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44 terms

Criminal Law

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Malum Prohibitum
a crime that involves conduct which is wrong because the legislature says its wrong (fishing without a license, burning trash within city limits, etc.)
Malum In Se
Latin for "wrong in itself;" describes conduct that is inherently wrong, in and of itself, regardless of the law
Actus Reus
Latin for "guilty act" The wrongful deed that comprises the physical components of a crime and that generally must be coupled with Mens Rea to establish criminal liability
Mens Rea
Latin for "Guilty Mind" The state of mind that prosecution, to secure a conviction, must prove that a defendant had when committing a crime; criminal intent or recklessness
Criminal Law
The body of law defining offenses against the community at large, regulating how suspects are investigated, charged, and tried, and establishing punishments for convicted offenders
Civil Law
law concerned with private wrongs against individuals
Felony
A serious crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year or by death
Misdemeanor
A crime that is less serious than a felony and is punishable by fine, penalty, forfeiture, or confinement in a place other than prison, like county jail
Infraction
A violation of a rule or local ordinance and not punishable by incarceration
Criminal Conduct
Intent to commit an evil act in violation of a statute, also known as criminal intent
Criminal Negligence
recklessly acting without reasonable caution and putting another person at risk of injury or death (or failing to do something with the same consequences)
Recklessness
giving little thought to danger
Criminal Knowledge
Awareness of conduct that would undoubtedly produce a criminal result
Criminal Purpose
requires premeditated intent to act in a manner consistent with criminal activity
Transferred Intent
Defendant intends to harm one victim, but instead accidental harms another.
General Intent
the intent to perform an act even though the actor does not desire the consequences that result.
Specific Intent
the intent to accomplish the precise criminal act that one is later charged with
no intent / strict liability
liability without fault, or in the absence of mens rea; it's based on voluntary action alone
Principal in the First Degree
parties who actually take part in a criminal act, could also be someone who actively possess mens rea but convinces another to perform the act; coercement, trickery, or threats
Principal in the Second Degree
persons who actually assist in the physical commission of a crime or person whose conduct enables another to commit a crime. Ex: someone makes deliveries for a dealer of drugs, even though he may not obtain, sell or use the drugs he is still enabling the crime
Accessory before the Fact
a person who orders a crime or helps the principal commit the crime but who is not present during the crime
Accessory after the Fact
someone who, knowing a crime has been committed helps conceal the crime or the criminal
Stare Decisis
to stand by that which was decided; rule by which courts decide new cases based on how they decided similar cases before
Legislative Branch
responsible for making laws
Executive branch
responsible for enforcing laws
Judicial branch
responsible for interpreting laws
Supremacy Clause
a clause in the U.S. constitution stating that the constitution, federal laws, and treaties are the supreme law of the land; Article VI, Section 2
Preemption Doctrine
The concept that federal law must take precedence over state and local law
Commerce Clause
a clause in the U.S. constitution giving the federal government the right to regulate interstate commerce; Article I, Section 8, Clause 3
Police Power
the power of a government to enforce laws and regulate the health, safety, and welfare of the population
Justifiable Conduct
conduct by one who, under the circumstances, is considered to be innocent of otherwise criminal behavior
Excusable Conduct
conduct by one who, under the color of authority, is considered to be innocent of otherwise criminal behavior
Petition for Certiorari
request by a litigant that the U.S. Supreme Court hear his/her appeal
Writ of Certiorari
notice from the U.S. Supreme Court that it will hear the case
Impeachment
the process by which Congress may charge a sitting judge, President, or Vice-President with "high crimes and misdemeanors" and convict them in a trial before Senate. A conviction will result in removal from office.
Exclusive jurisdictions
occurs when only one court has the authority to hear a case; the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over patent cases, federal crimes, federal bankruptcy cases, and most admiralty cases.
Concurrent Jurisdiction
occurs when two or more courts have the authority to hear a case; there are times when the federal courts can have concurrent jurisdiction with state courts
Dual Sovereignty
Legal doctrine that allows a person to be prosecuted by different governmental entities for the same action or set of actions; most commonly occurs in prosecution by both federal and state governments for the same action
Subjective Intent
The offender's conscious intentions at the time of the crime
Objective Intent
What a reasonable person should have known or thought at the time of the event
Constructive Intent
The concept that some actions are so likely to cause a specific result that the law treats that result as intended, whether the person menat to cause it or not.
Scienter
A necessary element to prove in some crimes where the offender knew a certain fact or understood the law being broken.
Motive
The reason a person commits a crime.
Not a crime to have, just a crime to act upon.
Voluntary Act
The actus reus element of a crime; a crime must be a _________ ___