Monday, December 20, 2010

Corpus Delecti Amendment

There’s a concept in Common Law called Corpus Delecti which “refers to the principle that it must be proven that a crime has occurred before a person can be convicted of committing the crime.” Famously (and currently incorrectly) it is seen as the requirement to have a body before you can have a murder case (though this used to be literally true).

In a murder case, of course, the body is that of the victim, so if you have a body, you have evidence that there was both an identifiable crime and an identifiable victim. Regrettably, in other crimes, the lack of a victim is seen as no bar to prosecution.

What I’d like to see is a return to our Common Law roots of justice, perhaps with an amendment such as proposed below:

No person shall be, by the United States, or any State or other lesser authority under this Constitution, convicted of a felonious crime or subject to lengthy term of imprisonment or loss of civil rights, or ruinous fine, or a sentence of death, save that it be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in open court that their actions were both criminal in nature and that they were directed at an identifiable and unwilling victim or victims, or that the prosecution prove beyond a reasonable doubt that these actions were the result of felonious criminal neglect or depraved indifference"

This would of course go with my previous suggestion requiring intent, harm, or indifference be proved for a sentence of felonious penalties.

Neither one of which have a Snowflake's chance in the face of “for the children”. For one thing, it’d pretty much do in the War on (disfavored) Drugs, and a whole bunch of felony-level regulatory crimes.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep it civil