The criminal law, the body of laws that defines criminal offenses, regulates the detention, charges and trial of suspects, and sets the sanctions and methods of treatment applicable to convicted criminals.
Criminal law is only one of the devices through which organized societies protect the security of individual interests and ensure the survival of the group. In addition, there are standards of behavior inculcated by family, school and religion; the standards of the office and factory; the norms of civil life imposed by ordinary police powers; and the sanctions available through tort actions. The distinction between criminal law and civil liability law is difficult to establish with real precision, but in general it can be said that an extracontractual liability is a private injury, while a crime is conceived as a crime against the public, although the actual victim It can be an individual.
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This article deals with the principles of criminal law For the treatment of the law of criminal procedure, consult the procedural law: Criminal procedure.
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Henry II (left) disputes with Thomas Becket (center), miniature of a manuscript of the fourteenth century; in the British Library (Cotton MS, Claudius D.ii).
customary law: law and criminal procedure
With regard to criminal law, the content of the law is very similar in all common law countries. In both the United Kingdom and the United States, the twentieth century was a period during which it was thought that undesirable behavior …
Principles Of Criminal Law.
The traditional approach of criminal law has been that a crime is an act that is morally wrong. The purpose of the criminal sanctions was to make the offender retribution for the damages caused and expiate his moral guilt; the punishment was to be given in proportion to the guilt of the accused.
In modern times, more rationalistic and pragmatic views have predominated. Writers of the Enlightenment as Cesare Beccaria in Italy, Montesquieu and Voltaire in France, Jeremy Bentham in Great Britain and PJA von Feuerbach.
in Germany they considered that the main objective of criminal law is the prevention of crime. With the development of Social Sciences, new concepts emerged, such as the protection of the public and the reform of the offender.
Such a purpose can be seen in the German Criminal Code of 1998, which he admonished. the courts that will be considered the «effects that the punishment is expected to have on the future life of the perpetrator in society».
In the United States a Model Penal Code proposed by the American Law Institute in 1962 states that one of the objectives of the criminal law must be «to give reasonable warning of the nature of the declared conduct to constitute a crime» and «to promote correction and rehabilitation of offenders.
«Since then there has been renewed interest in the concept of general prevention, which includes both the deterrence of potential criminals and the stabilization and strengthening of social norms.
Common Law And Code
There are important differences between the criminal law of the majority English-speaking countries and those of other countries.
The criminal law of England and the United States derives from the customary traditional law of crimes in English and has its origin in judicial decisions embodied in case reports resolved. England has consistently rejected all efforts towards a comprehensive legislative codification of its criminal law; even now there is no legal definition of murder in English law. However, some Commonwealth countries, particularly India, have enacted criminal codes that are based on the English common law of crimes.
The criminal law of the United States, derived from the English common law, has been adapted in some aspects to the American conditions. In most states of the USA UU., The customary law of crimes has been repealed by legislation.
The effect of such actions is that no person can be tried for any offense that is not specified in the state statute law. But even in these states, the principles of customary law continue to exert influence, because criminal statutes are often simply codifications of customary law, and their provisions are interpreted by reference to customary law. In the remaining states, trials sometimes occur for common crimes not specified in the statutes. In some states and in the federal criminal code, the so-called criminal or criminal Implify any theory of control through criminal measures.
In Western Europe, the criminal law of modern times has emerged from various codifications