i.      Missing Rehabilitation
                                                                                                               ii.      Judge focused on context NOT broader context (Did she devalue life AA girl?)
                                                                                                                               1.      Jury found acted in response to being provoked
                                                              iv.      Anders Behring Breivik: killed 77 ppl for 22 yrs
                                                                               1.      Restorative Justice: restore victim & D into society – often doesn’t involve punishment
b.      What Form Should Punishment Take?
                                                                  i.      United States v. Gementera(p. 62): Shaming/Humiliation Punishments [D stole mail-hold sign]                                                                                1.      Sentencing Reform Act: Judges broad discretion limited/related to 3 goals–(1) deterrence; (2) protecting public; (3) rehabilitation – conditions serve legitimate objectives
                                                                               2.      Holding: shaming allowed if used as a means to an end, but not as an end in itself
a.       Ct argued sign would deter others & rehabilitate perpetrator [utilitarian] C.      Role of Statutes (virtually 100% statutory law BUT embedded in CL-impt to interpret statutes)                           
1.       Principle of Legality: MPC 5.01[HH2]  –Crim statutes should be u[HH3] nderstandable to reasonable law-abiding persons; crafted as not to delegate basic policy matters to policeman, judges & juries for resolution
a.       Lenity Doctrine: judicial interpretation of ambiguous statutes should be biased in favor of accused
b.      Nulla Crimen Sine Lege/Nulla Poena Sine Lege: No crime w.o law/No punishment w.o law
c.       Policy: prevents accusing for sake of accusing, serves justice providing fair warning & enhance freedom
d.      DWD Statute Provisions: too vague -> “objectively distracted” – police & ct too much discretion; laundry list -> expressio unios – presumption that legislature had reason not to put on list; reasonableness type stds -> punting to jury or prosecutor’s discretion (hard to know what means)
e.      Keller v. Superior Ct (p. 95): Interpretation & principle of legality
                                                                  i.      F:  Keeler hit estranged wife in stomach killing fetus
                                                                ii.      H: Killing unborn fetus not homicide –
                                                                               1.      Statutory Interpretation (legislative intent): not guilty bc murder statute not include fetus
a.      Interpreted TEXT of statute by looking at CONTEXT (history)
b.      Ct cannot (1) enlarge statute w/o infringing upon legislative duty + (2) would deny due process to D (ex post facto–prohibits retroactive legislation & legislative expansion) à jurisdictional & constitutional arg
                                                               iii.      Dissent: statutes should be interpreted in light of modern technology = purpose; foreseeable that it would be considered human being = principle of legality not violated
                                                              iv.      Ex Post Fact Doctrine: legislature cannot pass laws that affect a past action
                                                                v.      Due Process Concern: double jeopardy, unconstitutionality – ct can’t create an offense by enlarging a statute, changing words, or giving terms false or unusual meanings
                                                        

me-framing: looks at from time of driving – voluntary act = entering car, turning on ignition & driving
                                                                               3.      Public Policy: Ct choice to time-frame broadly or narrowly-depending on desired outcome
a.       Narrowly: exact moment when D hit kids = involuntary
b.      Broadly: not take proper precautions & knew attack could happen – got in car etc.
                                                              vi.      State v. Utter (p.  130)  Voluntary unconsciousness NOT defense
                                                                               1.      F: U killed son while blackout drunk claimed conditioned response bc of war experience
                                                                               2.      H: Ct held conditioned response defense place burden of proof of triggering stimulus on D
a.       D provided no proof of the triggering stimulus
b.      Left w only drunkenness (unconsciousness) NOT defense when voluntarily induced
                                                                               3.      Public Policy behind requiring a voluntary act
a.       Don’t punish thoughts alone b/c a society that attempted to invade mental privacy would be an intolerable place to live
b.      If society values individual freedom the use of crim law should be limited to situation in which harm is seriously threatened
c.       The AR rqmt is premised on retributive belief that is morally wrong to punish ppl for unacted upon intentions
                                                                               4.      Difference btw a wink & a blink – NOT ask whether he intended MR but issue is AR
                                                             vii.      Sleep walking & Sneeze = involuntary
2.       Omissions
a.       General Rule: NO duty to act/help
b.      CL Exceptions:
                                                                  i.      Status Relationship (parent/child, spouse/spouse)
                                                                ii.      Voluntary assumption & isolation
                                                               iii.      Risk creation, even if “innocent” (ie/ hitting pedestrian)
                                                              iv.      Imposed by statute
                                                                v.      Imposed by implied/express K (lifeguard, doctors, babysitter)
c.       CL Justifications for Allowing Omissions:
                                                                  i.      Omissions are inherently more ambiguous than actions (proof of MR = difficult)
                                                                ii.      Difficult to draw the line at:
                                                                               1.      (1) Who should act (bystander effect)?;
                                                                               2.      (2) Under what conditions one is compelled to act?
                                                               iii.      Well-meaning bystanders often can make a situation worse
                                                              iv.      Issue of restricting individuals’ liberty by requiring them to act
d.      Utilitarian Criticisms:
                                                                  i.      The callousness of the general rule may breed contempt for society’s system of crim justice
                                                                               1.      General Rule: subject to a few limited exceptions, a person has no cim law duty to act to prevent harm to another even if the person in peril may lose her life in the absence of assistance
                                                                               2.      A rule that requires others to assist ppl in peril (Good Samaritan rule) will promote social cohesion and general & specific deterrence BUT hard to implement; infringes upon civil liberties; scared to act; ppl's perception of situation can be different; violates freedom/autonomy; might make it worse; create danger for you (Vermont, France)
 [HH1]Check…
 [HH2]Correct? Need to know?
 [HH3]Is this statutory clarity or  principle of legality?
 [HH4]Check if all 3 cases = CL