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The Purpose Of Criminal Law Essay

1135 words - 5 pages

Due process is a right afforded us in the United States Constitution. It is mentioned in both the 5th and 14th amendments (Cornell University Law School, 2014). Due process is as relevant today as it was the day it was written as it “assumes that freedom is so important that every effort must be made to ensure that criminal justice decisions stem from reliable information (Cole & Smith, 2007, p. 11)”. The due process clause contained in our constitution is meant to afford all our citizens legal equality. Guilty until proven innocent is a widely known statement and it because of due process that this right is afforded us. This means that an accusation of criminal deviance must be ...view middle of the document...

The federal government acts as an agent for any crime that may result from a person crossing state lines or leaving the country. They also have control with regards to communications that may further a criminal act such as may involve the use of the telephone, the United States Postal service, or electronic mail (e-mail). Additionally, they may act when a criminal act impedes a federal activity or threatens national security. Fraud involving a U.S. entity or federally insured commodity such as the Federal Reserve would also fall under their jurisdiction. Murder is often a state concern; however, there are specific instances that would allow the federal government to exact control. An example of this would be the recent Boston Marathon killings. Because this was deemed an act of terrorism, the federal governments authority takes precedence over the State of Massachutes authority. Each State has the ability to request federal assistance when deemed necessary. If a child has been kidnapped and it suspected that the abductor may have transported the child across state line or if a prisoner absconds and it is suspected they may be headed out of the country a state may request assistance from the federal government.
Each state has the authority to create criminal law under their individual police power as not every state may share the same safety or welfare concerns as another. Police power is the power of the state to enact laws that defend and protect its citizens. Limitations to this power do exist. The first is that police power is unable to interfere with the rights of citizens as are afforded them by the U.S. Constitution. Accordingly, the 10th amendment; while providing each state this authority, provides for limiting state authority to that which does not infringe on the judicial rights granted by the constitution to the federal government (Gardner & Anderson, 2012, p. 11). Subsequently, the verbiage of state statutes and ordinances must be clear and consise so that they are unmistakable and understandable.

The four main goals of our criminal justice system are as follows:
1) To deter criminal/deviant behavior
2) To protect society from treacherous people
3) To punish those who disregard the law
4) To provide the possibility of reformation to individuals who have broken the law
Laws are created to provide guidance for what is considered acceptable and unacceptable behavior. We desire to prevent people from entering into...

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