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Learning Resources


Please read the following Learning Resources before you complete this week’s assignments.




Course Text: Schmalleger, F. (2016). Criminal justice: A Brief introduction (11th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson Education Inc. 


Chapter 1, “What Is Criminal Justice?” (for review)


Chapter 3, “Criminal Law”


Optional Resources




Online Article: U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2004). The justice system: What is the sequence of events in the criminal justice system? Retrieved from http://ag.ca.gov/cjsc/publications/misc/cinc/BJSflowchrtFColor.pdf




Discussion Question:


Criminal justice is concerned with controlling crime and keeping citizens safe. As you saw when reading about its history, types of crime and their prevalence have varied over the years. However, in the United States, there currently are certain features that are shared by acts that are considered to be crimes. These features comprise the “legal essence” of the concept of crime itself. There is some debate, however, over the number of features—three or eight—that constitutes the essence of a crime. As you move forward through a study of the components of the criminal justice system, you need to understand the types of crimes that are addressed by the police, courts, and corrections, as well as what must be present for a perpetrator to be accused of committing a crime.

To prepare for this Discussion:


Review Chapter 3 in your course text, Criminal Justice: A Brief Introduction, focusing on the three general features of crime.


Using the Internet, find a major city newspaper and pick a story on a recent crime, one in which the suspect demonstrates all three elements of a crime: mens rea, actus reus, and concurrence. Think about what category of crime has been committed.


Return to Chapter 3 in your course text, this time focusing on the five other features of crime, which are debated by legal scholars.


Consider which, if any, of those five elements of crime are contained within the crime you selected.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post by Day 4 a brief description of the crime you selected. Using facts of the crime, explain how the suspect demonstrated all three elements of crime (mens rea, actus reus, and concurrence) that could result in his or her conviction. Then explain which of the other five elements of crime, if any, the crime contains. Be specific.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.

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