Axia College of the University of Phoenix
Foundations of Criminal Justice CJA/ 303
November 10, 2008
What are Natural Crime and Legal Crime? A natural crime is an act in which the ethics of society finds a particular action to be offensive. This nature of crime is associated with Malum in se; a term that signifies crime that is considered wrong in and of it self (MojoLaw.com, 2008). Legal crime is an act that violates criminal law, a man made law and forced by the state. Legal crime is associated with malum prohibitum; a term applied to any action is criminalized strictly by statue and statutory law. Crime is a definition of behavior that is conferred on some persons by others (Robinson, 2005). These crimes are some what of the same and may be view differently by the nature of its actions. For every crime that is committed, there is a certain label that particular crime must go under. After an arrest is made on an offender, information is gather; then there has to be an decision made whether it was a natural crime or legal crime. The comparison of these two crimes are easily differentiated, but both are wrongful acts. The reason I stated both are wrongful acts is because like stated before; crime is a definition of behavior.In my own words, wrongful behavior that is considered naturally wrong. Natural and Legal crime crisscross with each other in so many ways. The definition of Natural Crime (Malum in se) and Legal Crime (Malum prohibitum) can be problematic. The reason why I state this is because, at this point there are very small amount of rules in a society that subsist on a natural point. On the other hand, any particular society has to have some sense of shared ethic, which, even in the deficiency of official law, would forbid certain behavior. The very end result to this is that more often than not, thing people of society consider being Natural Crime (Malum in se) is universally Legal Crime (Malum prohibitum). On the other hand, there are many acts that are Legal Crime, if not all, people of society would consider to be acceptable. The confusion of this issue is the fact that violating any law is Natural (Malum in se). This issue of act itself builds up lawlessness and weakens the power to act of the state to enforce laws. These two terms of crime are used to catergorized victimless crime or legal crime versus crimes that gives a clear and instantaneous danger to the individual or to the survival of a society. The FBI has several classification of major crime. These classifications are violent crime (murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault), and property crime (burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson). Starting with violent crime, these subcatergories of murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault; in order to decide which crime is malum in se or malum prohibitum depends considerably on the chances. Murder is a catergory under violent crime according to the FBI (U.S. Department of Justice, 2007). It is logical to suggest that murder, nonnegligent manslaughter as the willful (nonnegligent) killing of one human being by another is malum in se, but again intentional killing of another person is certainly malum prohibitum in most case scenarios (U.S. Department of Justice, 2007). For instance killing a termally ill person with their consent is malum prohibitum, but might seems ok to some people, therefore is not malum in se. There are numerous case where murder might not be labeled as malum in se. These case included mercy killing, assisted suicide and suicide itself. Forcible rape, as defined in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, is the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. Assaults and attempts to commit rape by force or threat of force are also included; however, statutory rape (without force) and other sex offenses are excluded. (U.S. Department of Justice, 2007) This particular crime is considered in most case malum in se; forcible rape is considered naturally wrong to use force to gain sex from a victim. Another is robbery, defined as taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear (U.S. Department of Justice, 2007). I would considered this label of crime to be both malum in se and malum prohibitum. Again there are exclusions. Acting as an agent of the state, law enforcement officers could remove weapons of contraband with the threat of force during the course of their duties, and since any person of society do not honor possessions taken with the use of force. Therefore make this subcatergory fall under both malum in se and malum prohibitum. Last but not least under violent crimes is aggravated assault. Defined as an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury (U.S. Department of Justice, 2007). This type of crime is fundamentally malum in se. Any person of society would make illegal the threat or act of bodily harm on others naturally wrong, as a stoppage to do so would show the way to a very unsecure society or environment to humans. Property crime is the other classification according to the FBI. Property crime includes burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. Starting with burglary, burglary is defined as the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft (U.S. Department of Justice, 2007). I would consider this crime to be malum in se, because it is harmful to soceity protection of property. However, this could also be malum prohibitum, because certain circumstances would challenge the definition of this crime. Similar crimes such as theft and motor vehicle theft; defined as as the unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession or constructive possession of another and theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle (U.S. Department of Justice, 2007). These two crimes I would suggest fall under both malum in se and malum prohibitum. Taking property from another of value is considered malum in se, but also is malum prohibitum; due to the similarities of the punishments. Then last but not least under this catergory is arson. Defined as any willful or malicious burning or attempting to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc (U.S. Department of Justice, 2007). This crime is malum prohibitum in any case scenerio. Burning of personal property or other peoples property is an unlawful and illegal act. This crime defines and violates criminal laws. In conclusion, laws try to reflect the shared aims by making certain acts legal crimes (malum prohibitum), but the law overlook certain acts and fall short of properly identifying certain acts. Criminal law is continually going through changes on both levels, judiciary and legislative. Crimes that are considered legal crimes (malum prohibitum) is gradually being transformed. Therefore, the moral feelings of the citizens of society should not be looked past while trying to make an understanding the way crime should be labeled and classified as.
MOJOLAW.com (2008). Crimes in Mala In Se. Crime Classifications. Retrieved November 9, 2008, from http://www.mojolaw.com/info/cl018 MOJOLAW.com (2008). Crimes in Mala Prohibita. Crime Classifications. Retrieved November 9, 2008, from http://www.mojolaw.com/info/cl019 Robinson, M.B. (2005). Justice Blind? Ideals and Realities of American Crimnal Justice, 2E. Crime: Which is worse, Crime on the Streets or Crime in the Suites? Retrieved November 9, 2008, from Axia College of the University of Phoenix Foundations of Criminal Justice CJA/ 303 Website week 2 reading eBook Collection. U.S. Department of Justice. (2007). 2007 Crime in the United States. Property Crime. Retrieved November 9, 2008, from http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/offenses/property_crime/index.html U.S. Department of Justice. (2007). 2007 Crime in the United States. Violent Crime. Retrieved November 9, 2008, from http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/offenses/violent_crime/index.html