Article 1. Preliminary


§1.02.          Purposes; Principles of Construction


(3)   So this isn’t the rule of lenity.  This says that courts ought to interpret the Code in such a way as to further its goals.  The Code actually does give courts some discretion in making its decisions.


§1.04.          Classes of Crimes; Violations


(1)   This seems to say that anything the statute says is punishable is a crime.

(2)   A felony is whatever we say is a felony, or anything where the minimum sentence is over one year in prison.

(3)   A misdemeanor is whatever we say it is.

(4)   A petty misdemeanor is whatever we say it is, or any crime where the maximum punishment is less than a year.

(5)   A violation is something that we just fine, and it’s not a crime.

(6)   Anything that’s a crime but that we don’t otherwise categorize, well, we’ll just call it a misdemeanor.

(7)   This code rules any other statutes that are around.


§1.05.          All Offenses Defined by Statute; Application of General Provisions of the Code


(1)   This provision explicitly says that all criminal law will from here on out be statutory rather than through the common law.


§1.12.          Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt; Affirmative Defenses; Burden of Proving Fact When Not an Element of an Offense; Presumptions


(1)     I think it’s interesting that you need to prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  What are the elements of a typical crime?  “In the absence of such proof, the innocence of the defendant is assumed.”  Does this mean that if there is such proof that the innocence of the defendant is not assumed?  I thought the common understanding was that you were assumed innocent until you were convicted, but then again, the common saying is that you are “innocent until proven guilty in a court of law”…so maybe you’re guilty as soon as proof beyond a reasonable doubt is presented, but before you’re convicted.


§1.13.          General Definitions


(9)     Aha…so here is the definition of an element of an offense.  There are three categories of elements: conduct, circumstances, and results.  Each element must satisfy one of five conditions: either (1) it’s included in the definition of the crime as a forbidden activity, (2) it shows someone is culpable in the required way, (3) it disproves an excuse or justification, (4) it disproves that the statute of limitations has expired, or (5) it shows this is the right court in which to try the defendant.


We’ll see what is said in class about this…


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