Crime in the United States
March 28, 2011
There are many different types of crimes committed every second. Crime is a wrong against society or public interest (Davenport, 2009). The fundamental composition of society is its members. This is why crime directed at the health, life, or liberty of any member of society is considered by most people, and the law, to be the most heinous species of criminal activity possible. These types of crimes would include murder and violence.
Whether the person is committing a crime or a victim of a crime the question is often asked, what is a crime? “A crime is a wrong against society or the public interest,” (Davenport, 2009, p.38). The ones responsible for deciding if a crime has been committed is the state. To determine if a crime has been committed, the state relies on a concept called corpus delicti, or the “body of the crime,” (Davenport, 2009, p.38). There must be two elements present when determining the corpus delicti. “One of the elements is a result or harm and the other is the harm must result from someone’s criminal act,” (Davenport, 2009, p.38).
When a crime has been committed the state must prove this beyond a reasonable doubt. They do not have to have a suspect or an explanation of the crime but, the state must show a crime has taken place (Davenport, 2009, p.38). Once the state has proven a crime has been committed they look to the elements of the crime.
There are generally three elements of a crime. They are “wrongful action or actus reus, wrongful mind or mens rea, and resulting damage or harm,” (Davenport, 2009, p.40). The element actus reus is the action that causes the harm and it must be voluntary (Davenport, 2009, p.44). This means just because I think about killing my neighbor’s noisy chickens does not mean
I am committing a crime, as my thought does not cause harm. “Mens rea is a person’s intent while performing a criminal act,” (Davenport, 2009, p.40)....