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Criminal Law
University of Toledo School of Law
Carr, James G.

 
Criminal Law:  Spring Semester, 2011:  Judge Carr


Criminal Law in Practice: What it does:
1. Directs: A series of directions/commands formulated in general terms indicating the “musts” and “must not’s” in a justifiable way
2. Validates/Binds: Binds all those who fall within the commands terms when the time comes for applying
3. Sanctions: Commands are subject to one or more sanctions for disobedience which community enforces

Criminal Law vs. Civil Law
Criminal Law: Deals with moral condemnation in concern to the community – the Public Interest
Tort (civil) Law: Deals with private actors/actions

Hart’s Definition of Crime
1) CONDUCT
2) DULY SHOWN to have taken place (through Due Process)
3) WILL INCUR a formal and solemn PRONOUNCEMENT of the
4) MORAL CONDEMNATION of the community

Hart’s Preconditions for a Criminal Statute To Work: Primary Adressee:
1) Should know of the existence and content of the law
2) Must know about the circumstances of fact
3) Must be able to Comply
4) must be willing to comply
PROBLEM with this philosophy? – Hart ignores “ignorance is not a defense”

Duty of Legislature (2)
1) DEFINE what CONDUCT is
2) DEFINE what the PUNISHMENT for conduct is

“Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”
Term for what prosecutor must prove under Due Process Clause
Must prove this element for EVERY fact necessary to constitute the crime charged
NOTE: There is no Consensus among all courts that pinpoints what “reasonable doubt” means

Types of Reasonable Doubt Jury Instructions (5)
1) “Moral Certainty” Instruction
2) “Firmly Convinced” Instruction
3) “No Waver of Vacillation” Instruction
4) “No real Doubt” Instruction
5) “Thoroughly Convinced” Instruction

Jury Nullification
Definition: Jury reaching a verdict despite the preponderance of evidence proven for a guilty verdict
Meaning: A jury can rule contrary to an instruction requiring them to apply the law to the defendant in light of the facts in permissible evidence.
NOTE: Butler’s view on Jury Nullification: It’s owed to them – “victims of Tyranny”

Jury Nullification: Must/Should the Jury be told at Instruction that they can do it?
Case: STATE v. RAGLAND
Held: While a Jury has the right to nullification, it is not a “precious attribute” to right of Trial by Jury.  They need NOT be instructed by a Judge – (Black Victims)

CHAPTER 2: PUNISHMENT
Greenawalt’s Take on Punishment in the Legal System: (3 Questions)
1) WHY (and whether) the social institution of punishment is warranted?
2) WHAT are the necessary conditions for Criminal liability and punishment in particular cases?
3) WHAT form and severity of punishment that is appropriate for particular offenses and offenders?

Hart’s View on Punishment: Asks 2 Questions
1) What is the general justifying aim/purpose of the criminal justice system?
2) To whom may punishment be applied? In what manner? And what amount?

Hart’s 3 Components of Punishment
1) It is performed by, and directed at, agents who are responsible
2) Involves “designedly” harmful or unpleasant consequences – preceded by a judgment of condemnation
3) It is imposed by one who has authority to do so, for a breach of some established rule of behavior

Utilitarian Justifications for Punishment (Bentham): Circumstances to Consider for Punishment
Reason for inflicting pain – It serves some ultimate beneficial purpose
Circumstances to Consider:
1) INTENSITY
2) DURATION
3) CERTAINTY or UNCERTAINTY
4) PROMPINQUITY or REMOTENESS

Bentham on Punishment: A Utilitarian Approach
People either want “pleasure” or to “avoid pain”
Utilitarianism asks, “What purpose does punishment serve? / “What’s the benefit to society?”
Defines 4 Purposes of sentencing and judging under Utilitarianism

Greenawalt: On Bentham’s Consequences of Modern Utilitarianism
1) General Deterrence
If people know the severity of actions – they’re less inclined to commit crimes
2) Individual Deterrence
Deters repetition of an act, for fear of punishment again
3) Incapacitation and other forms of Risk Managemen

The “wink” vs. the “Blink”
Example: STATE v. UTTER
Case: Drunk man killing his son, and defense claimed he didn’t know what he was doing —  That was not enough —  Still an “act”
Example: PEOPLE v. DECINA: Man knew he was predisposed to having spasms, so he may have acted recklessly

OMISSIONS (“Negative Acts”) in Criminal Law
There is no DUTY to act, unless special Relationships
Example: parent/ Child, or Spousal Duty

Example Case of A Negative Act or Omission
Case: PEOPLE v. BEARDSLEY
Facts: Man let woman he was drinking with pass out (pills) – didn’t take her to hospital
ISSUE: Was his act of Omission Criminal?
RULE: NO.  No duty unless special relationship: Parent/Child, Master/Seaman, Husband/Wife

List of Circumstances where there is Duty: Carr Notes this For Exam
1) Where statute imposes Duty
2) Where one stands in a certain status or relationship to another
3) Where one has assumed a contractual duty to care for another
4) Where one has voluntarily assumed the care of another and so secluded the helpless person as to prevent others from rendering aid

Question of culpability for omitting treatment?
CASE: BARBER v. SUPERIOR COURT
Two doctors were treating patient—put on respirator and feeding tube. No signs of improvement – Respirator was removed – Patient remained stable but shoed no signs f improvement – Family approved stoppage of tube feeding and patient died – Manslaughter charges were brought
ISSUE: Were the doctors culpable for death by omitting treatment
RULE: “Murder: the unlawful killing of a human being with malice”
RULING: Court Ruled there was no Malice to constitute Murder