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North Carolina's Criminal Justice Process - Essay Example

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The fundamental problem facing any society is how to control the actions of individuals that threaten the life, liberty, and property of other individuals as well as society’s collective interests of order, peace, decency and safety. Law is a formal means of achieving social…
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North Carolinas Criminal Justice Process
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Download file to see previous pages This principle is expressed in the maxim ‘Nullen Crimen, Nulla Poena, Sine Lege’, a Latin phrase which means ‘there is no crime, there is no punishment, without law’ (Schebb, 1999).
Criminal law distinguishes between serious crimes, known as felonies, and less serious offenses, called misdemeanors. Generally speaking, felonies are offenses for which the offender can be imprisoned for more than one year. Common examples of felonies include murder, rape, kidnapping, arson, assault with a deadly weapon, robbery and grand larceny (Mitchell 2008).
The common law developed a doctrine where an accused is engaged in the commission of a felony and a homicide occurs, the felonious act is regarded as a substitute for the proof of malice aforethought required finding the defendant guilty of murder. Thus, it becomes felony murder where an accused unintentionally killed a human being while committing or attempting to commit, such common-law felonies as burglary, arson, rape, or robbery. The theory is that if a killing resulted, even though unintentional or accidental, the required malice is carried over from the original felony. Consequently, the felon would be found guilty of murder (Schebb, 1999).
Although of dubious ancestry, the felony murder doctrine has been incorporated into most criminal codes in the United States even in North Carolina (Hall, 2000). With the proliferation of crimes classified as felonies, legislatures have generally limited its applicability to felonies, involving violence or posing great threat to life or limb. Felony murder statutes have produced much litigation in the criminal courts (Hall, 2000). Some of the question raised include-can a felon ho perpetrate an offense be guilty of felony murder where the victim of the intended offense kills a co-felon or -should the felon committing a crime such as robbery be guilty of felony murder if a police officer mistakenly kills the felon’s intended victim? And -can a felon be guilty of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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