Justifications of Punishment

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 50
  • Published : November 29, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
Criminal Law Outline
Justifications of Punishment
1. Consequentialist Theory
a. Actions are morally right if and only if they result in desirable outcomes b. Rely on theory of utilitarianism to justify punishment: Forward looking effects of punishment. General deterrence, specific deterrence, rehabilitation, incapacitation 2. Nonconsequentialist Theory

c. Actions are morally wrong in themselves, regardless of the consequences d. Theory of Retributivism: look back at the harm and calibrate the punishment to the crime Theories of Punishment

1) Incapacitation: Incarceration to render them harmless
2) Retribution: collective condemnation of society bearing down. “Just Deserts” 3) Rehabilitation: give the criminal skills and values to make them a law-abiding citizen 4) General Deterrence: deter other criminals from committing crimes 5) Specific Deterrence: deter the punished criminal from future crimes Justifications for Punishment in Context

1. The case of Thomas Dudley (Eng. 1884): Stranded at sea for 24 days, 2 men conspire and kill a third to eat. Charged with murder and sentenced to death a. Necessity defense doesn't apply. Lawfully killing another to save yourself is only in reference to necessity and self-defense (violence towards yourself) Retributive in nature 2. People v Suite: Man owned .32 caliber pistol, not licensed as required by 1980 legislation. Sentenced to 30 days in jail b. Principle aim of the gun licensing law is general deterrence. Reduction of jail time would proclaim that first time offenses would not result in jail for first time offenders and would declare 30 days to be too harsh/abuse of discretion. Upheld to further principle of general deterrence legislature intended Standards of Proof

Prosecution: beyond a reasonable doubt (state has high burden b/c innocent until proven guilty) 1. Curley v US: Judge must ask if prosecution has introduced sufficient evidence such that a rational jury could decide that the prosecution has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt. If evidence reasonably permits a verdict of acquittal or guilt, decision is for the jury to make. Defense: by the preponderance of the evidence. (self-defense, insanity, necessity) Rule of Lenity

When statutory intent is unclear, the ambiguity must be resolved in favor of the Defendant. US v. Dauray
Actus Reus
Definition: Voluntary Act, social harm
A voluntary act that results in social harm, or an omission where there is a duty to act. 1. Thoughts do not constitute criminal acts
2. Actions compelled by the state do not constitute criminal acts 3. Criminal “acts” must be voluntary
4. No liability for omission unless there is a duty to act 5. “Status Crimes” are unconstitutional
Act, not thought
1) Proposition against thought crimes- State v Dalton: “act” was the writing of a child molestation diary. Acquitted. From a deterrence perspective he should not be guilty; from rehabilitation perspective maybe. Since regime is generally geared to deterrence it was the right outcome 2) Hate crimes/speech- Wisconsin v Mitchell: group of black men beats up young white boy a. Rule: Statutes penalizing bigoted motivations (thoughts) are justified b. Rationale: these acts are more likely to provoke retaliatory crimes, so society has a greater interest in punishing them. Deterrence and retribution justify harsher penalties Voluntary, not involuntary

MPC 2.01: Requirements of Voluntary Act
(1) A person is not guilty of an offense unless his liability is based on conduct which includes a voluntary act. (2) NOT voluntary Acts: reflex/convulsion; bodily movement during unconsciousness or sleep; conduct during hypnosis; bodily movement that otherwise is not a product of the effort or determination of the actor, whether conscious or habitual

3) Acting under State Compulsion- Martin v State: drunk on public highway b/c police...
tracking img