Criminal Justice

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Date Submitted: 08/07/2013 05:44 PM

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Miyata Thomas

Intro to Criminal Justice


Criminal law is a formal mean of social control that involves the use of rules that are interpreted, and are enforceable by the courts to set limits to the conduct of the citizens, to guide the officials, and to define unacceptable behavior. There are many sources in criminal law but only four main sources, those four main sources are Constitutional and Legislative Bodies, common law (case law), administrative or Regulatory Agency Decisions, and Interdependency among Source Legal Authority. Criminal laws are product of the lawmaking bodies created by constitutional authority.

The first source of criminal law is the Constitution which provide for the creation of legislative bodies to enact criminal and other laws. Congress was created by the U.S. Constitution and they make laws. The Constitution set limits on what can be defined as crime. Common law is another form of criminal law which set laws using the outcome of previous decisions of trial and appellate court judges. These decisions become potential basis to decide the outcome of a case of similar nature. Administrative or Regulatory agency decisions are laws made by lawmaking bodies of different jurisdictions that create rules in their own area. The Interdependency among sources of legal Authority states criminal statutes are essentially independent of one another.

The legal definition of crime is an intentional violation of criminal law or penal code, committed without defense or excuse and penalized by the state. A crime is not a crime unless all seven elements of crime are present. The major elements of crime in general are Harm, Legality, Actus reus, Mens rea, Causation, Concurrence, and Punishment. These seven elements determine rather one committed a crime or not. The First element of crime is harm. Harm is the external consequence required to make an action a crime. For example if someone is thinking about killing someone that is not...