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The Sources, function, jurisdictions, adversarial system and criminal offences of American criminal law

20141114

The Sources, function, jurisdictions, adversarial system and criminal offences of American criminal law

Difficulties arise in defining and describing all acts which are supposed to be punished. To minimize these difficulties, principles of law have been implemented. These principles agree with the fact that all acts that are considered as crime are issues that require punishment from courts of justice. The American criminal law is one of these principles. Jesse (2009), states that the aspects of criminal law date back to the Hammurabis code of about 1790 B.C. The old English law and its influence on the foundation of American laws are attributed to the principles used in the process of establishment of American criminal law by a lot of American scholars. The modern criminal laws utilize many ideologies from ancient criminal laws. Some of these ideas utilized include those in the common law such as the principle of stare decisis relates to the law of precedent (Jesse, 2009). The meaning of this idea is that conclusions or standards should be allowed to stand. The main role of this principle is to direct courts on how to handle cases of similar magnitude and at the same time make sure the rule of justice and fairness is preserved in the process of handling judicial matters. This principle has played a great role in the use of other principles of criminal law in the United States. According to Fletcher (2000), the main source of the American criminal law is the supreme law. It comprises of the state constitution and the US constitution. Decrees approved of by state governing body and the congress act as written sources of American criminal laws. The US criminal codes and the rules passed by the city councils also act as sources of American criminal law. Each state develops its own constitution and all other laws existing in that state are lower than them. Jesse (2009), notes that the common law of England act also as a source of American criminal law. The common law is also referred to as law made by judges. In the common law, if a judge makes a ruling regarding a certain case, all the other courts are supposed to follow that ruling in later cases of similar level. The other source of American criminal law is the common law of the land. Appellate decisions made by the Supreme Court also act as sources of criminal law. This mainly occurs in cases where the rules followed in decision making have not yet been included in the statutes. Organizations and commissions of the US government may develop rules that are not fully judicial and also not fully legislative in nature. These organizations develop rules, investigate crimes and enforce sanctions (Jesse, 2009). The criminal law has got a wide range of uses. The first one according to Jesse (2009) is provision of security to the people of the community. It is aimed at ensuring that all citizens live in a community free from any form of harm directed either to their bodies or to their belongings. As a result, people can live in a society where they are safe from assassination, robbery and arson. The criminal law also plays a key role in protecting the environment from pollution. They also ensure that products that can affect consumers health are not sold to them (Fletcher, 2000). According to Fletcher (2000), the American criminal law safeguards the principles of individuals and the community at large. The community is freed from the nuisance of illegal dealers of drugs and commercial sex workers. Jesse (2009), states that the system of law in the United States highly displays an adversarial system. Legal issues are approached in a certain mode as to allow everybody to proof their innocence before a jury, council, as well as the judge. This helps in reducing chances of convicting innocent people of a crime. Release, Lawyers Group, and King (1973), notes that the criminal law requires that load of proofs that are separate be produced in order for conviction to be made. Proof must be produced beyond reasonable doubt in order to declare a person guilty of a crime. This is unlike the civil system that requires just a little evidence for a conclusion to be made. According to Jesse (2009), different criminal law cases are affected by the jurisdiction. The rights of individual states are highly respected in the United States. As a result, most of the cases that occur within a certain state can be tried within that state. Some cases of higher magnitude however, though they may be tried on a state level are taken as federal. This results in jurisdiction changing to a federal level. According to Anderson and Jackson (2006), some of the crimes that lead to such changes are like bank robberies, illegal drug dealing, organized unlawful activities and serial crimes. These crimes may be tried outside the state where they were committed as they are regarded as federal. The state and the specific place where the crime occurred are the ones used in setting the jurisdiction (Jesse, 2009). The principles of liability are the next issues. Variations in the aspects of liability occur between accomplice and criminal liabilities. The Explicit criminal legal responsibility is a victim of regular disapproval (Fletcher, 2000). Constitutionally, it is acceptable as a common issue. A very good example is the case where a gang robs a motor dealing shop. If a security guard or any other personnel of that company is killed, members of the whole squad are held responsible for the murder. Accomplice legal responsibility occurs in the case where a person overhears a crime being planned and even after that crime has been committed, the person refuses to testify against the perpetrators. Under the American criminal law anybody who is directly implicated is taken as a principle of that crime. There are inchoate offences in the American criminal law. These offences include attempt, plotting, and solicitation. Conspiracy in addition to enlarging the scope of criminal legal responsibility is prior to attempt and easier to confirm. This is due to the fact that it only requires explicit act and not extensive steps. Inchoate crimes have got a very major variation, in that they are not crimes that are performed against other people directly. All in all, they are regarded as unlawful actions (Jesse, 2009). Other criminal offences are the nonfatal offences. These are offences committed against the other person. They are also referred to as assaults. Any person who uses force directly or indirectly to cause bodily harm to another person without an excuse that is legally acceptable with or without the consent of the victim is held legally responsible for hisher actions (Brown, 1993). Anybody who assaults another person and causes bodily harm is regarded as guilty of the offence. The use of force is justified in the American criminal law if it was used for the purposes of protecting oneself or other people, prevention of a crime from being committed, or protection of property from destruction. The criminal law system has been seen to entail various sectors of interest. It is to our benefit that we understand the differences that exist and how various sectors of criminal law are put into practice. read more...