2.08.2008

Crim Law

Don't ask why we shorten Criminal Law to "Crim Law" in Law School. We just do. There's lots of things we just do for no other reason than because we always have...like use the "Socratic Method"...and base entire futures on first-year grades, which are in turn based on performances from five or six three-hour tests...or my personal reasonless favorite: Law Review. Basically, law school is one giant, three-year "Rush Week" wherein law students must swallow the metaphorical goldfish of "academia." Only after going through the intellectual hell of brotherhood/sisterhood earning can law students get their metaphorical babes...or metaphorical dudes. It is the way it has always been. And it is good. Sadly, I sometimes complain about the metaphorical spankings and the metaphorical sacrificial goats. But I must remind myself after metaphorically tending to my metaphorically spanked hiney, that when I get to wear that Sig Ring...er...Pass the Bar Exam, it's all gonna be worth it. And yes, if given the chance to do Law School again exactly as they did it 100 years ago, I "WOULD HAVE ANOTHER, SIR!" and I "WOULD LIKE IT!" Anyway, here's Crim Law in a nutshell: First, watch Law and Order. They will explain it all to you in a way that you can understand. There. I have just saved you three credits and thousands of dollars. If you don't have access to Law and Order, you obviously don't have a television, and I am sorry. You should invest in that before you decide you want to practice criminal law. So, here are some basic outlines of Crim Law if you want to peruse them. Just imagine that Sam Waterston is reading them to you from his enormous desk at the NY District Attorney's office. And at the end of each section, shout out "Duhm Duhm!!" Murder
  • The intentional killing of another human being
    • Unless you are OJ, in which case it is the intentional killing of another human being with five eye-witnesses willing to testify, indisputable DNA evidence in the Judge's robes, and a book outlining exactly how you would have done it if you had done it...hypothetically speaking, of course.
  • Murder is usually measured and punished by degrees
    • 1st Degree
      • Bad. This person intentionally killed someone in a very messy/icky/disturbing way.
      • We usually imprison this kind of murderer for life or let them languish in prison for twenty years before we execute them.
    • 2nd Degree
      • Less Bad. This person killed intentionally in a less messy/icky/disturbing way.
      • We usually imprison this kind of murderer for life or less than life. Twenty years is about the minimum, unless you piss off the warden in a game of Guards/Prisoners Football at a local high school, in which case you can win your freedom with a victory on the gridiron or remain behind bars for a long, long time with a loss. That is referred to as the Longest Yard Rule.
    • Manslaughter
      • Least Bad. This person killed (maybe not even intentionally) in an accidental, but usually still messy/icky/disturbing way.
      • "Slap on the wrist" punishment, usually 5-10 years, unless you piss off the warden... in which case, you know the rest
    • Vehicular Homicide
      • Still bad, but somehow more understandable.
      • I believe this stems from the universal ailment called "Road Rage." We still frown on this behavior, but deep down, know we all imagine ourselves engaging in it from approximately 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on I-15.
Rape
  • For Women:
    • No means no, jerkoff!
    • If he's 18, you need to be 18...usually. Check your state.
    • Aggravated rape should be punished by castration.
      • With a rusty blade.
      • And no anaesthetic.
  • For Men:
    • When the perpetrator is a woman, the only question you must remember in this analysis is "Can a willing party be raped?"
      • With all the resources of the legal ivory tower behind this issue, we still haven't answered this question definitively. Really.
Kidnapping
  • Forcibly taking someone against their will and holding them somewhere they don't want to be.
    • Often mistaken for a date here in Provo, kidnapping is frowned upon by most of the world.
    • It's the criminal version of False Imprisonment. Only, instead of losing money, you lose your freedom with this one.
  • I often wonder where the name came from... can you really Nap a Kid? It just doesn't sound menacing. It should be "Body Stealing" or "Person Taking." That would be much more accurate.
Armed Robbery
  • Robbery performed with the presence of a weapon. Real or imagined.
    • Don't want this on your record? Engage in fraud. It's much safer overall, and your chances of being caught by the feds go way down.
Felony Murder Rule
  • Engaging in a felony? Silly you! If somebody dies while you're engaging in that felony, you may be found guilty of their murder.
    • Easy Example:
      • You're engaging in armed robbery at the local supermarket. Deep down, you know you should have just bought the bag of candy, falsified an allergic reaction to the yellow ones and milked the company for all the sweets you could eat, but that required too much effort. And besides, you can't help that your Sour Patch Kids dependency requires money that you just don't have! Meanwhile, unaware of your internal dilemma, the cashier, after seeing your bag of SPKs and the .45 Special sticking out of your belt, begins to breathe erratically. When you look up and say "Hey Buddy, are you OK?!" he clutches his chest and whispers "Those were Buy one Get One Free, you jerk!" and collapses to the linoleum floor, dead.
      • Because you stole the candy (cheapskate!) and did it with a gun on your person, you are going to be found guilty of felony murder. In most states. Well, at least some. And that's a bad thing.
    • What you did wrong:
      • You had a gun. Didn't pay attention earlier? You could have just as easily napped the Kids without a gun, which probably would have been a misdemeanor, and then you'd be off scott free! Not your fault this guy's tubing was bad.
      • You waited around with the candy at the cashier's desk. You should have just run away. Fast.
      • You could have abandoned the crime, returned the candy, and tried to help the guy. It's debatable whether this could get you off, but it would at least get you a mitigated sentence and a better shot to take on the warden's team...
Well that's all I can remember from my Crim Law class. Maybe that's why we shortened the name to "Crim Law"--to reflect the abbreviated nature of our studies. But don't worry, if you do go into the practice of Criminal Law, you'll have TONS of time to study the remaining nuances of American criminal jurisprudence between your hundreds of cases, continuous trial dates, and meager paychecks. But just remember, you don't do it for the babes. Or for the dudes. You do it for the pride. You do it for Justice. You do it for America. You do it to live the Sam Waterston way. The right way. If you want the Law & Order life, this is what you do. And you feel good about it. Until you really do engage in Vehicular Homicide. And then all bets are off.

1 comment:

It's just me... said...

Fabulous! This one has been my favorite thus far. Maybe it's because I am addicted to Law & Order and felt as though I already knew everything :) Your check for 'thousands of dollars' is in the mail.