These are the materials you will need for this course.
· Walker, Samuel & Katz, Charles, The Police In America, An Introduction, 9th Edition, McGraw Hill
1. Discuss the ‘four reasons the public calls the police in situations NOT involving crime.’
2. According to the text, “the police use two primary strategies to reduce drug use: supply reduction and demand reduction.” Discuss ‘how recent legislation medicalizing and legalizing marijuana will impact these strategies.’
3. If you were the Chief of Police, what steps would you take, if any, to address racial profiling in your agency? Would you have a policy concerning racial profiling? What would you include in the policy?
4. According to the text, there are both ‘grass eaters’ and ‘meat eaters’ (terms to describe police officers involved in police corruption). Which of the two do you think cause the greatest harm to the community? Why?
The book for this course is Criminal-Law-OER.pdf
A. The criminal law is designed to punish bad, voluntary acts and intentions committed by a person. The purpose of criminal law is to protect society from harm. There U.S. Constitution places limitations on what behaviors and actions can be criminalized. Chapter 4 of the OER discusses a person’s “status” and whether or not a person’s status can be a crime.
1. Define “Status” as discussed in the chapter 4 of the OER. What is the difference be a person’s status and a person’s acts?
2. What does the U.S. Constitution say about punishing an individual based on their status of being a drug addict? An alcoholic?
3. Is it constitutional to criminalize being a drug addict, if the drug to which a person is addicted, is illegal to possess? Should it be? Explain your answer.
4. If drug addiction is harmful to society in general, can the law force addicts into treatment programs against their consent? Do you think this is a good idea? Explain why or why not.
5. If a person doesn’t take care of their children because they are addicted to methamphetamine, can the person be criminally charged? With what?
6. If an individual has a deadly virus are there circumstances in which the person’s status of being “infected” can be a crime? Can the person be confined against their will? Should they be?
B. Tale of Two Men – It September 12th, 2001…..
1.Bob is a hard-working guy who lives in Smallville, USA. Bob is getting ready for work one day and listening to the national news at the same time. He hears a report from the director of the FBI that Osama Bin Laden is now in the United States and is hiding out somewhere near Smallville, USA. The FBI director advised the people of Smallville to be on the lookout for Bin Laden, that he is armed and dangerous and is planning a terrorist attack. The FBI director said they have intelligence information that Bin Laden was spotted in a brown Pontiac 2 door vehicle and had vowed to blow up an innocent person’s house as a show of his power in the USA. Bob looks out the window of his house as this news report is still happening. Bob has been watching the news for the last 24 hours because of the attack on the World Trade Centers in New York, and Osama Bin Laden was reported to be responsible for those attacks. Bob sees a brown 2 door Pontiac pull up in front of his neighbor’s house. An Arab man with a long beard gets out of the car carrying a large black package and begins walking up to his neighbor’s door. Bob realizes this man is Osama Bin Laden and he fears he is going to blow up his neighbor’s house. He grabs his gun and runs out the front door. He yells at the man firing his gun at the same time. Bob kills the man. His neighbor comes running out of the house as Bob is walking up to the man. His neighbor asked Bob what he had done. Bob said, “I just killed Osama Bin Laden! He was going to blow up your house!” Bob’s neighbor then said, “That’s not Osama Bin Laden! That is the pizza delivery man and that is the pizza I just ordered! Bob looked down and could see the Pizza Hut logo on the man’s shirt and could see a corner of the pizza box sticking out of the large black package. The man he killed was not Osama Bin Laden.
2.John is not a hard-working guy. John also lives in Smallville. John has been in trouble his entire life and has been arrested many times. John was sitting at his house the same day the FBI warned the public that Osama Bin Laden was in the area. John did not hear this warning because his electricity had been shut off the week before. John called the electric company (Superior Energy) and after they refused to turn his electricity back on, he threatened to kill someone from Superior Energy. John was angry and bitter at Superior Energy. John told his friends and family he would get revenge against Superior Energy. John is sitting on his couch with a gun in his hand plotting his revenge and trying to figure out what he is going to do to Superior Energy. While John is sitting on the couch, he notices a Superior Energy electric company truck pull up in front the elementary school next to his house. The two men in the Superior Energy truck get out and begin unloading some equipment. John sees this as his opportunity to teach Superior Energy a lesson. He runs out his door and shoots both men while screaming obscenities at them and cursing Superior Energy. The neighbors and teachers at the school witness this and call the police. When the police arrive, John gives up and admits he killed the men. The police quickly realize that the two men John killed were not Superior Energy workers. One of the men was Osama Bin Laden and the other man was one of Bin Laden’s top men – also wanted by the FBI. The police also found plastic explosives in the bags the men were carrying and blueprints of the elementary school. Later the police found the two Superior Energy workers that Osama had killed so that he could steal the Superior Energy truck and uniforms from the dead men.
1. What is more important when determining criminal culpability – the intent or the outcome? Explain.
2. Would you charge either of these men with a crime? What crime? Do the elements fit your charge using the Texas Penal Code?
3. Is it possible to have good intentions but a bad outcome? Did that happen with either man? Explain.
4. Is it possible to have bad intentions but a good outcome? Did that happen with either man? Explain.
5. If Osama Bin Laden were not killed by John, could he be charged with the death of the pizza driver? Explain.
Suggested Sections of the Texas Penal Code for Guidance
SEC. 2 .02. Exception
SEC. 2.03. Defense
S EC. 2.04. Affirmative Defense
SEC. 6.02. Requirement of Culpability
SEC. 6.03. Definitions of Culpable Mental States
Sec. 7.02. Criminal Responsibility for Conduct of Another
SEC. 8.02 Mistake of Fact
SEC. 9.32. Deadly Force in Defense of a Person
SEC. 9.33. Defense of Third Person
C. John wanted to rob a bank. John decided to recruit four people to help him commit the crime and agreed to pay all of them $1,000 dollars each. John recruited Frank, Bob, Scott, and David to help him commit the bank robbery. None of the men John recruited knew each other but they were aware John was getting help from other men. All of the men were paid in advance before the robbery was committed. Frank purchased a gun for John for him to rob the bank. Bob stole a car to be used as the getaway car and would drive John away when the robbery was completed. Scott cut the power to the bank several minutes before the robbery. David was called in a false alarm for a robbery, in order to distract the police, at a bank on the opposite side of the city as the bank John was going to rob, one minute before the actual robbery.
Use what you learned from chapter 8 of the OER and from Sec. 15.02 of the Texas Penal Code to discuss the following questions.
1. Which of the men can be charged with Conspiracy to commit robbery?
2. Does the fact that the men don’t know each other provide a defense for any of them?
3. I John is capture inside the bank while trying to commit the robbery, can the other men be charged with any crime? What crime?
4. What happens to David if he does not go through with his assignment on the day of the robbery? Does David’s refusal to call in the false alarm absolve him from criminal prosecution?
5. If John robbed the bank, what level of offense could each of them men be charged with?
6. If John robbed the bank, could they all be charged with two separate offense? What offenses?
The book for this course is Criminal-Law-OER.pdf
Rape is a serious crime. Some states do not use the term “rape” to define the crime. In Texas, the term “Sexual Assault” has the same meaning as rape. Review chapter 10 of the OER and chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code.
1. Define “Statutory Rape” as described in Chapter 10 of the OER.
2. What specific section defines statutory rape in the Texas Penal Code?
3. What is the definition of a “child” for purposes of the offense of “statutory rape” in Texas.
4. For statutory rape, does the age of the suspect affect whether or not an offense has been committed? Explain.
5. If to two children, male and female and both age 15, have sex with each other, have either of them committed a crime in Texas? Which one?
6. Is it possible for a female adult suspect to commit statutory rape of a male victim who is defined as a child?
7. Do males and females receive different punishment for statutory rape?
8. Does society view females who have sex with male children differently that males who have sex with female children? Explain.
Prostitution is often considered a victimless crime, meaning there is no immediate identifiable victim. Prostitution is illegal in ever state except one. Even though prostitution is legal in Nevada, it is illegal in Las Vegas. Prostitution offenses are located in Chapter 43 of the Texas Penal Code. Review the Texas Penal Code and Chapter 12 of the OER to answer the following questions.
1. What is the least serious penalty for prostitution in Texas and what is the specific section?
2. What is the most serious penalty for prostitution in Texas and what is the specific section?
3. Is prostitution a purely victimless crime? Justify your answer.
4. Should prostitution be legalized? Why or why not?
5. In places where prostitution is legal, why do people still get arrested for prostitution?
6. Does legalizing prostitution do away with illegal prostitution? Why or why not?
7. Is everyone who engages in prostitution doing it voluntarily?
8. Is prostitution connected to other crimes? What crimes?
The book for this course is Criminal-Law-OER.pdf
Killeen Texas, May 1st, 2020.
Sam likes to smoke crack and his addiction and related lifestyle has made him vulnerable to being a victim of crimes. On May 1st, 2020, Sam was smoking crack at his house located at 123 Elm St. Killeen, Texas. Sam was sitting on his couch. His front door was open but the screen door was closed. Sam invited Brad over to his house to watch the football game and smoke crack with him. Brad came over and he and Sam sat on the couch watching the game. When Sam got up to go use the bathroom, Brad removed $40 out of Sam’s wallet which was sitting on the coffee table. Brad placed the money in his sock before Sam came back into the living room.
While Sam and Brad continued watching the game in the living room, Cliff jumped the fence into Sam’s backyard and opened a bedroom window at the rear of Sam’s house. Cliff climbed through the window and picked up Sam’s MP3 player from beside his bed. Brad heard a noise coming from the bedroom and looked over his shoulder and saw Cliff putting Sam’s MP3 player down his pants. Brad yelled, “Cliff is stealing your stuff!” Cliff climbed back out the window but his pants came off and fell on the floor along with Sam’s MP3 player. Cliff ran away without his pants and the MP3 player.
Just as Cliff ran away, Sam and Brad hear yelling coming from the front yard of Sam’s house. They both walked into the living room and looked out the front door. Scott is standing in the front yard yelling at Sam saying Sam owes him 40 dollars. Sam tells Scott he has the money he owes him but when Sam looks in his wallet there is no money in there because Brad stole the money earlier when Sam was in the bathroom. Sam suspects Brad took the money from the look on Brad’s face. Outraged that Sam still doesn’t have his money after promising him earlier, Scott throws the screen door open, enters Sam’s living room, and punches Sam in the nose. Scott then yells at Sam, “That’s for lying to me you son of bitch!” Scott then runs out the door and down the street.
Sam’s nose is bleeding so he walks into his kitchen to get some ice. When Sam enters his kitchen he sees a man passed out on the kitchen floor. It is Jon who is sleeping on the kitchen floor. Sam recognizes Jon as a guy who lives in the neighborhood and who frequently gets drunk and enters random neighbor’s houses without permission because he is too drunk to distinguish their house from his own.
By this time Sam has had enough and calls 911. Sam calls 911 and police are given a description of all of the suspects and are dispatched to Sam’s house. Police know all of the suspects from previous encounters so they are able to quickly detain everyone, including Brad who is still in Sam’s living room, Jon who is still passed out on the kitchen floor, and Cliff and Scott who were fighting each other down the street from Sam’s house when police responded to the neighborhood. Cliff is still not wearing pants.
There is some disagreement with officers of the Killeen Police Department, over what offenses were committed against Sam. Your job is to determine what crime each man committed against Sam. For each suspect (Brad, Cliff, Jon, and Scott) list the crime including the specific section number in the Texas Penal Code. What are the elements for each offense? What is the penalty for each offense? Also refer to Chapter 11 of the OER, Crimes Against Property for guidance.