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Criminal Law
Western New England University School of Law
Shay, Giovanna

Criminal Law
I.                   Overview of Criminal Justice System
a.       6th Amendment guarantees trial by jury
                                                              i.      Prevents oppression by government
                                                            ii.      Proof of guilt must meet high standard
1.      BRD
2.      Worse to convict an innocent man than to set free a guilty one (Winship)
3.      Owens v. State (Maryland 1992)
a.       “A conviction upon circumstantial evidence alone is not to be sustained unless the circumstances are inconsistent with any reasonable hypothesis of innocence
b.      Drunk in truck in wrong driveway
c.       Circumstantial evidence only
d.      Private residence – D argues place, not fact that drunk
II.                Theories of Punishment
a.       Why punish? Who? How?
                                                              i.      Involves pain or deprivation, intentionally inflicted by state, so need to justify
                                                            ii.      Threat of punishment would lose significance if didn’t follow through
                                                          iii.       
b.      Utilitarianism
                                                              i.      Jeremy Bentham
                                                            ii.      Forward thinking
                                                          iii.      Cost/benefit analysis (assumes know penalty and chance of being caught)
                                                          iv.      Since wrong to hurt others, can only justify by useful purposes punishment serves for society – greater good
                                                            v.      General deterrence
                                                          vi.      Individual deterrence
                                                        vii.      Incapacitation
                                                      viii.      Rehab/reform
1.      Criticism
a.       Wildly varied sentences using various input
b.      Determinative sentencing, mandatory sentencing, guidelines, etc. have replaced rehab
c.       Certainty of getting caught matters more than penalty
d.      Punishment or social costs, which is more effective?
c.       Retributivism
                                                              i.      Backward thinking
                                                            ii.      Punish because deserve it
                                                          iii.      People have free will
                                                          iv.      Deterrence is beside the point
                                                            v.      Normalizing role for victim
                                                          vi.      Negative retributivism – only guilty should be punished (guilt is a necessary condition of punishment)
                                                        vii.      Positive retributivism – guilt is necessary and sufficient condition for punishment (don’t need to rationalize, wrongdoers must be punished)
                                                      viii.      Assaultive retributivism – we should treat “criminals as rather like noxious insects to be ground under the heel of society”
                                                          ix.      Protective retributivism – benefit and burden; equalizes when punish criminals
d.      In reality, we have a hybrid system – utilitarian and retributivist
e.       The Queen v. Dudley and Stephens
                                                              i.      Necessity no excuse
                                                            ii.      Death sentence commuted by the crown to six months imprisonment
f.       United States v. Gementera
                                                              i.      Shaming case
                                                            ii.      Is signboard requirement reasonably related to legitimate statutory purpose?
                                                          iii.      Court claims deters, protects public, rehab (though contention is that humiliation is not rehabilitative)
III.             Legality principle – no crime without preexistent law, no punishment without preexistent law
a.       Judges can’t make law, now job for legislature (void-for-vagueness)
b.      Commonwealth v. Mochan (1955 Penn.)
                                                              i.      Harassing phone call
               

      v.      If person gets dangerously close to area of proscribed conduct, they assume the risk of crossing the line
                                                          vi.      Criticisms are that has chilling effect – people will avoid lawful behavior that comes near boundary
e.       City of Chicago v. Morales (Supreme Court, 1999)
                                                              i.      Gang Congregation Ordinance – does it violate Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?
                                                            ii.      Statute providing penalties for criminal conduct is unconstitutionally vague if it fails to give sufficient notice of the type of conduct prohibited
1.      Fails to provide the type of notice that permits ordinary people to understand what is prohibited
2.      Wording of the law encourages arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement
                                                          iii.      Concurrence suggests that legislature could use limiting construction to salvage statute
                                                          iv.      Ironically, since loitering has no purpose, statute doesn’t prohibit criminal purpose
f.       Statutory Interpretation
                                                              i.      United States v. Foster (US Ct of Appeals 9th Circuit, 1998)
1.      Was Mr. Foster “carrying” a gun in the back of his truck?
2.      Weapon must have been within hand’s reach
3.      Dissent says in ordinary usage, D was carrying the weapon by transporting it
4.      2 definitions, even in Black’s; since “use” narrowly defined in Bailey, carry should be defined narrowly, too
5.      If wanted to say “transport,” Congress knew how to say so
6.      Supreme Court defined broadly in similar case, so can argue to define narrowly or broadly