Legal Studies - Exam 1

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Factual Guilt

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85 Terms
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Factual Guilt

whether a defendant has committed a crime

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Legal Guilt

whether guilt has been established via procedure/trial

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Civil Law

form of private law, governing relationships between individuals (i.e. property, contract, business dispute); intent usually not required, resolved by trial/settlement, preponderance of evidence, results in liability to pay damages

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Criminal Law

form of public law, designed to prevent/enforce certain types of behaviors and punish offenders; defined by state legislatures and Congress; intent required, resolved by trial/plea bargain, beyond a reasonable doubt, results in "guilty sentence"

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Double Jeopardy

prosecuting a defendant for the same crime in the same jurisdiction multiple times

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Sources of Law

Constitutions, statutes, case law

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Goals of Criminal Justice System

doing justice, controlling crime, preventing crime

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"Doing Justice"

accountability, protection of rights; fairness, impartiality, and equality

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Discretion

freedom of one to make decisions based on personal judgment rather than rules; judges, jury, officers, prosecution, parole boards

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Jurisdiction

the territory within which power can be exercised

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Dual court system

system consisting of separate judicial system; state and federal

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Crime

actions that violate laws and invite punishment

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Mala in se

wrong in themselves (i.e. rape, murder)

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Male prohibita

wrong by the government, not necessarily in themselves (i.e. prostitution, gambling, drug use)

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Nominal damages

trivial sum of money awarded to persons who legal right have been technically violated

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Utilitarian/Consequentialist approach

looking at the numbers, data, "1 is better than 5" (trolley)

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Categorical/Value approach

morality based on freedom/autonomy; Immanuel Kant

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Categorical Imperative

moral obligation that is binding, not dependent on purpose

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Legal System

operating set of interdependent institutions & actors, procedures, and laws/rules directed to justice; must always be considered within culture

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Police

collection of agencies; keep the peace, apprehend violators/combat crime, prevent crime, and provide social service

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Courts

responsible for adjudication; determining whether or not a defendant is guilty

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Corrections

the department of local government that is responsible for managing the treatment of convicted offenders

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Flow of Decision-Making

Police > Prosecution > Courts > Corrections

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Model

conceptual representation of IRL phenomena. Made for when it is slightly understood but hard to see directly

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Crime Control Model

assumes every effort must be made to repress crime. Emphasizes efficiency, capacity to catch > try > convict > punish offenders. Speed and finality; crime control > individual rights

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Due Process Model

assumes freedom is top priority, decision-making must be based on reliable information. Stresses adversarial process, defendant rights, formal decision-making procedures

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Presumption of Guilt

Packer; more "prediction of guilt" - pragmatic/practical, only spend time on cases that will end in conviction

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Presumption of Innocence

Packer; assumes the accused is innocent until proven guilty. Burden of proof on prosecution - safeguards proper procedure

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Ultima ratio

Criminal sanctions should be the last end resort

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Deviance

abnormal behavior going against social norms/expectations (i.e. theft, murder, homelessness, standing too close to someone)

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Cultural Foundations of Crime

deviance + crime are culturally determined (i.e. in Germany, insulting someone is a misdemeanor)

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Substantive Criminal Law

defines actions the government can punish, and defines the punishments for them; Congress, state legislatures, city council (also called penal code)

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Procedural Criminal Law

defines rules that govern how laws will be enforced; Supreme Court and state courts

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Criminalization and Enforcement

reclassification and expansion of crimes and what are considered crimes (i.e. reclassifying e-bikes from being motorized vehicles)

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Decriminalization

legislation that makes something legal that was formerly illegal

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Distinguish

creation of new crimes and legislatures; interpreting existing crimes via judges

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Michelle Carter

young woman texts boyfriend encouraging his suicide, ends up in her incarceration for manslaughter; blurs line of "free speech"

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Overcriminalization

overuse/abuse of criminal law to address societal problems and punish mistakes

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Types of Crimes

classification by severity/status

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Felony

a serious crime with imprisonment 1 or more years

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Misdemeanor

a crime less serious than a felony; imprisonment 1 or less year, probation, or intermediate sanctions

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Status Offense

juvenile crimes (i.e. underage drinking, truancy, violating curfew)

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Strict Liability

do not need to establish a guilty mind (i.e. statutory rape)

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Infraction/Citation

quasi-criminal, violation of a rule/local ordinance (no jailtime) (i.e. littering, parking ticket)

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Visible Crime

offense against person/property, committed primarily by members of lowest class ("street/ordinary crime")

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Occupational Crime

crimes committed through opportunities in business or operation

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Transnational Crime

profit-seeking crimes that involve planning/execution across borders

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Victimless Crimes

offenses involving willing + private exchanges of illegal goods/services; victims do not feel harmed, based on society as a whole being injured (i.e. prostitution, drug use, gambling)

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Political Crimes

acts done for ideological purposes; against the state or by the state (treason, sedition, espionage)

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Cybercrime

offenses that involve one or more computers

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Characteristics of Criminal Law

politicality, specificity, uniformity, penal sanction

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Politicality

Ony rules made by state or federal govs. are crimes

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Specificity

no crime, no punishment w/out specific law; law has to give "fair warning"; if not, "void" - people can only guess at its meaning

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Uniformity

evenhanded justice; no bias to persons or social status (individualization, equity, uniformity)

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Penal Sanction

law without punishment is powerlessness; not necessarily jail, could be rehab

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Elements of Crime

Legality + Act + Concurrence + Mens rea > Causation -> Harm -> Punishment

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Legality and Punishment

do not need to be proven by state

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Burden of proof

duty of proving beyond a reasonable doubt; the prosecutor

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Crime Rates

crimes aren't increasing; rather decreasing

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Voluntarily v. Intent

If you can control it, it's voluntary | Intent - mens rea

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Actus Reus

human conduct (speech, attempt, doing/being, failure to act)

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mens rea

"guilty mind", blameworthiness, state of mind that accompanies a crime

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Establishing mental state

"What would a reasonable person do?" (exception: strict liability crimes)

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Concurrence

act must concur w/ mens rea (A pulls trigger to shoot B, who dies)

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Causation

"But for" actor's conduct, harm wouldn't have happened

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Necessary Condition

actual evidence that a party is at fault for causing harm to another (also called factual causation)

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Sufficient Condition

defendant held criminally responsible for harm caused to another (also called legal causation)

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"But-For" Standard

an action causes an injury if, but for the action, harm wouldn't have occurred

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Inchoate crime

crime of preparing or seeking to commit another crime (i.e. conspiracy)

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Defense

factor that justifies/excuses actor's responsibility (i.e. alibi)

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Justification Defenses

self-defense, necessity

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Excuse Defenses

duress/coercion, entrapment, mistake of fact, intoxication/drugged

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Disparity and Discrimination

minorities are subjected to system at a higher rates than white majority (explanations: POC commit more crimes, racially biased system, system expresses society's racial bias)

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Uniform Crime Reports

annual statistical summary of crimes reported to police, based on voluntary reports (also called UCR)

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National Incident-Based Reporting System

system where police describe each offense in crime incident w/ data describing offender, victim property (also called NIBRS)

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National Crime Victimization System

Bureau of Justice System; determines number and types of criminal victimizations and extent of (un)reported crimes (also called NCVS)

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U.S. Mass Shootings

The U.S. has a high rate of shootings because of the high amount of guns, comprising 4.4% of the global population yet 42% of the gun population. (article)

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Doing the Right Thing

a real version of the trolley problem - kill Afghani farmers, or risk being found by the Taliban? (article)

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I Nearly Died of a Drug Overdose

"Drug-induced homicide laws"; attacking drug dealers and not the ones behind the operations (cartels, drug traffickers). Creates fear within drug users, and deters people from calling for help when OD's happen. (article)

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McBoyle v. United States

Reversed sentencing due to rewriting definition of a law; aircraft is not considered motor vehicle (reading)

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The Brain on Trial

Biological explanations cannot be ignored when discussing reasoning behind crime - does that excuse it? Is it fair to prosecute someone for it when it could happen to anybody? (article)

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Justice for Trafficking Victims

focus on recovery and preventing trafficking; procedural justice, restorative justice, and transitional justice (article)

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Restorative Justice

maintains that justice outcomes may not always serve interests of survivors, offenders, and communities

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Procedural Justice

maintain that process where justice is achieved is more important than case outcomes

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