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Criminal Law
Wayne State University Law School
Morrison, Adele M.

Morrison Crim Law Fall 2010

***Know rules and details of rules is key TESTS***
Chapter 1: Basic Principles of the Criminal Law

I. Foundations of criminal law
a. MPC
i. Define what crimes are
ii. Idea was to clarify
iii. No moral condemnation
b. Sources of Criminal Law
i. all penal laws are subject to U.S. Constitution
ii. crimes and defenses from British system (generally)
iii. interpretations subject to jurisdiction – C/L jurisdictional
c. C/L v. MPC
i. CL
1. judges play a bigger role
2. interpret meaning of statutes
3. using case law
ii. MPC
1. penal codes plays a bigger role
2. can predict the future easily
3. relying on language of the statutes
iii. BOTH
1. statutes normally most important
2. always begin with the governing statute
3. difference is in the statute itself
4. most jurisdictions have included parts of the MPC
5. look at the statute of the state you are in
II. Punishment
a. Def’n – individual violated societies rules
b. Two theories of punishment
i. Utilitarianism
1. best good for the society is morally right
2. result of the action is a greater good for the population as a whole
3. safety for society = jailing criminals
ii. retributivism
1. calibrated to the crime itself
2. morally good/bad = actions
c. Regina v. Dudley & Stephens
i. Facts: Dudley, Stephens, Brooks, and 17 yr old Parker on ship. Cast away at sea. D with consent of S killed boy. B dissented. D slit boy’s throat. All 3 eat the boy. 4 days later a ship comes and picks up and on the spot D and S arrested and charged w/ murder. Jury returns a special verdict – jury believes boy wouldn’t have made it and men might not have w/o eating the boy.
ii. Issue: was the killing warranted? Was the legal defense of necessity allowed for murder?
iii. Holding: killing was not a necessity and necessity is NOT a legal defense to murder
iv. Sentence: both sentenced to death but had prearranged pardons
d. Judges view of law and morality?
i. If this killing is justified it separates morality from the law. No absolute difference between morality and the law. The proper relationship between law and morality are standards we cannot meet for a larger code. We need to maintain common order at the bare minimum.
e. Specific Theories of Punishment
i. Utilitarianism
1. General deterrence – punish one to make others not want to do it
2. Specific deterrence – punish so that the same person is less likely to commit the crime again
3. Rehabilitation – reform the person to being a safer member in society through school, training, or drug rehab
4. incapacitation – keep away from other members – can’t commit any more crimes
ii. Retribution – give the defendant what they deserve – punishment fit the crime (NOT IN MPC)
1. assaultive – eye for an eye
2. protective – protect people from the wrong thing they did
3. victim vindication – even the score by personal individual
iii. In Dudley and Stephens
1. deterrence – keep from killing again
2. retribution – life for a life
3. specific deterrence
4. incapacitation
5. *** Consent to bodily injury is NOT a defense to a crime***
iv. Blecker Article
1. Thesis: rehab does not work in practice. Prison does not accomplish the basic theories of punishment except incapacitation.
a. Problems? The criminals are now more apt to learn new crimes and become a better criminal. This leads to institutionalization.
2. Retribution is arbitrary and too strict or hard
a. We want the Punishment to match the crime, but everyone is treated the same
3. General deterrence – doesn’t work they just become more careful
a. Family and age are the only reasons why criminals do not repeat offenses
4. Rehab – doesn’t work; it is hard to get a job (economic realities of crime)
v. DeFord article – expressive punishment
1. moral condemnation – we don’t approve – outrage is the way we should treat crime and punish
2. Kahan article
a. Shame – fines – community service – good, commendable punishment is not that bad
b. He later recants saying it doesn’t work and not the way we operate
f. People v. Suitte
i. dilemma of discretion essential to U.S. justice
ii. Facts: S convicted of possession of a weapon in the 4th degree. Arrested for having an unregistered hand gun in New York. He said he was aware of the licensing law in NY. Never been convicted or arrested before. Statute mandates that he serve 30 days of jail time.
iii. Issue: was sentence too harsh? Was it an abuse of discretion? The special condition of 30 days in jail
iv. Holding: wasn’t abuse of power
v. Dissent: O’Connor – not proper to use him to send a message to NY.
III. Presumption of innocence
a. The prosecution most meet two types of burden of proof:
i. Burden of production
1. initial responsibility to produce evidence in support of a claim
ii. Burden of persuasion (proof)
1. the ultimate responsibility of proving that a given offense was committed or that the elements of an asserted defense are either present or absent.
b. The standard of proof is a level of certainty beyond a reasonable doubt
c. Defendant’s defense
i. Create reasonable doubt – case in chief or prima facie
1. doubt can give a reason – NOT justify any doubt. Doesn’t have to be absolute but possible cannot suffice.
ii. Affirmative defense – reason for acquittal Suite/Dudley
d. Standards of Review
i. Motion of directed verdict – lack of evidence – doesn’t meet the standard
ii. Appeal – review by a higher court. Must allow verdict to stand unless evidence does not permit a reasonable jury to find the defendant guilty.
IV. Role of the Jury
a. Jury nullification – not follow the law; contrary to the law
i. If acquittal – no right to appeal
ii. If guilty when not mechanisms to correct
iii. POWER NOT A RIGHT
iv. NO RIGHT OR RULE TO NULLIFY
v. People v. Williams
1. D asks for jury nullification on tacked on charge of statutory rape
2. juror 10 refuses to adhere to Judge’s instruction to uphold the law in regard to rape and stat. rape. He believes the law is wrong and, therefore, will not hear any discussions. He was then dismissed.
3. judge just needs to show good cause that the juror was unable to perform his duty
4. PROCEDURAL POSTURE: The Court of Appeal of California, Sixth Appellate District, affirmed defendant’s judgment of conviction for the crime of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Defendant sought further review.
5. OVERVIEW: A juror expressly refused to follow the trial court’s instructions regarding the crime of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor because the juror disagreed with the law criminalizing such behavior. The trial court dismissed the juror and replaced him with an alternate. Defendant claimed the juror should not have been discharged, arguing that the juror’s refusal to follow the law was proper under the concept of jury nullification. The instant court rejected defendant’s argument, concluding that jury nullification was contrary to the ideal of equal justice for all and permitted both the prosecution’s case and defendant’s fate to depend upon the whims of a particular jury, rather than upon the equal application of settled rules of law. There was ample evidence to support th

id not give fair notice of what conduct was forbidden and because it encouraged arbitrary and erratic arrests by the police. The Court noted those § 26-57 criminalized otherwise normal activities and was so inclusive that it allowed punishment for virtually anything that affronted police authority.
ix. OUTCOME: The court held that the city’s vagrancy ordinance was unconstitutionally vague and reversed defendants’ convictions.
c. Kolender v. Lawson
i. This appeal provides a facial challenge to a criminal statute that requires persons who loiter or wander on the streets to provide a “credible and reliable” identification and to account for their presence when requested by a peace officer under circumstances that would justify a stop under the standards of Terry v. Ohio.
ii. Lawson was arrested of loitering 15 times
iii. Jury found the law to be overbroad but did not award damages
iv. No real standards
v. PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Plaintiff arrestee filed an action against defendants, a chief of police and police officers, seeking a declaratory judgment that Cal. Penal Code § 647(e) (1970) was unconstitutional, a mandatory injunction restraining its enforcement, and damages. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s holding that the statute was unconstitutionally vague, and defendants sought review by writ of certiorari.
vi. OVERVIEW: The arrestee had been arrested on approximately 15 occasions and convicted once of violating Cal. Penal Code § 647(e) (1970), which required persons who loitered or wandered the streets to provide a credible and reliable identification and to account for their presence, when requested by a peace officer under circumstances that would justify a Terry stop. The lower courts concluded that the statute was unconstitutional because it contained a vague enforcement standard that was susceptible to arbitrary enforcement and failed to give fair and adequate notice of the type of conduct prohibited. On appeal, the Court held that the statute was unconstitutionally vague, within the meaning of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, because it failed to clarify what was contemplated by the requirement that a suspect provide a credible and reliable identification and because it vested complete discretion in the hands of the police to determine whether the suspect had satisfied the statute and was therefore free to go in the absence of probable cause to arrest. The Court further held that the statute implicated consideration of the constitutional right to freedom of movement.
vii. OUTCOME: The Court affirmed the appellate court’s holding that the statute was unconstitutional and remanded for a jury trial to determine the good faith of the officers in the arrestee’s damages action against them.
d. City of Chicago v. Morales
i. Gang congregation ordinance
ii. Violates due process clause of 14th amendment