The Main Sources of Criminal Law

The purposes of criminal punishment were intended to send direct signals (not mixed signals) to those participating in random acts of terror and all other crimes to understand that these acts along with crime of any kind will not be tolerated. As we learned under the retribution side to criminal punishment, there was a passage that related to biblical Old Testament scripture referring to and “eye for an eye” and “tooth for tooth” (Samaha, 2011, p.22, Leviticus 24: 19-20). Penalties of this kind are unheard of and would never be considered as “just” punishment in the United States. In fact by definition, we would define punishment as a means of pain and suffering inflicted upon another person (Samaha, 2011, p.22).

Burden of proof simply means that the prosecution has the pressure applied to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. According to the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, “no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” This simply means that by law, the prosecutor is not allowed to call defendants to the witness stand in criminal trials. Furthermore, it bars the prosecutor from statements that regard the defendant’s right to make a statement permitting the defendant to be able to ask the court to clear the jury on the grounds of guilt. (Samaha, 2012, p.456).

In proof beyond a reasonable doubt, defendants are not allowed to prove whether or not they are innocent. The right against self-incrimination grants the defendant the right to remain silent and it not count against them. This would also be referred to as the reasonable doubt standard, which would require for the government to carry the full and complete burden of proving the defendant guilty. THE MAIN SOURCES OF CRIMINAL LAW3

It would be up to the defendant in a criminal trial to prove what we would refer to as an affirmative defense. Another key term to use here would be entrapment. The standard of proof in an affirmative defense would be for the defense to introduce credible evidence proving the entrapment beyond a reasonable doubt; otherwise the burden shifts to the prosecutor’s burden to prove. Indeterminate sentencing laws are statues that center on rehabilitation as a solution to suit the offender.

Law makers have the authority to produce legislation that would award any such punishments that would tailor towards the offense (crime); whereas judges, parole officers, probation officials, and jurors would possess the authority to create the punishments that would suit the offender (criminal).


Samaha, Joel (2012) Criminal Procedure (8th edition) Wadsworth, Belmont, CA Samaha, Joel (2011) Criminal Law (10th edition) Wadsworth, Belmont, CA