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Crminal law paper

The people v. Victor Alexander Marquez
Institution Affiliation
In summary, the defendant and appellant in this case(People v. Marquez, 11 Cal. App. 5th 816,
217 Cal. Rptr. 3d 814, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 440), Victor, four months before his 18th birthday,
murdered Maria Juarez by stabbing and slashing her in the course of an attempted robbery.
Upon trial, the defendant was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole owing to the
grave heinous circumstances of the murder. While the defendants appeal was still pending, the
United States Supreme Court rendered its decision in the case of Miller v. Alabama(Miller v.
Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012)). The Miller decision was to the effect that mandatory life without
the possibility of parole sentences for juvenile homicide offenders, are a violation of the Eighth
Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and
excessive punishment(Mallett, 2013).
Upon first appeal, the court reversed the judgment and referred the case back for sentencing upon
the consideration of the principles in the Miller decisions. Upon the resentencing hearing and a
consideration of the Miller decision, the trial judge imposed the life sentence without the option
of parole. In the second appeal, the defendant impugns the sentence on the ground that the court
misapplied and misapprehended the principles et out n the Miller decision and that the sentence
is cruel and excessive, contrary to the Eighth Amendment. The Appellant also invokes the
Proposition 57, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 (Proposition 57 or the act), that
was approved by the voters on November 8, 2016.The appellant argues that the proposition
applies retroactively to his case. The Appellant argues that the proposition outlawed the practice
of the prosecutors directly filing cases involving juveniles in adult criminal courts before
conducting a suitability hearing first.
The court of Appeal in its decision held that the proposition did not apply retroactively. Upon a
review of the sentence, the court was of an opinion that the sentence was proper and legal. The
judgment was therefore upheld.
What interested me about this case is the number of times the case was heard. The case was
heard 3 times and the same sentence was handed. Another interesting thing is that the defendant
was crafty to claim that the proposition that became law after his case could apply retroactively. I
got to scrutinize the ballot propositions as a means of enacting law.
The sources of jurisdiction relevant to the case are, firstly, the decisions of The United States
Supreme Court are binding upon all courts, based on the doctrine of precedent. Secondly,
Appellate courts have jurisdiction over criminal Appeals. Thirdly, The Appeals courts have
jurisdiction to review sentences in criminal cases so as to satisfy themselves of the correctness,
legality and propriety of all orders and sentences made. The source of this jurisdiction is the
California Rules of court.
Mens rea refers to the state of mind where one intends to do the actual wrong. It also includes the
element of recklessness and negligence where one disregards the possible consequences of his
acts. Actus reus refers to the criminal act, omission or possession. Concurrence on the other hand
refers to the legal requirement for imposing criminal liability. Pursuant to concurrence, it must be
proved that the Actus reus and the mens rea relevant to the charge occurred at the same
time(Kneer & Bourgeois-Gironde, 2017).
N this case the Mens Rea was the intention to kill the deceased in order to commit a robbery with
violence. The Actus reus was the causing the death of the deceased through stabbing and
slashing. The murder was proved since the intention to kill and the slashing and stabbing
occurred at the same time to cause the death of the deceased.
An adversarial system is a justice system where the parties to a case make their case and present
arguments. They also collect and tender evidence, they call and cross examine witnesses. The
role of the attorneys is to present the parties respective cases. The case is usually presided over
by an independent and impartial judge who decides the case.
In this case, the defendant argued based on the Miller principles and the ballot proposition so as
to impugn his sentence. On the other hand, the prosecution argued that the ballot proposition did
not apply retroactively and was therefore irrelevant to the case. The prosecution also argued that
the sentence was not unlawful or excessive.
Inchoate crimes are incomplete crimes. These are situations where one takes certain steps
towards the commission of a crime indirectly or in an incomplete manner. The cats in themselves
are not crimes, but are criminalized so as to deter people from taking such steps. Inchoate crimes
can be attempted crimes, conspiracies or aiding the commission of crimes(Farrell, 2016).
In this case, there as an inchoate offence, of an attempted robbery. It is inchoate because the
robbery was not successfull. Therefore the attempted robbery was an inchoate offence.
Farrell, G. (2016). Attempted Crime and the Crime Drop. International Criminal Justice Review.
Kneer, M., & Bourgeois-Gironde, S. (2017). Mens rea ascription, expertise and outcome effects:
Professional judges surveyed. Cognition. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2017.08.008
Mallett, C. A. (2013). Juvenile life without the possibility of parole: Constitutional but
complicated. Children and Youth Services Review.
Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012).
People v. Marquez, 11 Cal. App. 5th 816, 217 Cal. Rptr. 3d 814, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 440.
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