Criminal Law Essay

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Criminal law is a part of law concerned with certain acts (labeled as criminal) that eventually lead to punishment. Although there is no clear-cut definition of what a criminal act is, we can say there are generally two elements to nearly all criminal acts. First, a criminal act is intended to do substantial harm. For example, murder, rape, robbery are considered to be criminal acts. Second, a criminal act involves either criminal intent or guilty mind (mens rea). There are levels in criminal intent (which are relevant to guilt and punishment), the intent to harm in general is a necessary part in a typical case involving personal injury. Unlike civil wrongs that are generally concerned with harm caused by negligent or reckless behavior, criminal wrongs are necessarily the product of intentional, eventually cruel, behavior.
Criminal acts are subjected to punishment. Any individual who commits a crime puts himself or herself at risk for punishment. Punishment can take several forms: a fine, imprisonment, or other forms of diminishing the criminal’s freedom, including execution in some jurisdictions. Punishment in criminal law makes the injurer worse off without directly benefiting the victim. One way to think about this idea is through the economic analysis of criminal law. This approach uses the notion of deterrence in monitoring criminal behavior. Sanctions are imposed in an efficient manner in order to prevent the criminal act from occurring again. This paper will examine the pros and cons of the economic analysis of criminal law first in general and then with respect to punishments, and will show that while adequate way to think about how enforcement of criminal acts works, it is still a weak theory in certain aspec...

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...nal law enforcement model within boundaries of tractability will respond to the criticism of modeling oversimplification.
My position is that as the current theory stands there are several weaknesses with re to institutional aspects. Therefore, developing a more institutionally oriented model to derive policies will be very useful. I have identified three areas where further research would be appropriate: (a) the roles of judges and legislators in policy making, (b) the optimal control of sentencing by means of civil code or guidelines, and (c) the emergence of distinct social norms and extra-legal sanctions. If a more clear and concise solution can arise from this research, then the economic analysis of criminal law with respect to punishment will be not only adequate as it is now, but an excellent method to think about how the enforcement of criminal law works.

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