Criminal Law and Its General Principles
When a crime occurs people have the tendency of saying that, the crime is on the rise. Crime in the United States of America has existed for over two hundred years and by the look of things, the insecurity must have been more due to the lack of elaborate justice systems. The observation made is that the British at such a time and the revolutionary Americans were against each other. They would engage in a hit, run tactic, and even engage in looting each other’s property. This shows how a crime was on the rise and it had become difficult to control it or even make sure criminals change their behavior. There were formal and informal criminal justice processes to ensure that there is the identification of offenders and judgment according to the crime committed.
On the other hand, there were the slaves who were tortured at the hands of their owners and the sellers. The masters believed that the slaves had to have the discipline to stay on course brings to the rise the cases of violence. The Whites in the State at that time broke into groups that were responsible for breaking up clandestine meetings held by the slaves. They would also enforce discipline among the slaves, which was in the most ruthless of ways. This was even worse if a slave was a fugitive and they hunted him down, where they would punish him more than their expectations. There were groups like the Ku Klux Klan who were living in the south of the United States of America and they believed in maintaining the status quo by always harassing and violating the slaves and even hunting down the former slaves (Hall 78).
There was reopening of a case of an educated woman after the murder charges of her son and sending biotech bombs to two individuals who had criticized her research. This can be a reason why people in America may say that crime is on the rise and this is only coming from one woman who holds a P.H.D degree from one of the most prestigious universities. People should not always jump to conclusions pertaining to crime but should rather come up with concrete statistics that will then help us to make the ruling of the nature of crime in the country (Hall 300).
Crimes vary in nature because; there are various types of crimes committed at different times. However, a crime is a violation of the human rights or the laws that exist in a country. The acts vary as some are just as a mere violation of law and others are more serious. There are laws that will defend the property in a country against theft or larceny. There is a conflict on the view of a crime because if a rich person or a person who is famous commits a crime and justice is done they sometimes get off scot-free as they are able to justify their actions based on their interests or even bribe the judges so that the judgment is made in their favor. The have-nots, on the other hand, who are engaged in a similar action may commit a crime and since they cannot fully justify themselves they are charged. This appears like a tug of war between the haves and have-nots, where the haves are favored while have-nots face discrimination.
There are those who are engaged in the activities of social learning and they suggest that people go into a life of crime from an early age of adolescence. From that age, there is the teaching of attitudes that go along in helping someone to propagate crime and make a fair judgment. Some crime control methods are applicable if detected from an early point to solve the problem before it gets worse. The observation made is that those people, who seem detached from the social crowd, have problems with all their relationships. They may seem to be violent with their peers and this may lead to vulnerability and enrolment into unlawful gangs and perpetrate crimes.
The social theory dictates the creation of social strata by the distribution of wealth across the people. Classes then come up as a segmentation of those people who share similar values and attitudes, where the amount of wealth they have determines this. There are three segmentations of classes based on the socioeconomic level of each. The first one is the upper class, which boasts most of the wealth and resources in the country. The second one is the middle class, which is financially stable but does not have as much as the upper class. Finally, there is the lower socioeconomic class who seem to face oppression due to unequal distribution of resources. The major emphasis is that racial disparity occurs across socioeconomic classes. The racial and ethnic minorities seem to have the problems as well as struggles of the lower class, whereas the urban Europeans seem to enjoy the benefits of the economic activities, social events, and politically favored (Hall 89)
A court ruling can change the lives of so many people and this makes the law look like something that can favor the level of morality and ethics in a community. For example, gay marriages were unacceptable in the United States of America. When the California State amended and changed the constitution to work for its own good by making same-sex marriages legal, it did not go so well with others as it had been a conservative community. However, the law has different approaches to a crime for it to be effective and there are two divisions of law, which include civil law and criminal law. In civil law, it deals with the regulation of property transfer as well as how people engage in their activities.
There is a further division of these two branches into four categories, which are different from each other. The first one is substantive law, which focuses on the crimes committed, and their corresponding punishments. However, this takes into consideration the physical and mental state of the person at the time of the crime. The next one is procedural criminal law, which involves the law of seizure, search, right to counsel, the selection of a jury, and the questions of appeal. Civil law on the other hand governs how private parties including individuals and organizations relate to each other with reference to a set of rules to conduct how they do it. Public law is responsible for how the administration should run its activities and regulates agencies at certain levels such as the city, state, county, and federal government (Hall 205).
Criminal law is actually a document, which is constantly changing so that it remains relevant to the needs of society and its rate of evolution. The criminal law has various sources, for example, the common law and degree of murder is the “unlawful killing with malice and premeditation of one human being by another.” However, over time as the state courts pass judgments, the portrayer of these judgments can be as emergent rules, such as considering the extermination of a fetus as the murder of an unborn child. However, as much as the criminal law document may change, it has to be in conformity with the constitution of the United States of America.
Classification of various crimes is different and this normally rests with the state jurisdiction depending on the rules and regulations that are set. Over the years, crimes are in these groups; they can fall under felonies, violations, and misdemeanors. The definition of a felony is a crime that can be punishable by death or even many years in jail and others life imprisonment (Hall 56). Misdemeanors on the other hand are less severe as the felonies, where a fine or a simple imprisonment of a short duration can simply punish them. The next classification group is statutory classification such as sex offenders and even juvenile delinquency. Some crimes may be termed as acts rues meaning that they are very violent or aggressive acts done to someone. For example, shooting an individual, intentional burning down of the house, and taking someone’s money without permission. However, if it was an accident or the act was involuntary it could not result to a crime, as the doer was not aware of what they were doing.
Hall, Jerome. General Principles of Criminal Law. New Jersey: The Law book Exchange Ltd, 2005. Print.