Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Today's schedule is D-C-Lunch-A-B

C - Criminology 12 - Today we will continue with yesterday's Power Point presentation on the history of crime and law (Remember Hammurabi, the Mosaic Code and the development of Common Law in England?). We'll learn what Actus Reus, Mens Rea, Mala in Se and Mala Prohibitum mean along with taking a look at the differences between Indictable, Summary Conviction and Absolute Liability Offences. We'll see what defences you can use and what the goals of criminal law are for society. You'll need to work on the Chapter 1 Crime and Criminology question below (The Elements of a Crime) and then we'll discuss crime trends and how we tabulate crime statistics (UCR, PRVS, Self-Reports).

Chapter 1: Crime and Criminology The Elements of a Crime

The discipline of criminology tends to focus on crimes that are defined by criminal law as stated in the Criminal Code. In this case, a crime has occurred if the accused committed an illegal act and had the intent to commit the act. The act, or actus reus, can be any number of things such as the commission of a sexual assault, theft of someone’s money, or arson (i.e., the burning of a building). Criminal intent, or mens rea, refers to a “guilty mind” and this demonstrates culpability (a concept that indicates blame). Both elements must be present in order for an incident to be deemed a crime.

It is important to note that intent is not the same thing as motive. Suppose a person sticks a knife through his co-worker’s chest during a fight where the knife wielder is clearly attempting to harm the other man. The act of assault and possibly murder is present, as is the intent (since a reasonable person can assume that beating a person with fists can cause harm and that stabbing someone with a knife could produce death). The motive in this case could be a number of things. Perhaps the victim provoked the aggressor, taunting him and embarrassing him in front of his co-workers. Or, more likely, the act is motivated by jealousy or revenge (as could readily be the case if the aggressor found out his co-worker was having an affair with his wife). Thinking about committing an act is not the same thing as actually engaging in the behaviour and would not be considered a crime. Finally, the act must be voluntary and intentional. Even though an act may cause harm or damage, it is not considered a crime if it is an accident.

In some cases, the connection between an actus reus and the mens rea is not readily apparent and the alleged crime must be considered within the context of the overall incident. Perhaps there are some important considerations involving the person who committed the act that negate one or both elements that would deem the incident a crime. For example, suppose you are playing with your three-year old son one evening in your home. Your little boy is pretending to be a dinosaur and making growling noises. Suddenly, he pulls a dinosaur out of his pocket and starts to play with it. You realize the dinosaur is not part of his collection and must be from the day home he attends while you are at work. You ask your son if he took the dinosaur from the day home and he replies that the dinosaur sneaked into his pocket. Has your three-year son committed a crime? Explain your answer using what you have learned about the elements of crime. Would you change your answer if the same example took place, except your son was thirteen years old? What other factors are important in the determination of mens rea and actus reus? Hint: In most situations, for an act to constitute a crime, it must be enacted with criminal intent. In the legal sense, this means carrying out an act intentionally, knowingly, and willingly. To satisfy the requirements of actus reus, guilty actions must be voluntary.

A - Social Studies 11 - Today, after current events, you'll be working through a mapping exercise on the European theater of war in the Second World War with Mr. Lux and then finishing the Nazism & Fascism worksheets that you started yesterday.

B- Social Studies 10 - Today, after current events, you'll be continuing to work through the Louis Riel worksheets with Mr. Lux. Don't forget that this work is due Friday (April 24th) and you will need to select a question to share your answers to with the class on Friday.

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