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Chapter 2: Fundamentals of Criminal Law o Vocabulary:

1. Explain the difference between morality and criminality bydefining each. Can some acts be morally wrong but not criminal? Can some acts be criminal but not morally wrong? Give some examples that you can think of that demonstrate each.

a. Morality is the basic philosophy of right and wrong that governs one’s thoughts and behaviors.

b. Criminality is behavior that is contrary to or forbidden by criminal law.

c. Yes, some acts can be morally wrong but not criminal. An example of this would be paying waitresses less than minimum wage. This could be considered morally wrong, but it is not illegal. And some acts can be criminally wrong but not morally wrong. An example of this would be a drug addict. It is criminally wrong to use drugs but morally it’s a little iffy. No one person decides they want to be a drug addict. Drug addiction is a disease that needs to be treated not punished.

2. Explain the difference between mala in se and mala prohibita as a means of one method of classifying crimes. (Section 2.2) Give an example of each.

a. Mala in se means bad in itself; Rape, murder, robbery, and assault and battery are all considered morally wrong actions.

b. Mala prohibita means bad only because it is prohibited, Speeding, tax evasion, and public intoxication.

3. Distinguish felony and misdemeanor and explain why it isimportant to know the difference.

a. A felony is a crime which the punishment is jail for more than one year or incarceration in state prison.

b. A misdemeanor is a crime of a minor nature, the penalty is less than a year.

c. A misdemeanor is a less serious crime than a felony. Felonies are the most serious crimes you can commit and have long jail or prison sentences, fines, or permanent loss of freedoms. Misdemeanors usually involve jail time, smaller fines, and temporary punishments

4. Define ex post facto laws and give 3 situations in which theyoccur. Are these laws constitutional? (Section 2.4)

a. Ex post facto law makes a legal act illegal after it has already been performed; changes the punishment of a crime that has already been committed; or makes it easier to convict someone for a crime they allegedly committed before the law's existence.

b. These laws are unconstitutional

c. Ex post facto laws can occur in three ways:

1. At the time a person commits an act, that act I not criminal but is subsequently made a crime by legislative action, the person cannot then be prosecuted for its violation.

2. Increasing the punishment for a specific crime after it has occurred.

3. Decreasing the state’s burden of proof.

5. What is the difference between violating a state criminalstatue (code) and violating a municipal ordinance? Answer by defining and giving an example of each. (Section 2.5)

a. Municipal ordinance- rule or bylaw by which a public municipality operates.

a. No drinking on a beach

b. State Criminal Statue- a system of law created by the government

a. No drinking and driving or driving under the influence of drug or alcohol.

6. Explain the concept of corpus delicti. (Section 2.6)

a. Corpus delicti is the body of the crime, composed of the elements that make up the act. The principle that a crime must be proved to have occurred before a person can be convicted of committing that crime.

7. Can a person be convicted of murder if the body of the victimis totally missing? Explain your answer.

a. If the courts can prove a violent act was committed by someone by the suspect and there is enough burden of proof and evidence to convince a jury yes someone can convicted of murder even of the body of the victim cannot be found.

8. Is smoking marijuana a felony, misdemeanor, or petty offense?Is it possible that the answer is different depending upon which state you are in? Explain your answer in relation to state jurisdictions.

(Section 2.2)

a. The recreational use of marijuana is legal in some states as well as the use of medical marijuana for those in pain or suffering from anxiety. In certain states smoking marijuana is only a misdemeanor charge. Some other states it can be considered a felony or could lead to other charges like endangerment or public intoxication.

9. Application question- Christopher has committed an act in ajurisdiction (state) that defines a felony as a crime in which is punishable by a term of incarceration (prison by more than one year.

The criminal code for the state indicates that the maximum punishment for that offense is 2 years. Answer the following:

1. At sentence court, Christopher gets 18 months prison term. Has a felony been committed?

2. At sentence court, Christoher gets 6 months county jail. Has a felony been committed?

3. At sentence court, Christopher gets probation. Has a felony been committed?

4. Explain the above answers- is there a difference? Why or why not?

o Notes:

§ Ex Post Facto Laws

• Definition: Any law that alters the existing law (or lack of law) in such a manner that it is detrimental to the substantial rights of an accused person.

§ Law- No leash law

• Pass a law that a dog owner is not allowed to have a dog outside to have a dog outside “tied up” during freezing weather

• =crime.

§ Three situations that create Ex Post Facto

• If at the time an individual commits an act that was not a crime at the TIME of the offense, the person cannot be prosecuted even of a new later law defines the act as a crime. o Example- dog leash, 8 AM finals

§ Test Tuesday sept 24 chapter 1 and 2

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