Criminal Law Questions

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rbgrocio
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Criminal Law Questions

Postby rbgrocio » Fri May 07, 2010 9:40 pm

Ok.... we had a horrible semester... No one in my class learned any criminal law, and today the professor told us that there is going to be a policy question in the final. What do you guys think are key policy issues in criminal law? I don't know what to look at or what are some things I should know in order to answer a policy question, specially since going to class was pointless.

hithere
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Re: Criminal Law Questions

Postby hithere » Fri May 07, 2010 9:49 pm

Think of the goals of criminal law--specific deterrence, general deterrence, incapacitation, etc. Is this person blameworthy--i.e., do we want to convict him? What about justifications--the lesser of two evils? Etc, etc.

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rbgrocio
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Re: Criminal Law Questions

Postby rbgrocio » Fri May 07, 2010 9:50 pm

hithere wrote:Think of the goals of criminal law--specific deterrence, general deterrence, incapacitation, etc. Is this person blameworthy--i.e., do we want to convict him? What about justifications--the lesser of two evils? Etc, etc.


aghhh... i guess im having a hard time trying to figure out the policy stuff since I taught myself crim law using the emanuels and all that stuff

hithere
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Re: Criminal Law Questions

Postby hithere » Fri May 07, 2010 9:59 pm

rbgrocio wrote:
hithere wrote:Think of the goals of criminal law--specific deterrence, general deterrence, incapacitation, etc. Is this person blameworthy--i.e., do we want to convict him? What about justifications--the lesser of two evils? Etc, etc.


aghhh... i guess im having a hard time trying to figure out the policy stuff since I taught myself crim law using the emanuels and all that stuff


Just start off with the basics--i.e., the underlying goals of criminal justice. Again, those are things like retribution, incapacitation, general and specific deterrence, and reinforcing society's values. Then, from those basics go into more detailed analysis. Example-should we have an insanity defense? Is convicting an insane person really going to deter someone if he doesn't even know what he did? What about from a retribution standpoint (i.e., how blameworthy does he have to be?)? Etc., etc.

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Learning Hand
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Re: Criminal Law Questions

Postby Learning Hand » Fri May 07, 2010 10:04 pm

Your textbook should have a chapter devoted to theories of punishment. There are essentially two: retributivist and utilitarian. Read that section. Then, see if you can find those keywords in the index in specific sections. There might be commentary w/r/t how these theories bear upon specific topics of criminal law, such as proportionality, the death penalty, actus reus, mens rea, etc. Pull out the key arguments. Think about them. There might be critical theory arguments laced throughout your book. See if you can find them. Jot down the key points. Retributivist and utilitarian principles alone, though, should be able to give you the arsenal to apply them to particular offenses. Think about applying them to different offenses, considering what social policies drive current law or proposed changes.

Oh, and read Dressler.

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rbgrocio
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Re: Criminal Law Questions

Postby rbgrocio » Sat May 08, 2010 7:02 am

Learning Hand wrote:Your textbook should have a chapter devoted to theories of punishment. There are essentially two: retributivist and utilitarian. Read that section. Then, see if you can find those keywords in the index in specific sections. There might be commentary w/r/t how these theories bear upon specific topics of criminal law, such as proportionality, the death penalty, actus reus, mens rea, etc. Pull out the key arguments. Think about them. There might be critical theory arguments laced throughout your book. See if you can find them. Jot down the key points. Retributivist and utilitarian principles alone, though, should be able to give you the arsenal to apply them to particular offenses. Think about applying them to different offenses, considering what social policies drive current law or proposed changes.

Oh, and read Dressler.



I know the theories of punishment, which the professor said was a voluntary reading that will not be covered in the final. lol. Hence, why I am sooooo lost... His class made no sense whatsoever. I'm not worried about a regular essay question because I know the substance, but I feel like I'm going to have to BS my way out of the policy question.

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thuggishruggishbone
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Re: Criminal Law Questions

Postby thuggishruggishbone » Sat May 08, 2010 11:32 am

--LinkRemoved--

The crim law outline on lexis is great--it starts off with policy.

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rbgrocio
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Re: Criminal Law Questions

Postby rbgrocio » Sat May 08, 2010 12:42 pm

thuggishruggishbone wrote:http://www.lexisnexis.com/lawschool/study/outlines/default.asp

The crim law outline on lexis is great--it starts off with policy.



Yeah.... I have that. I just know that he is going to ask something completely random that he never talked about in class before... but oh well!!! I guess everyone is going to be in the same boat.

Renzo
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Re: Criminal Law Questions

Postby Renzo » Sat May 08, 2010 12:52 pm

rbgrocio wrote:Ok.... we had a horrible semester... No one in my class learned any criminal law, and today the professor told us that there is going to be a policy question in the final. What do you guys think are key policy issues in criminal law? I don't know what to look at or what are some things I should know in order to answer a policy question, specially since going to class was pointless.

I hate to be that guy, but "policy" is probably what your prof was talking about all semester while he was not teaching black letter law.

Seriously, though, read the Dressler book.

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rbgrocio
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Re: Criminal Law Questions

Postby rbgrocio » Sat May 08, 2010 1:05 pm

Renzo wrote:
rbgrocio wrote:Ok.... we had a horrible semester... No one in my class learned any criminal law, and today the professor told us that there is going to be a policy question in the final. What do you guys think are key policy issues in criminal law? I don't know what to look at or what are some things I should know in order to answer a policy question, specially since going to class was pointless.

I hate to be that guy, but "policy" is probably what your prof was talking about all semester while he was not teaching black letter law.

Seriously, though, read the Dressler book.



What is that book and where do I get it from a day and half before the final?

Renzo
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Re: Criminal Law Questions

Postby Renzo » Sat May 08, 2010 1:14 pm

rbgrocio wrote:
Renzo wrote:
rbgrocio wrote:Ok.... we had a horrible semester... No one in my class learned any criminal law, and today the professor told us that there is going to be a policy question in the final. What do you guys think are key policy issues in criminal law? I don't know what to look at or what are some things I should know in order to answer a policy question, specially since going to class was pointless.

I hate to be that guy, but "policy" is probably what your prof was talking about all semester while he was not teaching black letter law.

Seriously, though, read the Dressler book.



What is that book and where do I get it from a day and half before the final?

Dressler's Understanding Criminal Law. Used Lexis points for mine, but you don't have that kind of time. I'd offer to send you mine overnight, but since it's too late today and tomorrow's Sunday, you might be boned. Your best hope is a school bookstore that sells study guides.

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Matthies
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Re: Criminal Law Questions

Postby Matthies » Sat May 08, 2010 1:16 pm

Renzo wrote:
rbgrocio wrote:
Renzo wrote:
rbgrocio wrote:Ok.... we had a horrible semester... No one in my class learned any criminal law, and today the professor told us that there is going to be a policy question in the final. What do you guys think are key policy issues in criminal law? I don't know what to look at or what are some things I should know in order to answer a policy question, specially since going to class was pointless.

I hate to be that guy, but "policy" is probably what your prof was talking about all semester while he was not teaching black letter law.

Seriously, though, read the Dressler book.



What is that book and where do I get it from a day and half before the final?

Dressler's Understanding Criminal Law. Used Lexis points for mine, but you don't have that kind of time. I'd offer to send you mine overnight, but since it's too late today and tomorrow's Sunday, you might be boned. Your best hope is a school bookstore that sells study guides.


Didn't lexis have an outline of this book on thier site, at least they used to, try that if your out of time.
Our crim law policy question was Death penalty: Yea or Nay and why

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thuggishruggishbone
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Re: Criminal Law Questions

Postby thuggishruggishbone » Sat May 08, 2010 1:24 pm

You seem to have all the policy information that you need--i.e., you've got the general rationales for crim law (utilitarian, retribution, etc.). Focus on applying those concepts, and you should be good. If you don't have time for a study aid (the Black Letter Law Outlines are good for crim law policy), I recommend going on Westlaw's website and using AmJur or something similar as a possible study aid. But again, it seems like you have all the information and now it just comes down to you applying it to a random fact pattern.

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rbgrocio
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Re: Criminal Law Questions

Postby rbgrocio » Sat May 08, 2010 1:25 pm

I'm expecting a policy question on attempt, but that's a guess as good as any other one.

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thuggishruggishbone
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Re: Criminal Law Questions

Postby thuggishruggishbone » Sat May 08, 2010 1:34 pm

rbgrocio wrote:I'm expecting a policy question on attempt, but that's a guess as good as any other one.


With attempt, profs usually differentiate between the close proximity and substantial step tests. How much discretion do we want to give police officers? This would be public policy related to attempt crimes (i.e., conflicted opinions over what act is enough to constitute an attempt-->leads to police discretion issues-->lpossibly eads to discussion of how one goal of crim law is to reinforce society's values and that is hard to do if we can't quantify what it is we want to punish (people won't know what acts constitute criminal behavior if we don't define it explicitly-can be difficult with attempt crimes). That's just one example of how to get into a policy discussion-i'm sure there are many other ways depending on the fact pattern.

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rbgrocio
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Re: Criminal Law Questions

Postby rbgrocio » Sat May 08, 2010 1:41 pm

thuggishruggishbone wrote:
rbgrocio wrote:I'm expecting a policy question on attempt, but that's a guess as good as any other one.


With attempt, profs usually differentiate between the close proximity and substantial step tests. How much discretion do we want to give police officers? This would be public policy related to attempt crimes (i.e., conflicted opinions over what act is enough to constitute an attempt-->leads to police discretion issues-->lpossibly eads to discussion of how one goal of crim law is to reinforce society's values and that is hard to do if we can't quantify what it is we want to punish (people won't know what acts constitute criminal behavior if we don't define it explicitly-can be difficult with attempt crimes). That's just one example of how to get into a policy discussion-i'm sure there are many other ways depending on the fact pattern.



yeah... thanks for the help though.... We will see what happens. i havent felt good about finals this semester. I think I'm totally losing my spot.




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