Criminal Law Assessment Paper

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Criminal Law Assessment Paper
Nicole Mazurkiewicz
Graham Quisenberry
July 12, 2010

This paper will present an assessment of Criminal Law. The paper will discuss sources and purposes of criminal law. Some of the topics that will be discussed will be, explain jurisdiction to create and enforce criminal law, the adversarial system and what standards of proof are needed in criminal cases. We will also discuss the concepts of criminal liability versus accomplice liability as well as, inchoate offenses and how they fit into additional criminal offenses.

Criminal law can be found to go as far back as to the code of Hammurabi. This code was named after King Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC). The laws here pertained to sexual relationships, interpersonal violence and issues of ownership (Schmalleger, Hall, Dolatowski, Chapter 1). However, the Hammurabi laws had little influence on the western laws of today’s society. Our laws were mostly influenced by the Old English common law. The concept of stare decisis was formed. Stare decisis means, let the decision stand. This concept helps the courts in the decision-making process and promotes fairness in the judicial system.

The adversarial system is seen in our system of law. This system allows each person to argue their innocence before a jury. The system has a two-sided structure and plays the prosecution against the defense. Justice is determined when the best adversary convinces a jury or judge that his or her perspective is the right one. This may leave us to be more likely to be convicted and less innocent of a crime. Disadvantages to this system are, trials are expensive to operate and time taken to hear cases, jurors can be influenced by media coverage, jurors can be easily persuaded by good council, and jurors sometimes have difficulty when analyzing complex evidence.

Jurisdiction is a legal authority over a certain geographical area. There are many different types of...
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