Criminal Law: An Introduction

Topics: Criminal law Pages: 2 (803 words) Published: November 2, 2015

Criminal Law Paper
Stephanie Watts

Criminal Law Paper
Criminal Law serves many purposes and aides in maintaining today’s society and norms as we know it. According to sociologist Max Weber, the purpose of criminal law is to regulate human interaction (Criminal Law Today). According to text, criminal law protects society from harm, assuage victims of crime, punish and rehabilitate offenders, preserve and maintains social order, deters criminal activity, distinguishes the difference between criminal and civil wrongs, stipulates the degree of seriousness of criminal conduct, and establishes criteria for the clear determination of guilt or innocence at trial (Criminal Law Today). In this paper, I will discuss a recent Supreme Court case, address accomplice liability and criminal liability and how it relates to the case. This paper will also describe the difference between the various elements of crime, including actus reus, mens rea, and concurrence and how they relate to the case. In the United States, while the labels of a crime may differ, they all share the element of crime and define criminal conduct (Criminal Law Today). In order to convict a defendant of a particular crime, the prosecutor must first prove that all statutory elements of the crime is present, and a defendant can be found not guilty if even one element is lacking. (Criminal Law Today). There are three aspects of all crimes. They are actus reus, or a criminal act, mens rea, or a criminal thought/ mental state, and a concurrence of both (Criminal Law Today). Some suggest that causation, or resulting harm is the fourth element of crime (Criminal Law Today). If there is a case where all elements of crime cannot be proven, criminal liability will not be demonstrated. However, if mens rea is not present, an offense may be classified as strict liability if a harmful act is committed, regardless if intent was there or proven (Criminal Law Today). The Supreme Court case...
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