Criminal Law the Book Is Divided Essay

Pages: 10 (2745 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

Criminal Law

The book is divided into 13 different chapters, covering a wide range of issues of criminal law, including the elements of crime, the basic legal limits upon criminal law, different categories of crimes (homicide crimes, crimes against habitation or crimes against property), as well as offenses against government and the administration of justice. This paper will aim to provide brief summaries of all the chapters and an overall evaluation of the book.

The introductory chapter, like in many of the Gilbert Law Summaries (maybe even more so than other cases), is fundamental because it lays down the basic principles of criminal law, before the other chapters discuss these in more detail. The first part has a general definition of the crime, linking together the act itself or an omission prohibited by law with the act of punishment for such an act.

A classification of crimes in the introduction points out to the main types of crimes: felonies and misdemeanors, according to one classification, malum in se and malum prohibitun, according to another classification. The introductory chapter continues to outline some other issues, such as the prosecutions in homicide cases, and the concept of burden of proof.

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Chapter 2 refers to the criminalization decision, in other words, to several elements that lead society and the administrative and judicial instruments to take action against a crime. Several justifications for punishments are discussed, according to different schools of thought, including the specific and general preventions, and the retribution justification, which supports the idea that a defendant should be punished because he committed a crime as the sole justification for the punishment. Quite interesting, the chapter goes on to debate a cost vs. benefits analysis for society, with several arguments on each side.

TOPIC: Essay on Criminal Law the Book Is Divided Into Assignment

The criminal law is defined and determined by a particular set of legal limits, as imposed by the legislative framework of the country. This means, for example, that a person cannot be judged for a criminal offense if that respective offense is within the rights that are guaranteed to him by other fundamental laws of the country. The chapter goes on to discuss the due process prohibition against vagueness, pointing out both the general rule and potential exceptions to that rule. As a general rule, criminal statute must be precise, but there are different criteria by which vagueness can be judged, which are detailed here.

The chapter continues to present several other amendments in the Constitution that place legal limits to the application of criminal law. One of these is the eight amendment against cruel and unusual punishments, which, at the same time, details the constitutional permissibility of the death penalty. At the same time, the chapter discusses the cases of multiple liabilities and how and in what situations this is applied. In general, the criminal liabilities are cumulated when there are different interrelated offenses, committed together and for related reasons. Several other prohibitions imposed by the legal framework are detailed in the chapter.

Chapter 4 is one of the key chapters in the book, describing the elements of crimes. First of all, there are four different categories of crimes: conduct, act, or omission; a result; circumstances and mens rea or culpable mental state. Beyond this, the chapter goes on to detail the criminal acts as being caused either by affirmative acts or by the failure to act in a particular manner. The former imply some conscious movement in the sense of committing a crime, while the acts of omission, the former, are taken into consideration if several criteria are abided by (in general, if the person had a legal duty to act, had the knowledge to do so and if it was possible for that person to act).

The chapter also relates to and details each of the categories previously mentioned, with an emphasis on the mens rea (including an analysis and the terminology used, the constitutional considerations and the notion of criminal negligence) and its relationship with actus reus (namely the fact that the mens rea determines the actus reus, as the act is a result of the culpable state of mind).

Finally, an important part of this chapter is the subchapter on causation. The subchapter discusses the two types of causation, namely factual causation and proximate causation and underscores the necessity to link the conduct of the defendant with the end result of his actions.

Chapter 5 involves a discussion on the scope of criminal liability. First of all, there are crimes where there are several persons involved in committing it, so the first part of this chapter goes into an analysis of the notion of complicity to commit a certain crime. The parties of the crime are not necessarily individuals who are directly involved in the act itself, but rather people who may have assisted or encouraged, in any way, the criminal conduct. The role of the parties in the criminal act determines the category in which the parties are classified: principal in the first degree, principal in the second degree, accessory before the fact or accessory after the fact.

Modern classification includes several other potential complicity statuses, including the act of inciting a person to commit a criminal act or being an accessory after the fact.

The second part of this subchapter discusses the accomplice liability, both in terms of the requirements for accomplice liability and the possible defenses to accomplice liability. In terms of the former, there are two conditions for the accomplice liability to be taken into consideration: the intention of the defendant in this case and the fact that the criminal act was actually committed. With the latter issue presented, possible defenses include the effective and timely withdrawal before the crime is committed and situations where the accomplice liability is not applicable.

Vicarious liability, namely the liability for the acts of others, completes the different forms of potential complicity to a criminal act. In comparison to the other accomplice liabilities, here the relationship between the person committing the criminal act and the accomplice is sufficient for vicarious liability to be established, even without the active accomplice participation from the defendant.

A special section is dedicated to the criminal liability of corporations and associations. According to the modern rule, corporate liability can be successfully imposed, included through the existence of legislative intent and depending on the nature of the crime. Several other conditions are mentioned, including the authority to act in a certain way that encouraged the criminal act. The subchapter details the area of liability and how this extends to individuals or to unincorporated associations.

Chapter 6 is the chapter on defenses. This is probably the most exhaustive chapters in the book, with every possible form of defense being widely detailed and debated. The chapter goes through all forms of potential defenses, including the fact that defendant could be considered a child (according to the definition, in terms of age, of infancy), insanity-based defenses or those based on diminished capacity. These subchapters go into great depths and detail, including, for example, some of the instruments that are used (the M'Naghten rule, the Model Penal Code, the Durham rule etc.).

Chapter 7 deals with preliminary or inchoate crimes, emphasizing, primarily, the notion of solicitation and how the incitement to commit a crime is regulated, according to common law. Conspiracy is subsequently discussed, as an agreement between parties to accomplish an unlawful purpose or to accomplish a lawful purpose by unlawful methods. The subchapter on conspiracy presents both the requirements for an act to be considered a conspiracy, the punishment applied and special cases relating to conspiracy, including some exceptions. Finally, incitement and conspiracy are completed with a separate subchapter dealing with the attempt to commit a criminal act.

Chapter 8 discusses homicide crimes, those criminal acts that involve the hilling of a human being by another human being. There are several categories of homicide crimes, but, most generally, it is agreed that there are four big type of such criminal acts: murder, felony murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. The last subchapter in this chapter brings on some very interesting debates, for example, the issue of the killing of a fetus and to what degree (and from what moment) killing a fetus can be considered homicide. Other elements that are not generally taken into consideration are presented here, for example "the year and a day rule," according to which the death must occur within a year and a day from the time the cause of death was administered. Suicide, in the form of aiding or causing suicide, is also debated from the legal perspective.

Chapter 9 is about other crimes committed against a person, including assault and battery, mayhem, rape and related offenses, false imprisonment and kidnapping. All chapters go into great detail to refer to the respective situations and present all the exceptions that may occur (in the case of rape, for example, traditionally, a husband cannot rape his wife, but many states have now introduced statutes that allow forcible rape… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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