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  1. Introduction
  2. Written sources of American criminal law
  3. Describing criminal harm
  4. The functions of criminal law
  5. Responsibility and its role in criminal law
  6. The criminal defense of justification
  7. Safeguarding the constitutional rights
  8. Conclusion

There are four sources of American criminal law. The four sources have been codified. They have been put in writing and made accessible for all. The first of four sources is the U.S. Constitution. ?The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. As such, it is the basis of all law in the United States. Any law that violates the Constitution, as ultimately determined by the United States Supreme Court, will be declared unconstitutional and will not be enforced.? (Gaines, 2006) Following constitutional law is the statutory law. Statutory laws have been crafted by a variety of groups which includes the federal, state, and local governments. The U.S. congress enacts the federal statutes and applies to all of the states. Whereas state statutes apply only within the state's boarders and city statutes are only applicable where they were enacted.

The ?third source of American criminal law consists of administrative law?the rules, orders, and decisions of regulatory agencies. A regulatory agency is a federal, state, or local government agency established to perform a specific function.? (Gaines, 2006) Last are the case law and common law doctrines. This source is considered judge-made law. The common law that are provisions made by the judges also ?governs all areas not covered by statutory law (or agency regulations issued to implement various statutes).? (Gaines, 2006)

[...] Self-defense with nondeadly force can also be used to protect one's home or dwelling. However, if a person has reasonable belief that they are in a situation that will end in their own death, deadly force can be justifiable. Deadly force can be justified the attacker is using unlawful force (an example of lawful force is that exerted by a police officer), if the defender has not initiated or provoked the attack, and if there is no other possible response or alternative way out of the life-threatening situation.? (Gaines, 2006) Safeguarding the Constitutional Rights Amendments made to the constitution are known as the Bill of Rights. [...]


[...] This source is considered judge-made law. The common law that are provisions made by the judges also ?governs all areas not covered by statutory law (or agency regulations issued to implement various statutes).? (Gaines, 2006) Describing Criminal Harm The phrase criminal harm can be listed under two separate categories. The first category includes someone or something that is destructive to other individual citizens. This includes, but is not limited to, an ?individual citizens' physical safety and property, such as the harm caused by murder, theft, or arson.? (Gaines, 2006) The second category for criminal harm would be damage caused to society's interests. [...]

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