Part 1: The Nature of Crime, Law, & Criminal Justice
1. Myth vs Reality
2. Developing the Criminal Justice System
A. The Modern Era of Justice
B. Federal Involvement in the Criminal Justice
3. The Contemporary Criminal Justice
4. The Formal Criminal Justice Process
A. The Criminal Justice Assembly Line
5. The Informal Criminal Justice Process
A. The "Wedding Cake" Model of Justice
6. Perspectives on Justice
A. Crime Control Perspective
B. Rehabilitation Perspective
C. Due Process Perspective
D. Nonintervention Perspective…
Consensus View of Crime
The majority of citizen's in society share common ideals and work toward a common good. Crimes are acts that are outlawed because they conflict with the rules of the majority and are harmful to society.
Conflict View of Crime
The law is controlled by the rich and powerful who shape its content to ensure their continued economic domination of society. The crimina justice system is an instrument of social and economic repression.
Interactionist View of Crime
Criminal law reflects the values of people who use their social and political power to shape the legal system.
People who wage moral crusades to control criminal law so that it reflects their own personal values.
A violation of societal rules of behavior as interpreted and expressed by a criminal legal code created by people holding social and political power. Individuals who violate these rules are subject to sanctions by state authority, social stigma, and loss of status.
Uniform Crime Reports (UCR)
The FBI's yearly publication of where, when, and how much serious crime occurred in the prior years.
Official Crime Statistics
Compiled by the FBI in its Uniform Crime Reports, these are a tally of serious crimes reported to police agencies each year.
Part I Crimes
The eight crimes for which, because of their seriousness and frequency, the FBI reports their incidence in its annual Uniform Crime Reports. The Part I crimes are murder, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, arson, larceny, and motor vehicle theft.
Part II Crimes
All other crimes except the eight Part I crimes. The FBI records all arrest made for Part II crimes, including race, gender, and age information.
National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)
The ongoing victimization study conducted jointly by the Justice Department and the U.S. Census Bureau that surveys victims about their experiences with law violation.
A research approach that requires subjects to reveal their own participation in delinquent or criminal acts.
Racial Threat Hypothesis
The view the percentage of minorities in the population shapes the level of police activity.
The view that extreme social and economic differences among people living in the same community exacerbate criminal activity.
Broken Windows Hypothesis
The view that deteriorated communities attract criminal activity.
A delinquent offender who is arrested five or more times before he or she is 18 and who stands a good chance of becoming an adult criminal; these offenders are responsible for more than half of all serious crimes.
Rational Choice Theory
People will engage in delinquent and criminal behavior after weighing the consequences and benefits of their actions. Delinquent behavior is a rational choice made by a motivated offender who perceives the chances of gain as outweighing any perceived punishment or loss.
Human behavior is a function of the interaction of biochemical, neurological, and genetic factors with environmental stimuli.
Criminals are driven by unconscious thought patterns, developed in early childhood, that control behaviors over the life course.
A psychological condition marked by mood swings between periods of wild elation and deep depression.
Social Learning Theory
Behavior patterns are modeled and learned in interactions with others.
Individuals who are always in trouble and do not learn from either experience or punishment. They are loners who engage in frequent callous and hedonistic behaviors are emotionally immature, and empathy.
Social Structure Theory
A person's position in the social structure controls his or her behavior. Those in the lowest socioeconomic tier are more likely to succumb to crime-promoting elements in their environment, whereas those in the highest tier enjoy social and economic advantages that insulate them from crime-producing forces.
Culture of Poverty
The crushing lifestyle of slum areas produces a culture of poverty, passed from one generation to the next, marked by apathy, cynicism, feelings of helplessness, and mistrust of social institutions, such as schools, government agencies, and the police.
A substratum of society that maintains a unique set of values and beliefs.
The passing of cultural values from one generation to the next.
Social Process Theory
An individual's behavior is shaped by interactions with key social institutions--family, school, peer group, and the like.
Social Conflict Theory
Human behavior is shaped by interpersonal conflict, and those who maintain social power use it to further their own interest.
Social interactions that are developed over the life course shape behavior. Some interactions (such as involvement with deviant peers) encourage laws violations, whereas other (such as marriage and military service) may help people desist from crime.
Substantive Criminal Law
A body of specific rules that declare what conduct is criminal and prescribe the punishment to be imposed for such conduct
The rules and laws that define the operation of criminal proceedings. Procedure law describes the methods that must be followed in obtaining: warrants, investigating offenses, effecting lawful arrests, conducting trials, introducing evidence, sentencing convicted offenders, and reviewing cases by appellate courts.
All law that is not criminal, including the law of torts (personal wrongs) and contract, property, maritime, and commercial law.
A personal injury or wrong for which an action for damages may be brought.
The branch of law that deals with the state of government and its relationships with individuals or other governments.
Latin for "law as retaliation." From Hammurabi's ancient legal code, the belief that the purpose of the law is to provide retaliation for an offended party and that the punishment should fit the crime.
Latin for "to stand by decided cases." The legal principle by which the decision or holding in an earlier case becomes the standard by which the subsequent similar cases are judged.
Early english law, developed by judges, that incorporated Anglo-Saxon tribal custom, feudal rules, and practices, and the everyday rules of behavior of local villages. Common law became the standardized law of the land in England and eventually formed the basis for the criminal law in the United States.
Mala in Se
A term that refers to the acts that society considers inherently evil, such as murder and rape, and that violate the basic principles of Judeo-Christian morality.
Crimes created by legislative bodies that reflect prevailing moral beliefs and practices.
A more serious offense that carries a penalty of incarceration in a state prison, usually one year or more. Persons convicted of felony offenses lose such rights as the right to vote, hold elective office, or maintain certain licenses.
A minor crime usually punished by less than one year's imprisonment in a local institution, such as county jail.
An Illegal act. The actus reus can be an affirmative act, such as taking money or shooting someone, or a failure to act, such as failing to take proper precautions while driving a car.
Guilty mind. The mental element of a crime or the intent to commit a criminal act.
Strict Liability Crime
Illegal act whose elements do not contain the need for intent, or means rea; usually, an act that endangers the public welfare, such as illegal dumping of toxic wastes.
A legal defense that maintains a defendant was incapable of forming criminal intent because he or she suffers from a defect of some reason or mental illness.
A legal defense in which defendants claim that their behavior was legally justified by the necessity to protect their own life and property, or that another victim, from potential harm.
A criminal defense that maintains the police originated the criminal idea or initiated the criminal action.
Helping people take their own lives.
The willful, malicious, and repeated following and harassing of another person.
USA Patriot Act (USAPA)
A law designed to grant new powers to domestic law enforcement and international intelligence agencies in an effort to fight terrorism.
Bill Of Rights
The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Evidence seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment cannot be used in a court of law.
Criminal Justice System
The law enforcement, court, and correctional agencies that work together to effect the apprehension, prosecution, and control of criminal offenders. The justice system is responsible for maintaining order, enforcing the law, identifying transgressors, bringing the guilty to justice, and treating the criminal behavior.
Criminal Justice Process
The decision-making points, from the initial investigation or arrest by police to the eventual release of the offender and his or her reentry into society; the various sequential criminal justice stages through which the offender passes.
Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA)
Funded by the federal government's Safe Street Act, this agency provided technical assistance and hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to local and state justice agencies between 1969 and 1982.
The control of an individual's behavior by social and institutional forces in society.
The condition that in order to make an arrest in a misdemeanor, the arresting officer must have personally witnessed the crime being committed.
The term used when a prosecutor decides to drop a case after a complaint has been formally made. Reasons for this include evidence insufficiency, reluctance of witnesses to testify, police error, and office policy.
A type of jury responsible for investigating alleged crimes, examining evidence, and issuing indictments.
True Bill of Indictment
A written statement charging a defendant with the commission of a crime, drawn up by a prosecuting attorney and considered by a grand jury. If the grand jury finds sufficient evidence to support to indictment, it will issue this.
Charging document filed by the prosecution that forms the basis of the preliminary hearing.
Probable Cause Hearing
Term used in some jurisdictions for a preliminary hearing to show cause to bring a case to trial.
A model of criminal justice that emphasizes the control of dangerous offenders and the protection of society. Its advocates call for harsh punishments as deterrent to crime and support availability of the death penalty.
The view that the primary purpose of criminal justice is helping to care for people who cannot manage themselves. Crime is an expression of frustration and anger created by social inequality and can be controlled by giving people the means to improve their lifestyle through conventional endeavors.
Due Process Perspective
A basic constitutional principle based on the concept of an individual's expectations of civil rights and justice and the complementary concept of limitation on governmental power; it is safeguard against arbitrary and unfair state procedures in judicial or administrative proceedings. Embodied in the due process concept are the basic right of a defendant in criminal proceedings and the requirements for a fair trail.
A view of criminal justice that emphasizes the least intrusive treatment possible. Among its central policies are decarceration, diversion, and decriminalization. In other words, less is better.
Reducing the penalty for a criminal act, but not actually legalizing it.
The removal of all criminal penalties from a previously outlawed act.
The policy of removing as many offenders as possible from secure confinement and treating them in the community.
A program that provides nonpunitive, community-based alternatives to more intrusive forms of punishment such as jail or prison.
Widening the Net of Justice
The view that programs designed to divert offenders from the justice system actually enmesh them further in the process by substituting more intrusive treatment programs for less intrusive punishment-oriented outcomes.
Equal Justice Perspective
The view that all people should be treated equally before the law. Equality may be best achieved through individual discretion in the justice process.
A sentencing scheme requiring that offenders serve at least 85% of their original sentence before being eligible for parole or other forms of early release.
Restorative Justice Perspective
A view of criminal justice that advocates peaceful solutions and mediation rather than coercive punishments.