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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 • Trespassory, taking and carrying away of personal property of


another with the intent to deprive the victim permanently of
the goods.
Embezzle •Fraudulent conversion of another’s property by one who was
ment 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.
False •Obtaining the title to the property of another by making
pretenses 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
Robbery •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.
Burglary • 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 •Extortion (blackmail) is generally held to be the making of
& Bribary 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.
Forgery •Intentional falsification or false making of a document
with the intent to defraud.
Bad • Writing a check on an account containing funds insufficient to
Checks 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 • If a person reasonably believes the fact surrounding his


Fact 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.