Peter J. Henning, Criminal Law, Fall 2011
Proving the Crime pp.47-49; pp. 199-205; pp.229-233 (8/30/2011)
I. Chapter 2 Criminal Statutes (pp.47-49)
i. Constitution entitles a defendant to a jury trial if a possible incarceration exceeds 6 months.
ii. Defendant can waive jury trial if prosecution agrees, judge will hear case
b. Motion for judgment of Acquittal
i. Similar to a summary judgment or directed verdict in a civil case
ii. Constitution prohibits granting a directed verdict of guilty
c. Double Jeopardy
i. Government may not pursue a charge if defendant found not guilty, regardless of strength of evidence.
ii. Dual Sovereignty Doctrine permits a different state or the federal government to prosecute a person for the same crime if jurisdiction permits.
d. Basis for an Appeal:
i. Insufficient evidence- government fails to provide sufficient evidence
ii. Improper jury instruction
iii. Evidentiary challenge- evidence improperly admitted or excluded
iv. Constitutional challenge- deprivation of constitutional rights
v. **Government cannot appeal a not guilty verdict returned by a jury, but can appeal a dismissal before trial and sentencing issues
II. Reasonable Doubt: United States v. Jackson (pp.199-205)
i. Defendant found guilty at trial for felony possession of firearms.
ii. To prove that he was previously convicted felon, the government claimed that a person named Aaron Jackson, the same name as the defendant, was convicted of unlawful possession of a weapon in 1984.
iii. The defendant neither testified nor called witnesses but argued that the government failed to prove that both Aarons Jacksons were the same individual.
b. Court Opinion and Reasoning
i. The test for determining a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence asks whether a rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
ii. There is no reason to believe that the defendant was the only person so named
iii. If statistics such as DNA or fingerprints were offered, we can conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that they must be the same individual.
iv. No evidence that the two are same race, height, weight, or any physical characteristic.
v. The government advocates that where a prior conviction is an essential element of the crime, a court conviction that a similarly named person will suffice beyond a reasonable doubt.
vi. The defense is entitled to a directed acquittal without the necessity of ever producing its own evidence.
vii. Requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, fundamental principles of criminal law, imbedded in the Fifth Amendment’s command of due process.
i. We are require to reverse the conviction, even though we know he is guilty
ii. This is the consequence of being governed by the rule of law
III. Chapter 7 Proving the Case (pp.229-233)
a. Trials determine facts, not law
i. In most cases, the law is not in dispute, but rather the facts
ii. Fifth Amendment protects the right against self-incrimination.
b. Two types of facts:
i. Raw facts
1. Who did what to whom, when, and hwy
2. Something that happened out there, in the real, observable world
ii. Normative fact
1. One where there is no real answer
2. Mental state determination involves normative facts
i. Credibility judgments are decisions about who is telling the truth or whose tale merits belief.
ii. Job of the direct examiner to build up his or her witness’s credibility and of the cross-examiner to undermine it.
iii. Cross examination ROTC technique- Remember, Observe, Tell the Truth, Communicate.
Principles of Punishment pp.1-17 (9/1/2011)
I. Theories of Punishment- The Queen v. Dudley and Stephens
i. Thomas Dudley and Edward Stephens, along with Brooks and an English boy were stranded in sea.
ii. Dudley and Stephens killed the boy for food to save their own lives
iii. 4 days later, they were picked up by a passing vessel
iv. They claim that if they did not feed on the boy, they would not have survived
b. Lord Colerdige Opinion
i. The prisoners put to death a weak boy to preserve their own lives
ii. Deprived the boy of any chance of survival
iii. They might have been picked up next day, or never picked up at all, in either case making in an unnecessary act
iv. Court passes sentence and death upon prisoners
II. Theories of Punishment
i. General deterrence- individuals will not commit crimes for fear of punishment
ii. Specific deterrence- defendant will avoid future crimes
i. Utilitarian theory- society has an obligation to punish an individual to make him a better person
ii. People are capable of changing and contributing positively to society
i. Isolating wrongdoers from law abiding citizens
i. Education is a form of rehabilitation
i. Individual get was he or she deserves
ii. Communicative retributivism- deprivations help to define the fundamental equal worth of all human beings
III. Problem one
a. The prosecutor should seek the death penalty for 14 counts of murder. Previous cases such as The Queens v. Dudley and Stephens, show that murdering others, or sacrificing others, for the sake of yourself and others, still constitutes murder. They are depriving these individuals from their right to life. The defense counsel would argue that all the individuals on the lifeboats would have died if some individuals were not thrown off. The court should consider the fact that a large number of men were thrown off like animals. The court should also consider that the men resisted violently, showing unconsent.
IV. Problem Two
a. I would prosecute defendant A. For one, the amount that defendant A is failing to pay is significant to the government, therefore retribution, specifically communicative retributivism, would be the goal. To show this individual that your wealth does not put you above other. But most importantly, because defendant A’s case would make more headlines, it would act as a general deterrent for all those who are thinking of cheating on their taxes.
V. Determining the Appropriate Sentence- State v. Jensen
i. Jensen moved into an apartment
nts: gaining possession of the victim’s property and asportation or carrying away.
3. The carjacking statute itself reflects the overlap between carjacking and robbery. If a term has not been defined by statute, it is assumed that the common law meaning was intended.
4. No indication that the legislature intended to alter the meaning of “felonious taking.”
5. We presume that the legislature intended the same words in the carjacking statute as the robbery statute.
b. State v. Donaldson
1. Donaldson entered a van that did not belong to him, dismantled the steering column, manipulated the ignition switch, turning on the radio and check engine sign.
2. Convicted of second degree theft. Donaldson argues insufficient evidence that he possessed the van.
ii. Iowa Supreme Court
1. Iowa theft statute replaces common law larceny requirement of asportation with “possession or control” of another’s property.
2. Control begins when the defendant uses it in a manner beyond his authority.
3. Movement or motion of the car not necessary for possession.
4. State only had to show that Donaldson had dominion over it in a manner inconsistent with his authority.
5. The moment Donaldson began to manipulate the electrical wires for the purpose of starting the engine, he exerted complete control.
c. Notes and Questions
i. Statutory interpretation tools
1. Ejusdem Generis- when general language follows specific terms in a statute, the rule limits the general language to the specific terms.
2. Statutory title- does the title of the statute provide a meaning or intent
3. Expressio unius est exclusio alterium- the expression of one thing is the exclusion of another. Anything not included was meant to be excluded.
ii. Rule of Lenity- criminal statutes should be interpreted narrowly in order to ensure that the defendant is not convicted for a crime he is unaware of.
iii. International Law- Small v. United States
1. The meaning of the word “any”
2. Domestic legislative meaning, not extraterritorially
3. Dissent- the court is innovating and changing meaning of the word ‘any’
a. Columbus v. Kim
1. Defendant convicted of harboring an unreasonably loud or disturbing animal in violation of Columbus city code
2. Dog barked loudly and constantly for hours
3. Appealed on basis that ordinance is constitutionally vague
ii. Ohio Supreme Court
1. Ordinance contained sufficient standards to place a person of ordinary intelligence on notice of what conduct is prohibited.
2. In order to prove vagueness, party must show that statute is vague in the sense that no standard of conduct is specified at all.
1. Statutes are required to be clear, which is a matter of judicial interpretation
2. Statute cannot be so vague that men of common intelligence have to guess at its meaning
1. Ordinance must be crafted so as to prove a person of average intelligence guidelines that could be followed.
2. Slippery slope in applying reasonableness…what is reasonable?