Legal Studies - Exam 1

0.0(0) Reviews
Report Flashcard set

Spaced Repetition

Scientifically backed study method

spaced repetition


Review terms and definitions



Study with MC, T/F, and other questions


Practice Test

Take a test on your terms and definitions



85 Terms
😃 Not studied yet (85)
Factual Guilt
whether a defendant has committed a crime
Legal Guilt
whether guilt has been established via procedure/trial
Civil Law
form of private law, governing relationships between individuals (i.e. property, contract, business dispute); intent usually not required, resolved by trial/settlement, preponderance of evidence, results in liability to pay damages
Criminal Law
form of public law, designed to prevent/enforce certain types of behaviors and punish offenders; defined by state legislatures and Congress; intent required, resolved by trial/plea bargain, beyond a reasonable doubt, results in "guilty sentence"
Double Jeopardy
prosecuting a defendant for the same crime in the same jurisdiction multiple times
Sources of Law
Constitutions, statutes, case law
Goals of Criminal Justice System
doing justice, controlling crime, preventing crime
"Doing Justice"
accountability, protection of rights; fairness, impartiality, and equality
freedom of one to make decisions based on personal judgment rather than rules; judges, jury, officers, prosecution, parole boards
the territory within which power can be exercised
Dual court system
system consisting of separate judicial system; state and federal
actions that violate laws and invite punishment
Mala in se
wrong in themselves (i.e. rape, murder)
Male prohibita
wrong by the government, not necessarily in themselves (i.e. prostitution, gambling, drug use)
Nominal damages
trivial sum of money awarded to persons who legal right have been technically violated
Utilitarian/Consequentialist approach
looking at the numbers, data, "1 is better than 5" (trolley)
Categorical/Value approach
morality based on freedom/autonomy; Immanuel Kant
Categorical Imperative
moral obligation that is binding, not dependent on purpose
Legal System
operating set of interdependent institutions & actors, procedures, and laws/rules directed to justice; must always be considered within culture
collection of agencies; keep the peace, apprehend violators/combat crime, prevent crime, and provide social service
responsible for adjudication; determining whether or not a defendant is guilty
the department of local government that is responsible for managing the treatment of convicted offenders
Flow of Decision-Making
Police > Prosecution > Courts > Corrections
conceptual representation of IRL phenomena. Made for when it is slightly understood but hard to see directly
Crime Control Model
assumes every effort must be made to repress crime. Emphasizes efficiency, capacity to catch > try > convict > punish offenders. Speed and finality; crime control > individual rights
Due Process Model
assumes freedom is top priority, decision-making must be based on reliable information. Stresses adversarial process, defendant rights, formal decision-making procedures
Presumption of Guilt
Packer; more "prediction of guilt" - pragmatic/practical, only spend time on cases that will end in conviction
Presumption of Innocence
Packer; assumes the accused is innocent until proven guilty. Burden of proof on prosecution - safeguards proper procedure
Ultima ratio
Criminal sanctions should be the last end resort
abnormal behavior going against social norms/expectations (i.e. theft, murder, homelessness, standing too close to someone)
Cultural Foundations of Crime
deviance + crime are culturally determined (i.e. in Germany, insulting someone is a misdemeanor)
Substantive Criminal Law
defines actions the government can punish, and defines the punishments for them; Congress, state legislatures, city council (also called penal code)
Procedural Criminal Law
defines rules that govern how laws will be enforced; Supreme Court and state courts
Criminalization and Enforcement
reclassification and expansion of crimes and what are considered crimes (i.e. reclassifying e-bikes from being motorized vehicles)
legislation that makes something legal that was formerly illegal
creation of new crimes and legislatures; interpreting existing crimes via judges
Michelle Carter
young woman texts boyfriend encouraging his suicide, ends up in her incarceration for manslaughter; blurs line of "free speech"
overuse/abuse of criminal law to address societal problems and punish mistakes
Types of Crimes
classification by severity/status
a serious crime with imprisonment 1 or more years
a crime less serious than a felony; imprisonment 1 or less year, probation, or intermediate sanctions
Status Offense
juvenile crimes (i.e. underage drinking, truancy, violating curfew)
Strict Liability
do not need to establish a guilty mind (i.e. statutory rape)
quasi-criminal, violation of a rule/local ordinance (no jailtime) (i.e. littering, parking ticket)
Visible Crime
offense against person/property, committed primarily by members of lowest class ("street/ordinary crime")
Occupational Crime
crimes committed through opportunities in business or operation
Transnational Crime
profit-seeking crimes that involve planning/execution across borders
Victimless Crimes
offenses involving willing + private exchanges of illegal goods/services; victims do not feel harmed, based on society as a whole being injured (i.e. prostitution, drug use, gambling)
Political Crimes
acts done for ideological purposes; against the state or by the state (treason, sedition, espionage)
offenses that involve one or more computers
Characteristics of Criminal Law
politicality, specificity, uniformity, penal sanction
Ony rules made by state or federal govs. are crimes
no crime, no punishment w/out specific law; law has to give "fair warning"; if not, "void" - people can only guess at its meaning
evenhanded justice; no bias to persons or social status (individualization, equity, uniformity)
Penal Sanction
law without punishment is powerlessness; not necessarily jail, could be rehab
Elements of Crime
Legality + Act + Concurrence + Mens rea > Causation -> Harm -> Punishment
Legality and Punishment
do not need to be proven by state
Burden of proof
duty of proving beyond a reasonable doubt; the prosecutor
Crime Rates
crimes aren't increasing; rather decreasing
Voluntarily v. Intent
If you can control it, it's voluntary | Intent - mens rea
Actus Reus
human conduct (speech, attempt, doing/being, failure to act)
mens rea
"guilty mind", blameworthiness, state of mind that accompanies a crime
Establishing mental state
"What would a reasonable person do?" (exception: strict liability crimes)
act must concur w/ mens rea (A pulls trigger to shoot B, who dies)
"But for" actor's conduct, harm wouldn't have happened
Necessary Condition
actual evidence that a party is at fault for causing harm to another (also called factual causation)
Sufficient Condition
defendant held criminally responsible for harm caused to another (also called legal causation)
"But-For" Standard
an action causes an injury if, but for the action, harm wouldn't have occurred
Inchoate crime
crime of preparing or seeking to commit another crime (i.e. conspiracy)
factor that justifies/excuses actor's responsibility (i.e. alibi)
Justification Defenses
self-defense, necessity
Excuse Defenses
duress/coercion, entrapment, mistake of fact, intoxication/drugged
Disparity and Discrimination
minorities are subjected to system at a higher rates than white majority (explanations: POC commit more crimes, racially biased system, system expresses society's racial bias)
Uniform Crime Reports
annual statistical summary of crimes reported to police, based on voluntary reports (also called UCR)
National Incident-Based Reporting System
system where police describe each offense in crime incident w/ data describing offender, victim property (also called NIBRS)
National Crime Victimization System
Bureau of Justice System; determines number and types of criminal victimizations and extent of (un)reported crimes (also called NCVS)
U.S. Mass Shootings
The U.S. has a high rate of shootings because of the high amount of guns, comprising 4.4% of the global population yet 42% of the gun population. (article)
Doing the Right Thing
a real version of the trolley problem - kill Afghani farmers, or risk being found by the Taliban? (article)
I Nearly Died of a Drug Overdose
"Drug-induced homicide laws"; attacking drug dealers and not the ones behind the operations (cartels, drug traffickers). Creates fear within drug users, and deters people from calling for help when OD's happen. (article)
McBoyle v. United States
Reversed sentencing due to rewriting definition of a law; aircraft is not considered motor vehicle (reading)
The Brain on Trial
Biological explanations cannot be ignored when discussing reasoning behind crime - does that excuse it? Is it fair to prosecute someone for it when it could happen to anybody? (article)
Justice for Trafficking Victims
focus on recovery and preventing trafficking; procedural justice, restorative justice, and transitional justice (article)
Restorative Justice
maintains that justice outcomes may not always serve interests of survivors, offenders, and communities
Procedural Justice
maintain that process where justice is achieved is more important than case outcomes
Transitional Justice
rooted in accountability and redress