Dressler, p. 78-101: Principle of Legality




There are three doctrines that balance the roles of the courts and legislatures in making criminal law:


1.     The principle of legality says that courts should not create new crimes.

2.     The doctrine of void-for-vagueness says that legislatures have to explain what they mean and not leave all the work up to the courts.

3.     The rule of strict construction says that if a criminal law is uncertain, it should be decided with a slant toward the defendant.


1.     The Requirement of Previously Defined Conduct


Case: Commonwealth v. Mochan


Case: Keeler v. Superior Court


1.     The Values of Statutory Clarity


Case: In Re Banks