Friday, September 14, 2012

Lambert v. California case brief

 Lambert v. California
    • Section 52.39 of the LA Municipal Code requires convicted persons to register with the city. D was arrested on suspicion of another offense and was charged with a violation of this registration law. Due process requires notice of possible offense, it must be shown that ∆ had knowledge of registration otherwise she can’t be punished for conduct which would be innocent if done by anyone else. Judgment was reversed for ∆.
      • Issue: Is it a violation of Due Process to apply a registration statute to a person who has no knowledge of his duty to register?
      • Rule: Failure to act may not be punishable under a criminal statute unless it’s shown that the ∆ knew or should have known of the duty established by the statute and the penalty for failure to comply w/ statute.
        • The severity lies in the absence of an opportunity to avoid a consequence of the law or to defend any prosecution brought under it
        • Engrained in Due Process is the concept of “notice”. The Const. DEMANDS basic fairness.
      • When you are going to apply criminal liability to the act of NOT doing something and it’s a crime, you must give more notice b/c people are entitled to live their lives (passive)
      • If it is Malum in se, you should have known better, but if it’s Malum Prohibitum, due process, especially notice, is an issue.
      • SL is impermissible whether for an element of the offense of for whether the behavior is criminal whenever the context is so innocuous that the avg. citizen would have no clue the behavior would implicate criminal law
        • Warning must be provided to avg. socialized individual unless SL isn’t permissible
ACTUS REUS- Crime requires conduct… the ∆ must do something

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