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Supernatural Theories

pre-modern era; supernatural power is taking control; not your responsibility

Choice Theory people

Becarria-wanted to influence his people; Benthem-crime is a choice

main concepts of choice theory

free will; rationality; hedonism (pleasure seekers); policy implications

policy implications of choice theory

deterrence; deserve punishment; raise reward and lower risk

biology theory people


bio theory main concepts

atavism-some ppl more crime prone than others; physical stigmata

modern versions of bio theory

biomechanical factors; neurological problems; genetic factors

psych theory people

Freud-no bio factors every stage critical

main concepts of psych theory

psychodynamics; id, ego, superego

modern versions of psych theory

behavioral factors; cognitive theory; personality; IQ

Strain theory

Merton-stress causes people to conform to crime; less stress=innovators; causes of crime come from structure of society

social disorganization

Shaw and McKay; crime rates higher in community zone

sub culture theory

Cohen; lower class youth set up to fail

social process

something someone does to make them live a life of crime

social learning/differential association

Sutherland; criminal behavior is learned through close groups

social control/social bonds

Hirschi; explain why people don't commit crime; less bonded you are to society the less you care

social reaction/labeling theory

Becker; if expected to become a criminal, then he will

critical criminilogy

economic and political forces are underlying cause of crime; act done in protest of political policies

developmental theory: latent trait- general theory of crime

Gottfredson, Hirschi; somthing inside person that develops by age 8; caused by ineffective parenting;

developmental theory; life course- Age Graded Theory

Sampson, Laub; patterns form once involved in deviance; build upon crimes in the past; try to find way to alter life course-MARRIAGE, STABLE JOB

Developmental theory; life course- Adolescent Limited vs. Life Course Persistent Theory

Adolescent criminals- most people, normal process, fizzles out; career criminals- start young, show signs early

victim precipitation theory

victim is instigating own victimization; lifestyles; routine activities

substantive vs. procedural criminal law

substantive-defines what is criminal and perscribes punishments; procedural-establishes practices of criminal justice process

civil law

interaction between private parties (contracts)

public law

interaction between government agency and public (govt contracting)

public (criminal) vs. private (civil)

criminal-plantiff is state, civil-plantiff is private party; incarceration-criminal, monetary sanction-civil

goals to criminal law

enforce social control; distribute retribution; express public norms; deter criminal behavior; punish; maintain social order; restoration

stare decisis

local area judges based decision on established customs and practices; began writing previous decisions in 12th century (common law)

mala in se

crimes consistently wrong everywhere

mala prohibita

crimes established by legal statutes only

US Criminal Law

constantly shifting interpretations; Constitution limits criminal law by: cruel and unusual punishment, bills of attainder (w/out trial), and ex post facto (retroactive laws)

felonies, misdemeanors, violations

murder; theft; parking ticket

actus reas

person commited some physical act

mens rea

act commited was intentional

proximate cause

direct cause

actual harm

measurable harm


take out actus reas; fact that you did not ACT makes you responsible

criminal negligence

take out mens rea; acted but wasnt INTENTIONAL and still bad

strict liability

jact you commited crime alone is enough

criminal defenses: excuses

defendant's mental state was impaired at the time; examples-insanity, battered womans syndrom

criminal defenses: justifications

act was reasonable under circimstances; examples-duress (had to or robber would shoot someone else), self defense, cecessity

4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments

4th- search and seizures; 5th- self incrimination; 6th- speedy trial

Crime control model

societal level; presumption of guilt; assembly line; efficiency; plea bargins; no appeals

due process model

fairness and justice; rights of accused; obstacle course; fairness at cost of efficiency; everyone has day in court; appeals

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