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Criminal Law
University of Dayton School of Law
Chaffee, Eric C.

Criminal Law Outline
2. Punishment
            -Courts interprets statute (deference)-whether criminal/civil, look at objectives of statute to determine whether punitive (punishment) or not (Kansas v. Hendricks, 521 U.S. 346 (1997)
            -Sentences have variety of justifications (retribution, deterrance, incapacitation, rehabilitation, denunciation)
–judges wide discretion in imposition of sentences-can be invalid if grossly disproportionate (8th Amend. violation)-not complete control; use sentencing statute (min/max) then wide discretion-aim is uniformity (Ewing v. California, 538 U.S. 11 (2003)
Ewing: Proportionality Principle in Sentencing (non-capital offenses)
1.      Primacy of Leg
2.      Variety of Penological Goals
3.      Nature of Fed System
4.      8th Amend doesn’t require strict proportionality b/t crime and sentence – forbids grossly disproportionate sentences
-Specific vs. General Deterrance
*sentences, rationales differ among judges (U.S. v Bergman, 416 F. Supp. 496 (1976)
3. Making Criminal Law
            -judges take different approaches when applying common law-in U.S. no common law offenses, courts cant create offenses
            -14th Amend. prohibits pple from being convicted of crimes w/out fair warning  – terms of penal statute must be “sufficiently explicit” (Keeler v. Superior Court)-applied Rule of Lenity)
                        Rule of Lenity: construes penal statute as favorably to Def as its language and circumstances of application reasonably permit (Rule of Strict Construction)
                        -liberal vs. strict – states differ
                        -some states = “fair import/meaning of terms”
*all states have lenity to some extent to comply w/Const
                        *cts, interpret statute – do not create offense; when ambiguity, leeway in application; when doubt, err on side of Def.
            -Common Law vs. Statutes
            a.) Legitimacy
                        -crim punishment more severe than civil- legitimacy important
                        -judiciary undemocratic- Leg more representative of public – Leg process more open than judiciary (? i.e. judicial opinions)
            b.) Accessibility and Comprehensibility
                        -allows for advance notice
                        -important for administrators (PO’s, etc.)
                        -statutes easier than case law- cases gradual, often complex
                        -statutes state law; judges decide individual cases
            c.) Prospective vs. Retrospective Operation
                        -statutes operate prospectively unless ambiguous- interpreted by cts
                        -common law may adapt to new situation and applied retrospectively
            d.) Balancing Particular and General
                        -common law balance – present-oriented vs. future-oriented
                        -statutes solely broad and future-oriented
            e.) Keeping Crim Law Current
                        -judges must wait for litigants – alert to stare decisis
                        -Leg free to visit/revise statute whenever
            f.) Institutional Competence
                        -deliberation and more input from more people – has many resources available to it
-Exec. admin. agencies may pass regulations that=crime

ent constitutionally valid (Joyce: many beds offered but were turned away, there4 homelessness not status)
            -Martin: conduct must be voluntary to qualify for crim. liability-law does not punish involuntary acts (Martin could not be forced to place to manifest crim. conduct)
                        *focus on actus reus of particular statute: appearance vs. manifestation
            -Time Framing
            -Decina: involuntary act by actor may be criminal when circumstances establish act “forseeable” (Def. w/ history of seizures had knowledge of condition and conduct manifest disregard for consequences (“culpably negligent”) when drove and crashed killing/injuring pple.- Def. knew susceptible to seizures at any time and operating vehicle potentially dangerous)
            -Omission (omission + duty = act)
            -Jones: one does not always need affirmative conduct when come to criminal liability (i.e. omission)
-Failure to act may constitute legal breach of dutyr:
                        1.) where statute imposes duty to care for another (fail to file tax return)
                        2.) where one stands in certain status relationship to another (parent-child, husband-wife, etc.)
                        3.) where one’s assumed contractual duty to care for another (lifeguard)