Exploration of Criminal Law

As we begin our exploration of Criminal Law, our textbook lays some foundational history as to the role criminal
law has played as it has evolved. Specifically your textbook discusses the differences in positions by Durkheim
and Marx.
Durkheim felt that laws were agreed upon standards of society, but Marx felt that laws were put in place by a
society’s elite to serve the elite’s interests. Compare and Contrast the foundational beliefs of these two
opposing viewpoints.
Which do you think is closer to the truth? Support your position.
Based on which a person feels is the more accurate history of criminal law, do you believe that perspective
“taints” ( for good or bad) the way that they view enforcement of criminal laws and prosecution of suspects?
Thoroughly support your position.
After your required reading and research, what do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of a common
law system?
Over the next several weeks, we will be expounding on the legislative intent ( purpose behind the law) for
specific crimes – this historical perspective discussion will serve as a helpful foundation as we look to modern
society’s codified ( written) laws.
As we discuss the necessary evidence required for Criminal prosecutions of crimes, confessions continue to
come up as valuable pieces of evidence. They ARE valuable…juries especially place significant weight on
them when determining verdicts in criminal trials.
Just to explore the psychology behind “confessions”….Research confessions and locate statistics or data
regarding the truthfulness of confessions and/or the potential for them to be false. Discuss your findings within
this Discussion Forum.
What type of “false confessions” are there? Prior to researching this, had you ever considered if someone
would WILLINGLY confess to a crime they did not commit for any reason? What were some of the reasons
your research suggested this might occur? What is your response to those?
Do you think YOU would ever confess to a crime you did not commit?
What steps, or safeguards, can law enforcement and Prosecutors take to ensure validity of the confessions
that they seek to use in the criminal prosecution of a suspect? How important is this to the “justness” of our
Criminal Justice system?

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