Final: writing a statute

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echooo23
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Final: writing a statute

Postby echooo23 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:25 am

One of my finals will be writing a statute on a specific topic. I have no idea how to go about doing this. Any tips?

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gdane
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Re: Final: writing a statute

Postby gdane » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:41 pm

Make it narrow. Depending on the subject (crim for example) there may be constitutional issues that you could run into. Be specific. The statute covers men, but men what ages to what ages? The statute covers driving a vehicle, but what constitutes a vehicle?

It's kinda hard to give specific advice, but you get the idea. Good luck.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Final: writing a statute

Postby rinkrat19 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:43 pm

Try to think of acts that would technically not violate the law but would violate the intent of what you were trying to do with the law. Then fix the law to also cover that act. (Close loopholes.)

If it's crim, make mens rea clear.

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cinephile
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Re: Final: writing a statute

Postby cinephile » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:59 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:If it's crim, make mens rea clear.


and to what clauses that mens rea applies to.

echooo23
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Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:29 pm

Re: Final: writing a statute

Postby echooo23 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:38 pm

Yes, it is for crim. Thanks for the tips, all. Any additional nuggets of advice are appreciated. Thanks!

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vanwinkle
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Re: Final: writing a statute

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:01 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:Try to think of acts that would technically not violate the law but would violate the intent of what you were trying to do with the law. Then fix the law to also cover that act. (Close loopholes.)

If it's crim, make mens rea clear.

This. Think about the topic, and how it might relate to anything you've studied in class. Identify an ambiguity or hole (one your professor spent half a class on is best, though anything that came up in the readings or discussion at all is sufficient) and try to write something that plugs it.

I'm assuming you'll also have to defend your new statute; that's where the above comes in. You can just start writing "I did this because [cases and legal theory from your class notes]." I also agree with the above poster about constitutional issues, but don't get too deep into it. You can briefly mention a line or two about due process, even if just to explain why your statute doesn't violate it, if you talked about it in class and if you have time and it actually sounds relevant. But don't make the mistake of trying to talk about constitutional law just because you think you can fit it in. Your prof only wants to hear answers to the question he asked.

(Hint: Unless your professor is obviously fishing for a constitutional law debate, never waste more than a short paragraph on it. Crim law is typically about mens rea and actus reus; constitutional issues raised usually just ask whether those are present and clearly defined at the time of the crime. If your professor gets a hard-on for insanity or the death penalty, then maybe you discussed cruel and unusual punishment, but your constitutional discussion will probably still be just "This does/doesn't violate the Eighth Amendment because of [X], as explained in [case you discussed in class]". Actual in-depth constitutional discussions are found crim pro and con law, so save your Scalia dissent cites till then.)




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