What rights does the Defendant have and who guarantees these rights?

1. The substantive Criminal Law that defines the rules and procedure as those acts that a society has has declared illegal and has decided to punish a person for transgression thereof. However, the United States Constitution guarantees the accused by what is known as due process. This requires:

a) the existence of a law that prohibits the conduct in question before the violation occurs. What does this mean? How is it applied? Why is this so?

b) a law that is sufficiently certain and clear so that an individual is capable of knowing wnat is permissible and what is illegal. What does this mean? How is it applied? Why is this so?

c) a specifically described penalty that is to be imposed in the event a person is found guilty. What does this mean? How is it applied? Why is this so?

2. Who is the “plaintiff” in a Criminal case? Who might this “plaintiff” be employed by? What rights does the Defendant have? Who guarantees these rights? What are some of these rights? Why do you think that the “plaintiff” is so restricted, and that the accused is so protected? Do you think that accused criminals should have all of this protection?

3. We spoke briefly about the burden of proof in a Criminal case. We determined that tie burden of proof for the prosecution was “to prove that the Defendant was guilty of the crime, based upon credible and legal evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt”. The previous burden used the words “without any doubt whatsoever”, or “beyond the shadow of doubt”. Why do you think that this change was made? What purpose does it serve (if any)?


4. Why do we want to “punish” a criminal? Is it to get them where they can no longer reach us? To rehabilitate them? To allow them to learn a new trade? Or are there some other reasons that you might want to put forward?

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