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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 43577 Find in a Library
Title: VICTIMLESS CRIMES - THE THRESHOLD QUESTION AND BEYOND
Journal: NOTRE DAME LAWYER  Volume:52  Issue:5  Dated:(JUNE 1977)  Pages:995-1014
Author(s): J F WINTERSCHEID
Corporate Author: Notre Dame Lawyer
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: Notre Dame Lawyer
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: ISSUES SURROUNDING THE RATIONALE AND CONSTITUTIONALITY OF VICTIMLESS CRIME STATUTES ARE EXAMINED.
Abstract: THE 'HARM TO OTHERS' VIEW OF THE PROPER CONNECTION BETWEEN LAW AND MORALS IS A BASIC CONCEPT IN THE CRITICISM OF VICTIMLESS CRIMES. THE DEBATE BETWEEN MORALIST AND UTILITARIAN CONCEPTS OF THE APPROPRIATENESS OF CRIMINAL SANCTIONS RAISES CRITERIA WITH WHICH TO EXAMINE VICTIMLESS CRIMES, FORCING AN INQUIRY INTO PRECISELY WHAT BAD EFFECTS ARE FEARED, FOCUSING ATTENTION ON THE EFFECTS OF SUBJECTING THE CONDUCT IN QUESTION TO CRIMINAL PROHIBITION, AND RAISING THE QUESTION OF THE LIMITS OF PUBLIC POLICY AS DEFINED BY THE CONSTITUTION. THE ANALYSIS SUGGESTS THAT VICTIMLESS CRIME LAWS ACTUALLY CREATE VICTIMS BY FORCING CERTAIN ACTIVITIES TO BE CONDUCTED IN AN ATMOSPHERE CONDUCIVE TO SECONDARY CRIME. FURTHER OBJECTIONS TO VICTIMLESS CRIMES RELATE TO THEIR HIGH COST, I.E., TO THE FINANCIAL AND JUDICIAL BURDENS THEY IMPOSE, THE LOGISTICAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL PROBLEMS OF ENFORCEMENT, AND THE NATURE OF THE LAWS THEMSELVES. QUESTIONS RELATED TO THE LIMITS OF PUBLIC POLICY, THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY, ASPECTS OF CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT, AND THE RIGHT TO TREATMENT GO BEYOND THE WISDOM OF VICTIMLESS CRIME STATUTES TO THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE LAWS. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT VICTIMLESS CRIMES ARE, AT BEST, EXAMPLES OF THE 'OVERREACH' OF CRIMINAL LAW AND ARE, IN MANY RESPECTS, CONSTITUTIONALLY SUSPECT. EXAMPLES OF ALTERNATIVES TO CRIMINALIZATION ARE CITED.
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Jurisprudence; Laws and Statutes; Victimless crimes
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=43577

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