Chapter 6-Criminal Law

1. Criminal law establishes duties the violation of which is a societal

wrong against the whole community. a. Part of public law
b. Designed to prevent harm to society by defining criminal conduct

and establishing punishment for such conduct.
2. Crime is any act or omission forbidden by public law in the interest of

protecting society and made punishable by the government in a judicial proceeding brought by it. a. Punishment includes fines, imprisonment, probation, and death. b. Prohibited and punished on grounds of public policy, which may include the protection and safeguarding of government (treason), human life (murder), private property (larceny), deterrence, rehabilitation, and retribution. c. There are no federal common law crimes, all federal crimes are statutory. 3. Crime consists 2 elements :
a. The wrongful or overt act (actus reus)

i. All nonmental elements of a crime; physical act must be performed, the consequences of that act, the circumstances under which it must be performed.
b. The criminal intent (mens rea/mental fault)

i. Mental elements of a crime. ii. Most common law and some statutory crimes require subjective fault.
iii. Subjective fault: Purposeful, knowing, and reckless

a) A person engage in the prohibited conduct or to cause the prohibited result. b) A person acts knowingly if he is aware that his conduct is prohibited and prohibited consequence is practically certain to result. c) A person act recklessly if he consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk- that his conduct is prohibited & will cause a prohibited result.
iv. Objective fault involves a gross deviation from the

standard of care that a reasonable person would observe under the circumstances.
a) Criminal statutes refer by such term as carelessness

or negligence. b) Occurs when a person should be aware of a substantial and justifiable risk (involuntary manslaughter, carelessly driving, issuing a bad check-some states)
v. Many regulatory statutes have dispensed the mental

element of crime by imposing criminal liability without fault. a) Sale of adulterated food, sale of alcoholic beverages to a minor. b) Dealing with health and safety and impose only fines for violations.
4. Crimes were classified mala in se (wrongs in themselves or

morally wrong; murder) or mala prohibita (not morally wrong but declared wrongful by law).

a. From the standpoint of the seriousness of the offense, crime is

also classified as:
i. Felony- any crime punishable by death or

imprisonment in the penitentiary.
ii. Misdemeanor- any crime punishable by a fine or

imprisonment in a local jail.
5. Vicarious liability is liability imposed upon one person for the acts of

another. a. Employers are vicariously liable for any authorized criminal act of their employees if the employer directed, participated in, or approved of the act. (Sherman Trust Act) b. Employers may be criminally liable under the liability without fault statutes for certain unauthorized acts of their employees. 6. Liability of Corporation a. Federal Organizational Corporate Sentencing Guidelines: i. To impose sanctions that will provide just punishment and adequate deterrence. ii. Mandate corporations to formulate and implement compliance programs reasonably designed to prevent potential legal violations iii. Guidelines provide a base fine.
7. White collar crime:

a. Nonviolent crime involving deceit, corruption, or breach of trust.
b. Include crimes committed by individuals, such as embezzlement

and forgery & crimes committed on behalf of corporation.

c. Crime committed by a person spectability and high social status

in the course of his occupation. d. Fraud or deceit practiced through misrepresentation to gain an unfair advantage. e. Sarbanes-Oxley Act f. Computer crime/ cybercrime is best categorized on whether the computer was the instrument or the target of the crime g. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) i. Purpose of terminating the infiltration of organized crime into legitimate business. 8. Crimes against Business Larceny Embezzle ment
• Trespassory, taking and carrying away of personal property of

False pretenses



another with the intent to deprive the victim permanently of the goods. •Fraudulent conversion of another’s property by one who was in lawful possession of it. •Conversion is any act that seriously interferes with the owner’s rights in the property. •Intended to prevent individuals who are lawfully in possession of another’s property from taking such property for their own use. •Obtaining the title to the property of another by making materially false representations of an existing fact, with knowledge of their falsity and with the intend to defraud. • Test of deception (subjective): The test is satisfied when the victims is actually deceived • Mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud •Larceny with the additional elements that the property is taken directly from the victim or in the immediate presence of the victim; the act is accomplished through either force or the threat of force, need not to be against the person whom the property is taken. •Simple Robbery and aggravated robbery. • Breaking and entering the dwelling of another at night with the intent to commit a felony. •Statutory definitions: The building need not to be a dwelling house. The entry need not be at night, and the entry need ot to be technical breaking.

Extortion & Bribary

•Extortion (blackmail) is generally held to be the making of

Forgery Bad Checks

threats for the purpose of obtaining money or property. •Bribery is the act of offering money or property to a public official to influence the official’s decision. (The crime is commited when the illegal offer is made) •Commercial Bribery is the use of bribery to acquire new business, obtain secret information or processes, or receive kickbacks. •Intentional falsification or false making of a document with the intent to defraud. • Writing a check on an account containing funds insufficient to cover the check.

9. Defenses to crimes Defense of •Individuals may use reasonable force to protect their Person or property. Property •Enables a person to commit, without criminal liability. Duress • A person who is threatened with immediate, serious bodily harm to himself or another unless he engages in criminal activity has the valid defense of duress to criminal conduct other than murder. Mistake of Fact
• If a person reasonably believes the fact surrounding his

conduct would not constitute a crime , then the law will treat the facts as he reasonably believes them to be. •Mistake of fact will justify the defendant’s conduct.

Entrapmen •Arises when a law enforcement official induces a person to t commit a crime when that person would not have done so without the persuasion of the police official. •Applies only to government officials and agents.

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