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AU The Origin & History of Punishment Discussion Responses

AU The Origin & History of Punishment Discussion Responses


response to each student:

1.Luis Murillo

The origin of punishment is an unknown phenomenon. Punishment has been used in well-developed social institutions in most primitive societies (Stearns, 1936).  Punishment, whether by a social group or individual, is primarily for the purpose of individual or social defense, but the immediate motive may be rooted in irritation or annoyance (Stearns, 1936). Additionally, the presence of punishment can be seen through social constructs. Customs and rituals foster an environment where a punishing class exudes zeal in its elaboration (Stearns, 1936). Superstition and religion offer an element of purification and regulation of conduct that is employed not for the purpose of punishing the member but rather to protect from unjust or excessive retaliation from the aggrieved (Stearns, 1936). At present time, conventionalized and ritualized components still exist and are organized by the society. However, the application of the scientific method and social service techniques are also integrated (Stearns, 1936).  

Over the course of history, society has developed different ways to punish criminals while also ensuring public safety. The five major kinds of criminal punishment include incapacitation, deterrence, retribution, rehabilitation, and restoration (Point Park University, 2021). Retribution provides the victims of crime, or society, a sense of satisfaction knowing a criminal received the appropriate level of punishment for the crime committed (Point Park University, 2021). Deterrence seeks to prevent future crime (Point Park University, 2021). Rehabilitation is used to mitigate future crime by altering behavior (Point Park University, 2021). Incapacitation correlates to removing a person from society (Point Park University, 2021). Lastly, restoration is a new method that requires the offender to make direct amends to the victim and the community (Point Park University, 2021). Society developed each construct with the idea of ensuring an appropriate punishment for the criminal based on the situation (Point Park University, 2021). These theories are involved in the type of crime and the determined punishment. One area that could be improved is the number of members being incarcerated in prisons. I would exercise this approach with greater scrutiny and only incapacitate members who commit violent crimes against society.  

2. Addison Gilbert

Hello all,

For this discussion, I was under the group tasked with detailing the history of criminal law, explaining the significant forces that created U.S. criminal law, and providing my opinion of whether or not criminal law offers the most effective way to deal with crime.

Everywhere in nature and history, examples can be found in which the harmful action of one perpetrating entity causes a harmful reaction from the victim entity. This reaction can be identified as a punishment towards the perpetrator for their deeds. Before 621 B.C., these actions were taken by the victim or the victim’s party until the enforcement of Draco’s Codification of Criminal Law, in which the power was given to the king (Stearns, 1936, p. 223). In the next stage of the development of criminal law, punished offenders were used as a deterrent to prevent others from wanting to violate the law. “The sinner or offender is punished as an example so that others will not do likewise… the more horrible the punishment the greater its salutary effect” (Stearns, 1936, p. 223 -224). From the 18th century to the 20thcentury, changes were rapidly made around the world, leading to the use of punishment and criminal law in order to rehabilitate offenders and return them to society (Stearns, 1936, p. 225 -228).

Many forces affected the establishment of U.S. criminal law. One of the first of these forces was English Common Law and its influence when the United States was a colony. The U.S. Constitution and Federalism were created in order to create a more perfect system that corrected the deficiencies and overreach of the Monarchy. “The Constitution in the United States is the basic law; it is a framework that determines who has power and how that power can be exercised” (WelcometotheLAW, 2010, 1:49). Finally, there are forces like the study of Criminology, social reforms, and how crime is perceived.

I believe that the current U.S. Criminal Law system is capable, but not effective or efficient. Public safety is important, but so are an individual’s liberties; in the last century, citizens’ rights and liberty have been continuously traded in for public safety. One suggestion I have to better the system is to reduce the amount of overcriminalization and mass incarceration. By reforming sentencing laws and focusing on rehabilitation programs, mandatory minimum sentences can be removed, and rehabilitation programs can be used for first-time or minor offenders.

3. Shaquella Wyllis

If your last name begins with the letters M through Z:

* What is the legal concept of the prosecutor’s burden of proving all elements of a criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt (BARD)?

The burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove that an accused is guilty of committing the crime in question. An accused remains innocent until proven otherwise by the courts. The prosecution must provide enough evidence to prove the accused guilty by showing that there is enough evidence to convict the accused. The prosecution must also show that the evidence can be dismissed, which means that it cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

*Where did the burden of BARD come from, historically?

In recent years, the burden of proof has shifted more towards the accused in order to allow for a guilty verdict. This has made it easier for the jury to understand and come to a logical conclusion from the evidence they are given. To help jurors have a less painful guilty verdict, jurors often need to be convinced that the evidence against them is strong. This was done in order to prevent them from being emotionally attached to the case and from making an emotional decision based on their feelings.

*Compare and contrast the beyond a reasonable doubt jury instructions from these three different states: Nevada, New York, and Louisiana; pick the one that best explains this legal concept and justify your answer in your primary discussion posting.

The State of Nevada’s jury instructions provide a clear definition of the concept of “beyond reasonable doubt” – it is not the duty of the accused to provide evidence of their innocence, but rather the burden of the prosecution to provide enough stable evidence of the accused guilt. This approach is designed to provide jurors with a more informed understanding of the legal system and help them make fair decisions.

The jury in New York provides that the jury must be impartial and avoid bias, but it is not as clearly pronounced as that of Nevada. The two states have different jury laws, with New York providing a more specific instruction on the need for impartiality. While both states provide for a jury to decide based on evidence, the New York instruction is more specific.

The Louisiana jury instruction states that the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty. The Nevada jury instruction states that the accused must prove the guilt of the charge by a preponderance of the evidence. This difference in instruction can be seen as providing a more clear and concise description of the burden of proof in Nevadan law.

4. Cornell Harris

Hi Class,

Explain the central components of the legal term and substantive criminal law requirement for jurisdiction. At a minimum, your response must detail all of the following:

What is jurisdiction, and how does it affect criminal prosecution? Jurisdiction refers to a court’s authority to hear and decide a case. Generally speaking, federal courts have jurisdiction over federal crimes, and state courts have jurisdiction over state crimes. But some kinds of conduct qualify as both state and federal offenses.  The interest of federal law typically involves crimes on federal land, and if it is on a national scale.  These types of offenses are usually handled in a federal court.  When exercising a state criminal practice, it usually involves violations of the states penal or criminal codes of some sort.  Criminal prosecutions aren’t always affected by this for in most instances the federal and state prosecution will work together.  Sometimes it’s even passed to one or the other.  Although the federal side of the house has more resources, they will try to work together to come to a common ground.

Can the type of crime determine jurisdiction for a court? Yes, a defendant can face prosecution for the same crime in both state and federal court. However, in many instances, one of the jurisdictions will defer to another. For example, the federal government might prosecute a case, instead of a state, where the crime involved a large sex trafficking ring because the federal government has more resources. The deferring government might step in only if the other prosecution fails. Or sometimes both state and federal prosecutors will pursue criminal charges.  Another example is if the perpetrator is of Federal employment, and the Government wants to take over the prosecution even if it’s on state’s jurisdiction. 

Distinguish between federal and state jurisdiction for courts in criminal cases. State courts are established by the laws of each state and have broad jurisdiction. These courts can hear cases on everything ranging from criminal matters to family law disputes. In contrast, federal courts are established under the U.S. Constitution and have a much narrower jurisdiction. In some situations, both state and federal courts can have jurisdiction over an issue.  For example, cases that involve parties in two different states, referred to diversity jurisdiction, may qualify to proceed in either federal or state courts. When both options are available, the plaintiff can choose where to file the lawsuit. In situations such as these, you should have a basic understanding of the pros and cons of each system before choosing a jurisdiction.

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