Unit 3
Chapter 7: The Nature of Crimes
A crime is something one does or fails to do
that is in violation of a law
Decisions as to what constitutes a crime are
made by legislatures
Chapter 7: Crime in America
 Consider the following acts. Decide whether it should be treated as a
Robert sells crack cocaine and uses the proceeds to support his mother,
who is on welfare
Marley is a passenger in a car she knows is stolen, although she did not
steal the car
A corporate executive givens millions of dollars to a candidate for the
U.S. Senate
A wife finds out her husband is having an affair and runs him over with
her car
Paulina is caught with a pound of marijuana
Ted robs a liquor store at gunpoint
Ellen leaves a store with change for a $10 bill, knowing that she gave
the clerk a $5 bill
Lily approaches a man for purposes of prostitution
The President of the United States lies under oath
10. Ming refuses to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle
11. A company pollutes a river with waste from its factory
12. Dakota observes his best friend shoplifting but does not turn him in
Chapter 7: Nature of Crimes
 According to surveys of victims, 50% reported
crimes against themselves
Less than 40% reported property crimes
 Crimes rates are influenced by location, age,
People between the ages of 15-24 commit more
violent crimes than any other group
Males commit 4 times as many crimes as females
Violent crimes are more likely to occur during the
The gov’t spends $150 billion per year in law
Chapter 7: Nature of Crimes
Reasons for the crime rate include
Permissive courts
Lack of education
Alcohol and drugs
Inadequate police protection
Rising population
Lack of parental guidance
Breakdown in morals
Chapter 7: Nature of Crimes
 Would tougher penalties curb crime?
 U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any
industrialized nation
 Certainty of punishment is more important than the
length of sentence
 Community policing
 Crime on Campus
 Includes violent assaults, hate crimes, and property
Chapter 7: Guns and the Law
 Frequently used in violent crimes
 Gun Control Act of 1968
Prohibits convicted felons, minors, and illegal
aliens from buying or possessing weapons
Requires serial numbers on all guns
Prohibits mail order sale of firearms and
ammunition and the interstate sale of handguns
 By 2002, 30 states had passed laws making it
easy to carry a concealed weapon
 Which is a better way to reduce crime—more
gun control or less gun control?
 What restrictions, if any, should the gov’t place
on manufacture or firearms? The sale of
firearms? Possession of firearms?
Chapter 7: Substance Abuse and Crime
Alcohol is the most widely abused substance
in the U.S.
Alcohol was a factor in 35% of violent crimes
in the U.S. in 2001
2/3 of victims who suffered violence by a
spouse, former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend
report alcohol as a factor
Drunk Driving (DUI/DWI)
BAC of .08 or above
Penalties include a monetary fine, enrollment
in DUI school, community service, license
suspended, license revoked, jail sentence
Chapter 7: Substance Abuse and Crime
A driver who has been stopped may refuse
an alcohol test
In GA, you will lose your license for 1 year
Between 50-75% of persons taken into the
criminal justice system test positive for one
or more drugs at the time of arrest
Controlled Substances Act
Classifies drugs into 5 categories
Penalties and sanctions differ for each group
Chapter 7: Substance Abuse and Crime
Some states treat simple possession of even
small amounts of certain drugs as felonies
Some states have drug forfeiture laws
Repeat offender laws
 3 strikes and you’re out!
Some favor the legalization of drugs such as
marijuana since alcohol and tobacco are
Chapter 7: Substance Abuse and Crime
Are there any controlled substances that
should be legalized? If so, which ones?
What are the most convincing arguments in
favor of legalizing some controlled
What are the most convincing arguments
against legalizing some controlled
How would society change if some controlled
substances were legalized?
Chapter 8: Criminal Law
 Every crime is defined by certain elements which must
be proven beyond a reasonable doubt at trial to convict
the offender
 Anton is a bully. One night while eating at a local diner,
he notices Derek selecting a tune on the jukebox. Anton
does not like the song Derek selected so Anton orders
Derek to change the song. When Derek refuses, Anton
punches Derek in the face, breaking Derek’s jaw. Derek
misses several weeks of work.
 Has Anton violated civil laws, criminal laws, or both?
 Who decides whether Anton should be charged criminally?
Sued in a civil action?
 If Anton is charged with a crime and sued in a civil action,
would the civil and criminal cases be tried together?
 Would procedures in a criminal trial be the same as those in
a civil trial?
 Is going to court the only way to handle this problem?
Chapter 8: Criminal Law
If someone breaks into your home when
you’re not there and takes your stuff, can
they be convicted of robbery?
Criminal laws exist at both state and federal
Some acts can only be prosecuted in a state
Drunk driving, assault, etc.
Some acts can only be prosecuted in federal
Mail fraud, failure to pay taxes, etc.
Some acts can be prosecuted in either
Chapter 8: Criminal Law
A felony is a crime for which the potential
penalty is imprisonment for more than 1
A misdemeanor is a crime for which the
potential penalty is imprisonment for 1 year
or less
Chapter 8: Parties to Crime
The person who commits the crime is called
the principal
An accomplice is someone who helps the
principal commit a crime
Person who drives the getaway car
A person who orders a crime but who is not
present during the crime is known as an
accessory before the fact
An accessory after the fact is a person who,
knowing a crime has been committed, helps
the principal or accomplice avoid capture or
helps them escape
Chapter 8: Parties to Crime
 Jeb and Marci decide to burglarize Superior
Jewelers. Their friend, Carl, an employee at
Superior, helps them by telling them the
location of the store vault. Marci drives a van to
the store and keeps a lookout while Jeb goes
inside and cracks the safe. After Jeb and Marci
make their getaway, Jeb meets a friend, Shawn,
who was not involved in the burglary. Jeb tells
Shawn about the burglary and Shawn helps Jeb
get a train out of town. David, a former
classmate of Jeb and Marci, witnesses the crime
but does not tell the police even though he
recognizes both Jeb and Marci. How will each
person be charged?
Chapter 8: Crimes of Omission
Failing to act may be a crime if a person had
a legal duty to act
Not filing taxes
Failing to stop after being in an automobile
Chapter 8: Preliminary Crimes
To ask, command, urge, or advise another person
to commit a crime
It does not require that the person solicited
actually commit the crime
 Attempt
When someone performs all of the elements of a
crime but fails to achieve the criminal result
If you shoot to kill someone, but miss
Chapter 8: Preliminary Crimes
 Decide whether any of the individuals involved would be
guilty of the crime of attempt
 Martin, a bank teller, figures out a foolproof method of stealing
money from the bank. It takes him some time to get up the
nerve to steal any money. Finally, he makes up his mind and
tells his girlfriend, Yuka, that tomorrow he will steal the
money. Yuka goes to the police, and Martin is arrested an hour
 Gilbert, an accomplished thief, is caught trying to pick Lewis’s
pocket. He pleads not guilty and says he cannot be convicted
because Lewis didn’t have any money.
 Rita and Anwar decide to rob a liquor store. They meet at a
pub and talk over their plans. Rita leaves to buy a gun, and
Anwar leaves to steal a car to use as their getaway. Rita is
arrested as she walks out of the gun shop. Anwar is arrested
while trying to hot wire a car.
 Amy decides to burn down her store to collect the insurance
money. She spreads gasoline around the building. She is
arrested while leaving the store to get a book of matches.
Chapter 8: Preliminary Crimes
A conspiracy is an agreement between 2 or
more persons to commit a crime
It allows police to arrest conspirators before
they come dangerously close to completing
the crime
Chapter 10: Crimes Against Property
 Crimes against property includes two groups
 Crimes in which property is destroyed
 Crimes in which property is stolen
 In recent years the number of property crimes has
 Arson
 The willful and malicious burning of a person’s
property, even if it’s your own
 Vandalism
 Willful destruction of, or damage to, the property of
 Can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending
on the extent of the damage
Chapter 10: Crimes Against Property
Who commits vandalism?
 In 2010, 12% were female; 80% were white
 Do these figures surprise you? Have you had your
property damaged or stolen?
 If the police do not take lesser crimes like vandalism
seriously, will crime escalate?
 Why do young people sometimes commit acts of
 What, if anything, can be done to reduce
 Should parents be criminally responsible for willful
damage caused by their children?
Chapter 10: Crimes Against Property
 The unlawful taking and carrying away of the property
of another person with intent to permanently deprive
the owner of it.
 Grand larceny involves the theft of anything above
$100 and is a felony.
 Petty larceny involved the theft of anything below
$100 and is a misdemeanor.
 Shoplifting is a form of larceny
 Keeping lost property when a reasonable method
exists for finding the owner is also larceny
Chapter 10: Crimes Against Property
Why do you think people shoplift?
What could be done to address these
If you saw a stranger shoplifting, what
would you do? Would it be different if you
knew the person?
A famous movie star is caught shoplifting
thousands of dollars worth of merchandise
from a clothing store. It is her first offense.
What penalty should she receive?
Chapter 10: Crimes Against Property
 Embezzlement
 The unlawful taking of property by someone to whom
it was entrusted.
 For example, the bank teller who takes money from
the cash drawer or the stockbroker who takes money
from a client that should have been invested
 Robbery
 The unlawful taking of property from a person’s
immediate possession by force or intimidation
 Involves two harms—theft of property and actual or
potential physical harm to the victim
 In most states, the difference between larceny and
robbery is the use of force
 Almost always a felony
Chapter 10: Crimes Against Property
 Extortion
 Also known as blackmail
 The use of threats to obtain the property of another
 Rita is a quiet, hardworking student who always does her
homework. Madelyn is much more interested in her
social life than school, but her parents put a lot of
pressure on her to do well. After spending all evening
texting and on FB, Madelyn forgets to do her math
homework. The next morning on the bus, Madelyn asks
to copy Rita’s homework. When Rita refuses, Madelyn
threatens to tell everyone a secret she knows about Rita.
 Is this extortion?
 What should Rita do?
 Can you think of any situations you’ve been involved in that
could be considered extortion?
 Is this a problem at school?
 Do you think it may be underreported?
Chapter 10: Crimes Against Property
 Burglary
The unauthorized entry into any structure with
the intent to commit a crime, regardless of time
of day
 Forgery
A person falsely makes or alters a writing or
document with intent to defraud
Also includes uttering which is offering to
someone a genuine document known to be a fake
Chapter 10: Crimes Against Property
 Receiving Stolen Property
 Buying or receiving property that you know or have reason
to know is stolen
 Buying goods from a trunk or for an unreasonably low price
 Ivan met his friend Anthony, who was driving a flash new
convertible. Ivan knew that neither Anthony nor his
family owned this car, but it looked good, so he got in
and let Anthony take him for a ride. Ivan also knew
Anthony used drugs and sometimes took other people’s
things and sold them to get money to buy cocaine.
Anthony offered to sell Ivan an iPod for $20. Ivan
 Have any crimes been committed?
 Why does society make receiving stolen property a crime?
 Would you ever buy something for an extremely low price
from a friend?
Chapter 10: Crimes Against Property
Unauthorized use of a vehicle
Taking a motor vehicle without the owner’s
If it’s temporarily, it’s joyriding
If it’s permanent, it’s larceny or auto theft
Carjacking occurs if a person uses force or
intimidation to steal a car from the driver
 Computer Crime
Any violation of criminal law that involves the use
of computer technology to commit the prohibited
Chapter 10: Crimes Against Property
 Creating fake ID’s
 Spreading viruses
 Stealing passwords
 Hacking
 Transmission of obscene images, movies, sounds
 Illegal downloading or copying and sharing of
 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986
It’s a crime to modify, destroy, or disclose information
gained from unauthorized entry into a computer
 National Information Infrastructure Act of 1996 makes
it illegal to threaten to cause damage to a computer
system unless the owner gives something of value
Chapter 11: Defenses
No Crime has been committed
The defendant may present evidence to show
that no crime was committed
Defendant was a carrying a gun, but had a
license; the sex was consensual
The defendant may present evidence that no
criminal intent was involved
Defendant mistakenly picked up the wrong cell
Chapter 11: Defenses
 Ms. Urbanski kept a pistol in her home as protection
against intruders. One evening, she heard a noise in the
den and went to investigate. She saw a man stealing her
TV. The burglar, seeing the gun, ran for the window, but
Ms. Urbanski fired and killed him before he could escape.
In a trial for manslaughter, Ms. Urbanski pleaded self
defense. Would you find her guilty?
 Mr. Peters has a legal handgun to protect his home
against intruders and against the increasing crime in his
neighborhood. One night, Takeshi, walks up to Mr.
Peters’s driveway looking for a party. Takeshi thinks Mr.
Peters is hosting the party and begins yelling and waving
his arms. Mr. Peters gets scared, retrieves his handgun,
and points it at Takeshi while yelling “Freeze”! Takeshi
does not understand English and keeps walking toward
Mr. Peters. Thinking he is an intruder, Mr. Peters shoots
and kills Takeshi at the front steps of his house. Mr.
Peters is charged with 1st degree murder. Does he have a
Chapter 11: Defenses
 Defendant did not commit the crime
 Defendant may present evidence of mistaken identity
or provide an alibi, or DNA evidence
 Defendant committed a criminal act, but the act
was excusable or justifiable
 Self defense, defense of property, defense of others
 A person in danger may use REASONABLE force in
self defense
If after stopping an attacker, the defender continues to
use force, then the roles become reversed
 Make My Day laws
May use deadly force to defend property against an
unwarranted intrusion
Chapter 11: Defenses
Defendant committed a criminal act but is
not criminally responsible for his/her actions
Children under a specified age shall not be tried for
their crimes but shall be turned over to the juvenile
Some states allow prosecutors to decide whether
to try a child as an adult
The Supreme Court has ruled that the death
penalty is unconstitutional for minors
Voluntary intoxication is not a defense to a crime
Chapter 11: Defenses
People who have a mental disease should not
be convicted if they do not know what they are
doing or if they do not know the difference
between right and wrong
During criminal proceedings, the defendant’s
mental state can be an issue in determining
The defendant can stand trial
The defendant was sane at the time of the
criminal act
The defendant is sane after the trial
Defense must prove evidence of a mental
disease or disorder
Chapter 11: Defenses
When the defendant admits committing a criminal
act but claims he/she was induced to commit the
crime by a law enforcement officer
Defendant must show that he/she would have not
committed the crime but for the inducement of the
Very difficult to prove
Chapter 11: Defenses
 Can entrapment be claimed as a defense in any
of the following cases?
Mary, an undercover police officer masquerading
as a prostitute, approached Edward and tells him
that she’ll have sex with him in exchange for
$50. Edward hands over the money and is
Jan, a drug dealer, offers to sell drugs to Emilio,
an undercover officer disguised as an addict.
Emilio buys the drugs, and Jan is arrested
Rashid, an undercover FBI agent, repeatedly
offers Sammy a chance to get in on an illegal
gambling ring, with the promise that he will win
big. After refusing several offers, Sammy, who
just lost his job and has no history of gambling,
finally gives Rashid $200 as a bet. Rashid arrests
Chapter 11: Defenses
When a person does something as a result of
coercion or a threat of immediate danger to life or
personal safety
Someone points a gun to your head
Under duress, an individual lacks free will
Duress is not a defense to homicide
When an individual is compelled to react to a
situation that is unavoidable to protect life
You’re adrift in a boat and need to throw over the
cargo to prevent sinking
Also not a defense to homicide
 Remember the shipwrecked sailors???
Chapter 12: The Investigation
 Arrest
An arrest takes place when a person suspected of
a crime is taken into custody
An arrest warrant is a court order commanding
that the person named in it be taken into custody
On many occasions, police do not have time to
get a warrant
Police may arrest based on probable cause
Problem 12.1, p. 136
A police officer needs reasonable suspicion to
stop and question someone on the street
If the officer has reasonable suspicion that a
person is armed and dangerous, he may do a
limited pat down—stop and frisk (Terry stop)
Chapter 12: The Investigation
Even if an officer does not have reasonable
suspicion or probable cause, he may go up to any
individual and ask to speak to him or her
You may decline
If you run, that flight may give the officer
reasonable suspicion
A police officer may use as much physical force
as is reasonably necessary to make an arrest
The Case of Fingers Mcgee, p. 145
Chapter 12: The Investigation
 Suspicionless Searches
 Fixed point searches at or near borders to
detect illegal aliens
 Mandatory drug and alcohol testing for railroad
employees involved in accidents
 Racial Profiling in Police Investigations
 Occurs when, for example, an officer stops a car
solely because it is being operated by an African
 Or an airport security guard stops an Arab for
an extra security search
 Violates the equal protection clause of the 14th
Chapter 12: The Investigation
 Determine if race was appropriately or
inappropriately used as a factor in each of the
following decisions
 After a terrorist attack, the gov’t decided to use more
phone wiretaps to gather information in communities that
have mosques
 In a neighborhood where several African Americans have
been arrested for recent burglaries, a police officer
searches an African American youth who is walking down
the street
 A man reports overhearing two Spanish speaking men in a
coffee shop planning to rob a specific jewelry store the
next day. The witness could not see the men’s faces and
does not know their names. The next day the police go to
the store and question two Latino looking men who are
sitting in a car outside
 A woman entering the United States holds a passport
from a country with witch the United States was recently
at war. A customs agent detains her for questioning
Chapter 12: The Investigation
 Interrogations and Confessions
 It is standard practice to interrogate the
accused after an arrest
 5th Amendment provides protection against self
 The gov’t bears the burden of proof
 Confessions are not admissible if they are not
voluntary or trustworthy
 The Case of the Parolee and the Detective, p.
Chapter 13: Proceedings Before Trial
 Booking and Initial Appearance
 At this time, the accused is asked to provide his
name, address, date of birth, place of employment,
and previous arrests
 Fingerprinted and photographed
 In certain circumstances, the police may take
fingernail clippings, handwriting specimens, or blood
samples and urine tests.
 Shortly thereafter, the accused must appear before a
judge or magistrate.
 Defendant’s rights are explained and the charges
against him are read.
 The defendant has an attorney appointed or given the
opportunity to obtain one
 Bail is set
 Defendants charged with a misdemeanor go directly
to trial
Chapter 13: Proceedings Before Trial
 Bail and Pretrial Release
 A constitutional right to bail is recognized in all but
the most serious cases such as murder
 Bail may be paid directly to the court
 Some courts may require the entire amount or a
 If a person released on bail fails to return to court,
the court will keep the money.
 If the defendant does not have the money, a bond
company may put up a bail bond in exchange for a
If a bond is posted, the bond company will be required
to pay the full amount of the bond if the defendant does
not return for trial
 Many poor people are detained in jail because they
cannot afford bail or bond.
Chapter 13: Proceedings Before Trial
Bail and Pretrial Release
Personal recognizance
The defendant must promise to return and
must be considered a low risk of failing to
show up for trial
Courts may also release defendants in the
custody of a 3rd party or with an ankle
Statistics indicate that a large number of
defendants commit crimes while out on bail
Chapter 13: Proceedings Before Trial
What is the purpose of the constitutional
right not to be subjected to excessive bail?
Should it apply to all people who are
Can you think of any circumstances in which
a person should be released without any bail
Can you think of any circumstances under
which a person should not be released on
Do you think the bail system needs reform?
You Be the Judge Bail Hearing, p. 159
Chapter 13: Proceedings Before Trial
 Preliminary Hearing
Used in felony cases to determine if there is
enough evidence to go to trial
Defendant has the right to be represented and to
cross examine witnesses
If enough evidence supports the prosecutor’s
case, the defendant will proceed to trial
 Grand Jury
A group of 16-23 people charged with
determining whether there is sufficient cause to
believe that a person has committed a crime and
should be made to stand trial
5th Amendment requires that before anyone can
be tried for a federal crime in federal court, there
must be a grand jury indictment.
Chapter 13: Proceedings Before Trial
Grand Jury
Evidence is presented by the prosecutor
Neither the defendant nor his attorney have
the right to appear
A judge is not present
Felony Arraignment and Pleas
After a preliminary hearing, the defendant is
required to appear in court and enter a plea.
Not guilty—trial date set (jury or bench trial)
Nolo contendere (No Contest)
Chapter 13: Proceedings Before Trial
 Pretrial Motions
 Motion
 Motion
 Motion
 Motion
for Discovery of Evidence
for a Continuance
for a change of venue
to suppress evidence
Exclusionary rule
Many claim it’s a legal loophole that allows criminals to
go free
Judicial Integrity—the courts should not be parties to
law breaking by the police
Deterrence—police will be less likely to violate people’s
rights if they know illegally seized evidence will be
thrown out
Mapp v. Ohio
Good faith exception
Chapter 13: Proceedings Before Trial
What is the exclusionary rule? How does it
Why do you think the Supreme Court
adopted the exclusionary rule? Do you think
it’s a good idea?
What is the good faith exception to the
exclusionary rule?
Chapter 13: Proceedings Before Trial
Plea Bargaining
Most criminal cases never go to trial (about
Guilty pleas that result from a process of
negotiation among the accused, the defense atty,
and the prosecutor
Typically, the prosecutor will allow the accused to
plead guilty to a less serious charge in exchange
for a guilty plea
When accepting a guilty plea, the judge must
make sure the plea was made freely, voluntarily,
and with knowledge of all facts
 The Power of Plea Bargaining, p. 165
Chapter 14: The Trial
 Right to a Trial by Jury
 Guaranteed by the 6th Amendment
 Defendant may waive his right to a jury trial
 Most states use 12 person juries, though 6 is
 Why is the right to a jury trial guaranteed by the
Bill of Rights? Why might someone choose not to
have a jury trial?
 Should jury verdicts be unanimous?
 Do you think juries should deliberate and come to a
conclusion in private or should it be made public?
 Jury Nullification, p. 168
Chapter 14: The Trial
Right to a Speedy and Public Trial
6th Amendment
Does not define speedy
Defendants often waive their right to a speedy
 Why is the right to a speedy trial important?
 How soon after arrest should a person be
brought to trial?
 Do you think televising criminal trials is a good
Chapter 14: The Trial
 Right to a Compulsory Process and to Confront
 The defendant can subpoena witnesses to appear in
court to testify
 Defendant has the right to be present in the
This can be restricted if the defendant becomes
disorderly or disruptive. He can be removed or bound
and gagged!
 This right is modified in child abuse cases
 What are the arguments for and against closed
circuit television in child abuse cases?
 Should it be allowed in cases involving rape or
other violent crimes?
Chapter 14: The Trial
Freedom from Self-Incrimination
You cannot be forced to testify against yourself
The prosecutor cannot make mention of the fact
that you did not testify
Some witnesses may be granted immunity to
testify against you
They must answer incriminating questions
Chapter 14: The Trial
 Suppose you are a defense attorney. What are
the advantages and disadvantages of having a
criminal defendant testify at trial?
 If you were a member of the jury in a criminal
trial, what would you think if the defendant
refused to testify? Would you be affected by the
judge’s instruction not to draw any conclusion
from this?
 If a defendant is forced to stand in a lineup,
give a handwriting sample, or take an alcohol
breath or urine test, does this violate the
privilege against self-incrimination?
 Do you think U.S. law should be changed so
that defendants are required to testify in
criminal cases?
Chapter 14: The Trial
Right to an Attorney
6th Amendment
Gideon v. Wainwright
 Are court appointed attorneys as good as
privately paid ones?
 Assume a defendant wants to handle his own
case. Should this be allowed?
 Assume a lawyer knows that his client is guilty.
Is it right for the lawyer to try to convince the
jury the person is not guilty?
Chapter 14: The Trial
 Criminal Appeals
 The defendant can ask the trial judge to overturn the
jury’s verdict and declare a mistrial
Seldom successful
 Defendant generally files a notice of appeal shortly
after the verdict
 The appellate court then sets a schedule by which it
is to receive legal briefs and possibly oral arguments
The defendant’s brief sets out alleged errors of law at
the trial that led to the conviction
Possible errors include: ineffective assistance of
counsel, improperly admitting evidence, giving the jury
the wrong instructions, improper use of a sentencing
guideline, etc.
Chapter 14: The Trial
Criminal Appeals
Appellate court is also given a transcript of the
original trial
New information is not presented at an appeal
Appeals courts tend to defer to the trial judges
and are not eager to overturn the result of a trial
Defendants may also file a writ of habeas corpus
which claims that the defendant is being held
 A writ may be issued after DNA testing has proven the
defendant didn’t commit the crime