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The Religious Arguments of the Death Penalty

The Religious Arguments of the Death Penalty

Within religious factions there is often a great deal of tension regarding debating the death penalty. Death penalty laws and religious beliefs and teachings often conflict a great deal. While many recognized religions have taken an official stance on capital punishment, many religions continue to remain obscure and uncertain about their views of the death penalty. In many cases, religious groups remain ambiguous about their stance on capital punishment because the faith’s followers and authorities are still debating the death penalty.
Though religions may argue amongst each other about the morality and necessity of capital punishment, members within each religious denomination also debate about death penalty laws. Individuals will often cite examples and situations from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Qur’an which support and justify the use of capital punishment. 
Other people will argue that the death penalty contradicts fundamental religious teachings that have been essential in faith-based education for many centuries. People have been debating the death penalty throughout the history of capital punishment and death penalty laws. It continues to be a topic of extreme contention today.
Debating the death penalty is a very common occurrence amongst religious factions and within religious denominations. Through the writings and statements of religious officials, the Roman Catholic Church has supported the use of capital punishment. The Church believes that death penalty laws are essential to deter criminals from taking part in harmful and irreversible criminal activity. Despite the Church’s official stance on the death penalty, though, there continues to be a great deal of debate within this religious community.
Some members of the Roman Catholic Church argue that by taking another individual’s life, a criminal is relinquishing his or her right to life. If a murderer is not executed for his or her crimes and in the course of his or her life he or she kills another individual, then society and the Government holds some responsibility in the victim’s death because society and the Government did not take the proper precautions to protect the community from a dangerous individual.
Other Roman Catholics who take a stance in debating the death penalty argue that capital punishment opposes the basic teachings of their faith. From the time that Roman Catholics and most Christians begin studying the Bible, they are taught that human life is sacred. Murder is a mortal sin no matter who the victim is. They are repeatedly told that if someone inflicts harm upon them to turn the other cheek instead of seeking vengeance. 
Another fundamental Christian teaching is that God loves all people, despite their sins. Capital punishment contradicts all of these beliefs and teachings. Christians who support the death penalty laws are not turning the other cheek, practicing forgiveness, or respecting human life. They are disregarding the instructions of the Christian faith. Despite these arguments, the large majority of Christian denominations support the use of capital punishment.
Christian denominations are not the only religious factions that argue over the death penalty. Individuals who practice Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, and Hinduism also experience a great deal of disagreement of the use of capital punishment. Whilst these religions all teach and support the fundamental belief that all life is sacred, they do acknowledge the right of a court to impose capital punishment. 
However, most of these religions believe that in order for the death penalty to be justified, the crime must be extremely heinous and abominable. 

An Overview of Separate Jurisdictions

An Overview of Separate Jurisdictions

The term jurisdiction refers to the authority of a government to preside over criminal cases and deliver justice through investigation, criminal trials, and criminal sentencing. Within the United States, jurisdiction may fall to various different governments and judicial proceedings may be regulated by the laws of different levels of government. 
There are three primary levels of law and Government. They include State governments, the Federal Government, and international laws. When a crime is committed by an individual, a group of individuals, a community, or a foreign government, it must first be determined who has jurisdiction over the case that results. Each level of Government focuses on different types of crimes. It may be impractical for one level of Government to be responsible for maintaining jurisdiction over specific crimes, while it may be reasonable for another level of Government to preside over those cases. There are various different factors that are considered when determining jurisdiction.
Background
Determining jurisdiction is one of the most important aspects of a criminal investigation. In order for an investigation to occur, it must first be determined who has jurisdiction over the case. The term jurisdiction refers to who or what level of Government has the authority to govern a specific case.
Jurisdiction often becomes a point of argument between various authorities. There are a wide range of factors that are taken into account when determining who has jurisdiction over a case. These factors include where the crime was committed, who was involved in the crime, and what types of crimes were committed. Who has jurisdiction over a case may often be very clear and straightforward. 
However, in some cases technicalities may cause disagreements over who should maintain jurisdiction over a case. The authorities that are granted jurisdiction are responsible for presiding over a case. Therefore, a thorough criminal investigation cannot begin until jurisdiction is determined. 
State Law
In the majority of cases, the State Government is responsible for investigating and punishing criminal activities. Most laws are created at a State level. These laws include laws regarding domestic violence, hunting, and traffic laws. The majority of individuals who take part in deviant behavior will be tried in a State court. 
In general, the State maintains jurisdiction over a case if the criminal activity occurred within the State boundaries. Therefore, the State Government will be responsible for collecting evidence, presenting it to a court, and penalizing the offender. 
Each State is required to create its own laws, with limited interference from the Federal Government. Laws will vary a great deal from one State to another. Every State will define activities that it considers to be harmful and illegal, and it will create punishments that it considers to be fitting. Crimes that may be punished severely in one State may be punished much less harshly in another State. 
Federal Law
The Federal Government has limited power in enforcing criminal laws or punishing criminal activity. In most cases, the creation and enforcement of criminal laws is the responsibility of the State. However, the Federal Government has created some necessary Federal laws that must be adhered to by individuals throughout the country. These Federal laws will often influence the laws that each State develops. 
Although the Federal Government has limited power in criminal law cases, the Government may acquire jurisdiction over a case in specific instances. Where the crime took place, who was involved in the criminal activity, and what crimes were committed are all factors that may determine whether or not the Federal Government has jurisdiction over a case. In general, the Federal Government has jurisdiction over cases that involve activity that would be illogical for one State to attempt to investigate and prosecute. A State may also choose to enlist the assistance of the Federal Government in criminal cases. 
International Law
Throughout history, the necessity for an effective method of establishing and enforcing international law becomes more and more evident. International law is extremely difficult to enforce because of State sovereignty. Violating a country’s sovereignty may lead to heated disputes and war.
International law is usually focused on punishing crimes against humanity. These may include a wide variety of activities that are used to humiliate, degrade, torture, and hurt other individuals. In many countries, governments use this type of behavior to instill fear, guarantee loyalty, and obtain confessions or information. The United Nations was established in order to create international law and combat crimes against humanity, though enforcing these laws has often proven to be a difficult task. 
Philosophies have been adopted that allow any country to try and sentence an individual who is guilty of crimes against humanity. New organizations are being developed in order to help create effective methods of trying and administering sentences for individuals who violate international law.

What to Know About Judicial Discretion

What to Know About Judicial Discretion

Under the United States Constitution, a criminal judge has the authority to execute judicial discretion over cases. The Constitution bestows many rights and responsibilities upon criminal judges. By allowing a judge to exercise judicial discretion, the Government is trusting an individual to use their knowledge, intellect, and experience to select proper courses of action and acceptable punishments for convicted criminals. Judicial discretion allows a criminal judge to analyze all aspects and factors related to a specific case in order to determine what type of sentence is warranted and what type of punishment will be most effective.
The Constitution forbids a judge from issuing a sentence that is considered to be exceptionally cruel or unusual. Though judicial discretion allows a judge to fit a sentence to each specific criminal, which may be beneficial, there is a great deal of debate about the use of discretion. Many would argue it is unfair that individuals who are responsible for committing the same crime are treated differently under the law.
Murder is murder no matter who the offender is, and many people argue that individuals who are responsible for taking the life of another person should all be treated the same. However, this is not the case. Some murderers receive the death penalty, some receive life sentences, and others receive life with and without possibility of parole. Likewise, some individuals who are responsible for multiple homicides are handed consecutive life sentences while others are given concurrent life sentences.
There are no strict guidelines that outline the use of these penalties and there are no set rules that govern what murderers will receive life without parole and which ones will receive concurrent life sentences. It is all based on judicial discretion and judge leniency. In recent years, sentencing guidelines have been adopted and minimum sentencing laws have been instituted that put a limit on the amount of discretion that a judge can use when determining a reasonable sentence. In many ways this is beneficial because it helps to stop the use of extremely harsh and severe punishments.
However, it often is detrimental because minimum sentencing laws do not provide a criminal judge with the ability to modify sentences to fit the offender. Therefore, an offender may receive a much more severe punishment than is necessary for their case

Possibility of Parole with a Life Sentence

Possibility of Parole with a Life Sentence

When a criminal is given a life sentence, people generally believe that the convict will spend the rest of their lives behind bars as a result of the criminal activity in which they have participated. However, this is not always the case. In some instances, a criminal will be sentenced to an "indeterminate life sentence."
 
 
Often, the court will announce that a convict must serve "15 years to life." This means that the prisoner will be eligible for parole once they have served fifteen years of their sentence. 

Major Aspects of Property Offenses You Should Know

Major Aspects of Property Offenses You Should Know

Every year, millions of criminal cases involve individuals who have committed property offenses. Unlike personal offenses, property offenses occur when an individual commits an offense against another person’s property. Property offenses may include damage to another individual’s property or belongings. Such offenses may also involve taking objects or items that belong to another individual without obtaining that person’s permission. 
Many people believe that this type of criminal behavior is not as harmful and detrimental as physical offenses. However, property offenses cause a great deal of damage. Often, crimes that begin as property offense escalate and turn into physical offenses. If innocent individuals are present while these crimes are taking place they may sustain extensive physical injury and they may even be killed. Therefore, offenses against property are considered to be extremely serious crimes and they are punished accordingly.
Many criminal cases involve an offender who has taken objects or property that does not belong to him or her. When an individual shoplifts from a store, he or she is taking part in theft. An individual who steals money or objects from a family member or a friend is also taking part in this criminal activity. 
An offender may attempt to take money or personal property by employing the use of violence or force. In cases of these types of property offenses, the perpetrator may not actually use violence, but may threaten force in order to scare the victim into surrendering money or objects. 
In many instances, deadly weapons are utilized during robbery in order to cause fear and submission. Because of the threat that is posed by these dangerous weapons, these property offenses are usually punished more severely then shoplifting, petty theft or burglary. In criminal cases, burglary is one of the common types of property offenses. An individual is responsible for burglary when he or she breaks into a building that is not his or her own. 
The punishment for burglary will vary depending on the building that the offender broke into, as well as the intentions that he or she had for entering the building. In most criminal cases, a perpetrator who breaks into another individual’s home will experience greater penalties then an offender who breaks into an office building. This is especially true if individuals are in the house at the time that the offender broke into their home. 
There are various different property offenses that result in the damage of another individual’s property. In criminal cases, arson is a property crime that generally results in some of the most extensive consequences and punishments. Arson occurs when an offender knowingly sets fire to a building. In many criminal cases, arson accompanies other serious criminal activities. It is often used as a threat or a way to intimidate an enemy. 
In some instances, a perpetrator will use arson as a way to murder an individual and attempt to eliminate him or herself as a suspect. in situations such as this, the perpetrator will often hope that the fire will be deemed electrical so that his or her criminal activities are not discovered. Arson is also often used as a means of committing insurance fraud, and is responsible for billions of dollars worth of damage every year. Individuals who are responsible for arson may face many years in prison as a result of their actions.

The Equal Protection Clause and Punishment

The Equal Protection Clause and Punishment

The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution has proven to be essential and invaluable in the Civil Rights Movement. The Amendment, perhaps best known for the Equal Protection Clause, states that all individuals must be treated equally under the law. It forbids State-run institutions from discriminating based on sex, race, ethnicity, class, or sexual orientation. Therefore, the application of the law by the Government must be equal for all individuals.
 
 
Due to the Equal Protection Clause, a Government or a court cannot favor an individual, a race, or a socioeconomic class. Courts must treat all people the same and must provide all individuals with equal protection. Equal Protection laws often become a point of argument because of the existence of disproportional punishments.

Understanding the Purpose of Punishment

Understanding the Purpose of Punishment

Various aspects of criminal punishment are often at the center of intense debate. The fairness and the righteousness of criminal punishment is often called into question. Many individuals disagree about the purposes of criminal sentencing. While some people believe that convicted criminals should be handed a criminal sentence in order to be punished for their actions, others believe that criminal punishment should only be utilized to keep society safe.
There are many different reasons that have been cited for imposing punishment upon a convict. People often exhibit concern about the possibility of prejudice and discrimination within the criminal justice system. Individuals who question criminal punishment specify numerous different judicial practices that do not guard against discrimination, and in fact, may breed discrimination within criminal cases. As the existence of discrimination within legal proceedings is unconstitutional, these problems must be addressed.
Conflicting Purposes
There are many different reasons that criminals are sentenced to carry out designated punishments. Each of these reasons varies a great deal in purpose and the goal of the punishment. While some purposes of punishment are aimed at benefiting society, others are just aimed at exacting revenge upon an individual who is responsible for harm and destruction. Some criminal punishments are imposed with good intentions and hope for the convict’s future. Other penalties are exacted with cruel or malignant intentions. 
In many instances, the purpose of criminal punishments conflict with each other. This conflict and instability is often at the core of the debate surrounding disproportional punishment and it also allows room for Equal Protection rights to be violated. Different goals require different types of punishments and different levels of severity. This causes a great deal of controversy and argument about the inconstant nature of criminal sentencing and punishments.
Punishment and Equal Protection
Many people in the United States like to believe that all individuals are treated equally and fairly under the law. The Constitution of the United States outlaws the discrimination of any individual by a law officer or judicial official for any reason. However, the arbitrary nature of the judicial system is often the subject of intense debate.
Criminal punishments often seem to vary a great deal from one convicted criminal to another, even if the crimes that both individuals committed were the same. This raises the question of how judges decide upon acceptable punishments for individuals who have violated the law. 
While one individual may be sentenced to a very light punishment, another offender may receive a very severe punishment. Because there are no set punishments for taking part in certain criminal activities, judges have the ability to decide on a punishment for a convicted criminal. Many individuals feel that this leaves too much room for the potential of discrimination.

Compensation
Criminals cost the Government and taxpayers a great deal of time, money, and resources. Financial funds must be provided in order to supply manpower and essential equipment for the apprehension, incarceration, and punishment of individuals who are responsible for violating the law. Court fees and the maintenance of correctional facilities place a great financial burden on states and individuals within the community. Therefore, it is only fair that criminals be required to help pay back the debt that they have caused.
Punishments and penalties have been developed that focus on compensation. During his or her sentence, the criminal may be required to repay his or her debt to society through physical labor and restitution. The tasks that a convicted criminal will be required to take part in may vary a great deal from case to case and from one offender to another. Compensation is only one of the common and important purposes of criminal punishment.

Judicial Discretion 


Background
The Constitution of the United States bestows a great deal of power and responsibility upon a criminal judge. Every case and every defendant is different than the previous case. Each defendant is unique in his or her life history, experiences, beliefs, and morals. A traumatic event that an individual experienced in his or her past may make him or her more likely to take part in certain criminal activities. 
The crime may be a one time, isolated event which the defendant may express a great deal of remorse about having committed. This is very different from a repeat offender who lacks the moral scruples to effectively live in a community in which he or she can become a productive and successful member of society. 
Therefore, many people believe that it is illogical to subject every criminal to the same punishment, even if the crimes that were committed were the same. A criminal judge has the ability to exercise discretion over criminal cases to determine what punishment is warranted.
 
Disproportional Punishments
The United States Constitution gives judges the ability to use their experience, knowledge, and reason to determine the proper course of actions in criminal cases. However, the Constitution also forbids judges from sentencing individuals to penalties that would be considered cruel and unusual punishment.
 
It is easy for a judge to abuse the authority and the power that he or she is given. Judges must preside over cases in which the defendant has committed extremely atrocious crimes, such as assault or sexual battery. The judge may feel that the defendant deserves to spend the rest of his or her life in prison for the crimes that he or she has committed. 
However, the judge must be able to disregard his or her personal opinion of a convict when he or she is exercising judicial discretion. Any sentence must be made under the law and must follow legal precedence. New legislation and guidelines limit the amount of discretion that a judge may employ.

Can Actus Reus Occur in Involuntary Actions?

Can Actus Reus Occur in Involuntary Actions?

One of the most important aspects of actus reus is that the criminal actions that occurred were voluntary. Under criminal laws an individual cannot be convicted of a crime if the illegal behavior was committed involuntarily. If the criminal activities that took place were involuntary, then actus reus did not occur.
Criminal laws recognize actus reus as one of the primary and essential elements of a crime that are necessary to impose criminal liability upon an offender. Without actus reus, a crime was not committed, and therefore, the individual who was responsible for the behavior that is in question cannot be punished for any harm that resulted.
Many people question how criminal activity can be involuntary. When an individual takes part in actions or behaviors, he or she is choosing to do so. However, there are some instances in which an individual may take part in activities over which he or she had no control. Though these occurrences are rare, they do occur. Criminal laws and legal precedents have been established to acknowledge the lack of criminal intent and liability in these cases.
Criminal laws recognize that in rare cases an individual may take part in harmful and detrimental activities without any intent or knowledge of the damage that he or she is causing.

The Separate Jurisdictions of State Law

The Separate Jurisdictions of State LawEach State is responsible for establishing and maintaining State laws. The Federal Government has little or no power over the laws that each State chooses to establish. Every State is responsible for the safety and the security of the people that live within its borders, and they are obligated to create State laws that will help to ensure this safety. 

Which States Disallow the Death Penalty?

Which States Disallow the Death Penalty?

Like all laws, death penalty law varies a great deal from one State to another. Since the establishment of the American colonies, death penalty law has been in place. Throughout the majority of history these laws have been harsh and have allowed for the punishment of minor crimes.
In recent history, death penalty law has become much more scrupulous and rigorous. Individuals can only be sentenced to capital punishment if they are responsible for committing a capital offense. Today, most states’ death penalty laws only allow an individual to be executed if they are convicted of aggravated murder, or in some cases felony murder. However, people against the death penalty have cited numerous problems that continue to exist with capital punishment.
Society can be protected from the threat that is posed by a dangerous criminal effectively if the offender is sentenced to life without parole. Also, capital punishment costs a great deal more than life sentences. Various states began to recognize and acknowledge the problems and complications with capital punishment.
In 1846, Michigan became the first State to abolish the death penalty. It was followed closely by Wisconsin and Maine. In 1911, Minnesota outlawed the use of capital punishment, followed by Hawaii, Alaska, Vermont, Iowa, and West Virginia. North Dakota abolished capital punishment in 1973 and Massachusetts and Rhode Island prohibited the practice in 1984.
The states to abolish the death penalty most recently were New York and New Jersey in 2007, and New Mexico in 2009. When New Mexico eradicated capital punishment, it did not reverse the sentence of capital offenders on death row prior to 2009. Therefore, there are still a few prisoners on death row awaiting execution in New Mexico. 
The District of Columbia also does not practice capital punishment. The efforts of people against the death penalty have convinced numerous states to discontinue the use of capital punishment