Criminal Law And Procedure An Overview 4th Edition by Ronald J. Bacigal – Study Guide
CHAPTER 1: DEFINING AND PROVING CRIMES
Criminal law seeks to punish those members of society who violate our criminal laws, which have been designed to benefit all of society. Within our system, the government is the only entity that can use physical force (death penalty and imprisonment) to coerce people into behaving as society wants them to behave.
This chapter discusses the different forms of punishment, the sources of our laws, and how crimes are proven at trial. After reviewing this chapter, some of the differences between criminal law and civil law will become apparent.
Once you have finished this chapter, you should be able to:
- Explain the differences between criminal law and civil law.
- Outline some of society’s goals in handling and administering certain types of punishments for crimes.
- Identify the ways crimes are created by the government.
- Discuss common law and its continuing impact on the American legal system.
- Identify the prosecution’s burden of proof.
- Discuss the role of a judge in a jury trial.
- The Purposes of Criminal Law
- The purpose of criminal law differs from that of civil law. In criminal law, the purpose is to punish the wrongdoer; in civil law, the most common purpose is to compensate the victim.
- Theories of punishment
- Incapacitation/restraint—restraining criminals in prison or executing criminals so they cannot commit crimes in the future
- Specific deterrence—punishing a criminal to deter that person from committing future crimes
- General deterrence—punishing a criminal to deter others from committing crimes
- Rehabilitation—forcing a criminal to undergo some form of social education or reconditioning to prevent future crime
- Retribution—vindicating a wrong; the public relies on the legal system to vindicate wrongs, which lessens the desire for private revenge
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