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Criminal Law
University of Georgia School of Law
Dennis, Andrea L.

1.    Nature of Criminal Law
a.    Encompassing social harms (reason for state prosecutors)
b.    Societal condemnation for crim law = reason for burden of proof
2.    An act is criminal if its conduct that will incur a formal and solid pronouncement of the condemnation of the community
a.    Separable into guilty verdict and enforcement/sanction/punishment
3.    Constitutional Limits:
a.    Amendments (see understanding)  
                             i.    4: search and seizure; 8: punishment; 6 “speedy public trial by impartial jury”
                            ii.    14: federalism, state law must be constitutional, due process clause, equal protections clause; 5: burden of proof beyond reasonable doubt
b.    Separation of Powers
4.    Legislative Role/Sources of Criminal Law
a.    Legislature: representation of majority, authorize others to enforce them
b.    Judges: representation of minority, comparatively, protecting individual rights
c.    MPC: needed to solidify development of statutory law from common law, filling gaps between several different developments
d.    4 conditions of laws working successfully, primary addressee must know:
                             i.    of its existence
                            ii.    of its content and relevant aspects
                           iii.    know about circumstances of fact which make abstract terms of it applicable in a particular instance
                           iv.    must be able to comply
                            v.    must be willing to do so
I.     Principle of Legality: in order to be a legally binding standard of conduct
a.    Statutes/laws must be clear enough for reasonable law abider of ordinary intelligence to understand its meaning (Due Process: fair notice).
b.    Must not be so vague/broad as to delegate basic policy matters to other branches, must avoid arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement that may result
c.    Lenity doctrine (judicial interpretation in favor of D)
d.    IT FOLLOWS that courts cannot enlarge the meanings of statutes unforeseeably
                              i.    Keeler: human being /= fetus, examining legislative intent
                             ii.    No jurisdictional ground to create new crime (separation of powers)
                            iii.    No constitutional ground in that it violates fair warning/standard of forseeability of due process
                           iv.    No crime without preexisting law, no punishment without it
II. Judicial construction process
a.    Void for Vagueness: Burden of proof that it is not constitutionally definite (assume constitutionality)
                              i.    Unintelligibility: simply cannot understand? Literally can’t be understood.
1.    Recall: sometimes lawyers have to look up things, so the Due Process Clause is not violated until you’ve consulted a lawyer and still must guess as to its meaning.
                             ii.    Vagueness: A criminal statute must be sufficiently definite as to give notice of the required content, guide a judge in its application, lawyer in defending one charged with its violation
1.    Examine purpose of statute, examine how much vagueness needed to accomplish the legislative goal, and impact of statute on protected rights of individual
2.    In Re Banks peeping tom statute not overly vague because it gives fair notice with “secretly”  (toeing the line might get burned reasoning; only a reasonable degree and no more of certainty can be demanded)
3.    Chicago v. Morales anti loitering gang law provisions “loitering” “apparent purpose” “order to disperse”
a.    Literally cannot mean what it says (Morales has no standard at all to conform to)
                            iii.    Overbroadness: may not be achieved by means that invade legal acts
1.    Banks “secretly” of peeping tom statute (not redundant with “peeping”) as word constructed to limit to wrongful behavior punished by statute, not punishing accidental peeps, not overbroad
2.    Morales: police have total discretion, no harmful act required, permits arbitrary enforcement, could easily punish innocent loitering
b.    Construction process: If, after looking to the regular meaning of the word/phrasin

  Education of public/notice
II. Criminal Procedure
a.    Juries: protect D from zealous atty/judge/oppression from gov’t, introduction of common sense
                              i.    Right to jury: only when non petty offense, incarceration above 6 months
                             ii.    Jury’s as small as 6 ok, can be substantial majority of agreement
                            iii.    Voir Dire: preemptive strikes limited (Batson hearing, overrule if prejudicial), unlimited for cause
b.    Each element beyond reasonable doubt since In Re Winship SCOTUS
                              i.    Beyond reasonable doubt applicable to every fact necessary to convict
                             ii.    Not requirement of instruction on those words exactly (virtual certainty, near certitude, not exactly quantifiable)
                            iii.    Reduction of erroneous verdict (better to let 100 guilty men go)
d.    Objectives a la Du: protect society, punish D, encourage D law abiding life, deterrence, isolation D from crime, secure restitution V, seek uniformity in sentencing
III.        Burden of Evidence
a.    Heightened, but not exclusive to substantive evidence, can convict with only circumstantial
b.    Exclusively circumstantial evidence conviction allowable, but requires circumstances inconsistent with any reasonable hypothesis of innocence (Owens, sitting in running car drunk with 3 empties, suspicious sighting, found on private driveway, residence not established in evidence due to prosecution) conviction affirmed
                              i.    Corrolary: may be convicted if version of facts for innocence does in fact exist
Role of judge to grant summary for