Reflection Of Criminal Law: Economic Analysis Of Law

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During the second semester of my first year I took a class called "Economic Analysis of Law". During the course we used basic economic models to explain the rationality of the law as it is shaped in its different branches. The basic premise is that laws are justified if they maximize social welfare. One of the branches of law that we discussed during the course was criminal law. The penalty for a crime must be one that creates the right amount of deterrence. The way to set the right amount is by estimating the benefit a criminal is set to gain from committing the said crime and setting a penalty and likelihood of getting caught that is more damaging to the criminal then what he stands to gain if he commits the crime. Since deterrence is a crucial part of the model, it would seem that it may be redundant or even harmful to punish someone if they committed a crime negligently since it is almost impossible to deter someone from making a mistake. It is argued that punishing a negligent criminal makes it less likely that other people will be negligent. Without discussing weather that is true or not, we are able to see that as a society we are willing to admit that the negligent person didn’t necessarily do something wrong but that regardless we are willing to punish them if it increases social welfare. During my criminal law class we discussed that each crime must consist of too basic concepts, "Mens Rea" and "Actus Reus"- guilty mind and guilty act. In other words, each crime
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