Criminal Justice Midterm


the study of crime

criminal justice system

-formal process established to apprehend, adjudicate, sanction, and treat criminal offenders
-main agencies and components responsible to enforce criminal laws


behavior that departs from societal or group norms
-any crime is deviance because crime isn't normal


provides rules of conduct, sets punishments for violations, protects the welfare of society

law and society

-theoretical analysis concerning legal institutions and processes
-studies the impact of law on society
-identifies social, political, and intellectual influences on law and legal activity

social control

ensures conforming behavior in others
-formal: police
-informal: citizens
-3 types: norms, sanctions, and laws


expectation of conduct in a given situation
ex: in class, driving
most effective


responses or reactions to behaviors, positive or negative, formal or informal

criminal laws

protects us from violations of criminal statutes and rules

civil laws

protects us from non-criminal personal and property violations


an intentional act that violates criminal statutes, committed without defense or justification, and sanctioned by the state as either a felony or misdemeanor


serious offense that carries a penalty of incarceration for a year or more

capital felony

Punishable by death or life imprisonment without parole if no death penalty


minor offense usually punishable by less than one years imprisonment in a local institution

reasonable doubt

these 4 things must be proven:
1.actus reus
2.mens rea

1. actus reus

aggressive action or inaction/failure to act (if there is a legal duty between parties like parent/child, physician/patient)

2. mens rea

need either general, specific, transferred, or constructive intent proven

general intent

if the defendant knows there will be an effect, must infer from the facts

specific intent

direct evidence of the person's state of mind, hardest to prove

transferred intent

had intent to harm one person but harmed another accidentally

constructive intent

prosecutor constructs the intent from the individuals actions, doesn't require guilty mind

3. concurrence

establishes the relationship between the act and the mind

4. causation

determination of cause in fact or proximate cause

Uniform Crime Report

official source of crime statistics, from the FBI

advantages of UCR

-most reliable
-shows trends
-provides data at different levels
-only one with arson
-only one with murder info
-provides info one whether or not there was an arrest
-provides info on assaults on officers

disadvantages of UCR

-recording practices are inconsistent
-multiple offenses are not recorded
-different departments define crime differently
-not all jurisdictions report crime stats to FBI
-not all crimes are reported to the police

National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)

provides victim experiences for us citizens

advantages of NCVS

-shows the number of victims, even the ones that aren't reported
-gets unreported crime
-provides info on victims

disadvantages of NCVS

-high costs
-data is dependent on recall of respondents
-victims probably won't report failed attempts but UCR does
-people may define crime differently
-victims won't report crimes that involve someone they know
-only 1 person per household is interviewe

Self Report Survey

asks people about crimes they may have committed

advantages of SRS

-gets unreported crime
-provides demographic info from defenders
-info on attitudes and beliefs from offenders
-smaller crimes

disadvantages of SRS

-lack of standard reporting format
-asks about only trivial offenses
-dependent on the recall of the defendant
-dependent on willingness of respondents to answer truthfully

criminal homicide

the willful killing of one human being by another

justifiable homicide

self defense or law enforcement killing a felon in the line of duty

forcible rape

the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will, includes attempted rape but not statutory rape

aggravated assault

unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury, includes attempts


taking or attempt to take anything of value from someone using force

trends in violent crime in general

-52% of victims know their assailant
-more likely to be committed during the day
-25% occur at or near the victims home
-14% occur on the street
-15% occur at School
-7% at commercial establishments
-most occur in southern regions

trends in homicide

-13% are committed by strangers
-young individuals use guns more than older people
-peaked in the 80s and 90s and has now decreased
-most victims are aged 14-24
-most are male killing males
-males are more likely to murder their children
-males are 3x mor

trends in rape

-30% are committed by strangers
-2/3 occur at night
-7% involve a weapon
-decreased overtime
-25% occur in the victims home or someones home u know
-most are intraracial
-most rapists are 15-25 years old
-more are planned than murders are
-most aren't rep

trends in assault

-95% involves a weapon

trends in robberies

-70% are committed by strangers
-46% involve a weapon

why have murder clearances decreased

crime shows have made it harder for the FBI to do their jobs, there are more rights for individuals, people aren't snitching and a lack of community

simple assault

happens more often than aggravated, doesn't involve a weapon


unlawful taking, leading, or riding away from the possession of another, most common


unlawful entry somewhere to commit a crime

motor vehicle theft

theft of motor vehicle
-most cars are stolen in CA
-most stolen cars are Hondas and Fords and other average cars


willful or malicious burning
-juveniles do it the most
-older people commit habitual arson


misappropriation of funds


getting money through deceptive practices
-more women than men do this


make something false


disfigurement of public property
-mostly young males

identity theft

someone uses your personal info for fraud


use computer technology to criminally victimize people

occasional property offender

situational, largest typology, engage occasionally, by themselves, crimes lack skill, no criminal identity, no contact with CJS, most commonly fraud, shoplifting, smaller crimes

conventional property offender

people you imagine to be criminal, non-situational, most have legit jobs, crime is a source of income for them, medium support group, criminal skill, high contact with CJS, most commonly burglary, robbery

professional property offenders

smallest and rarest group, frequent crime, highest group support, high skill level, specialization, professional criminal identity, limited contact with CJS, bank robbery, embezzlements

factors that increase the probability of being a victim

suitable target, lack of guardianship, motivated offender

white collar crime

illegal act committed by non-physical means ti obtain money, property, or businesses
-coined by Edward sutherland
-his theory is that the crime is committed by a person of respectability and high social status
-very complex, hard to solve
-subdivision of

occupational crime

crimes committed by individuals at their jobs

professional occupational crime

committed by professionals like doctors and lawyers at their jobs

corporate crime

violation of law committed by an entire firm or business
-false advertising
-price fixing
-environmental crime
-unsafe working conditions

difference between white collar crime and company crime

white collar is against a company and corporate is for the company

organized crime

professional criminals who rely on illegal activities as a way of life

difference between white collar crime and organized crime

white collar is thru a legit business while organized is thru an illegitimate business

when does criminal involvement peak

ages 15-24

latent trait approach

age distribution of crime never changes across social and cultural conditions, age has a direct effect on crime

Self Control Theory (Gottfredson and Hirschi)

your amount of self control is determined in childhood and that determines your propensity to commit crime
-focus is placed on early childhood socialization
-individuals don't change, so your propensity to commit crime never changes, only the opportunitie

self control

tendency of individuals to consider the long term consequences of their actions

6 components of self control

-tendency to respond to tangible stimuli immediately
-lack diligence or persistence
-tendency to be adventuresome rather than cautious
-preference for physical activity over mental
-self centered, no empathy
-minimal tolerance for frustration and inabilit

life course approach

-age distribution of crime is not invariant
-age has an indirect effect on crime
-age is correlated with important events or factors which are highly related to crime
-it only matters what age you are when certain events happen


age of first offense


amount of offending


age at which they stop offending


long term path in life

turning points

significant events in life that change things


pathway of development

Warr's study on age, peers, and delinquency

age is only related to crime with peers also taken into account
-if you have exposure to delinquent peers, you are more likely to be delinquent

differential association theory

age doesn't have an impact on delinquency once peer influence are controlled for

Sheldon and Eleanor glueck

looked at 500 delinquent and 500 non-delinquent males throughout life to determine if they were delinquent later in life
looked at social capital: attachment to labor force and cohesive marriage as factors to determine deliquency
among delinquents, if the

Laub and sampsons Life course study

wanted to know if a person could become a criminal in adult hood, studied the quality of social bonds affect on social control

order of criminal justice system

Stage 1- Police
-initial contact
Stage 2- Courts
-first appearance
-preliminary hearing/grand jury
-plea bargaining
Stage 3- Corrections

initial contact

proactive- police come to you
reactive- police respond to a call


gather info on a crime


probable cause must be established
deprives the individual of their freedom


prosecutor decides whether or not to charge and what they are going to charge with
felony- information (no grand jury, prosecutor) or indictment (grand jury of citizens)

first appearance

individual is now called a defendant
your charges are read
bail is considered
reminded of your rights

preliminary hearing / grand jury

determine if there is probable cause
90% of time defendants waive this and take a plea deal


defendant is informed of the charges
trial date is set
defendant must plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest
bail is determined