In the simplest terms, the phrase “crimes are statutory offenses” this means that a particular crime is considered to be a crime only when the particular act or behavior has been defined as a crime by a legislation or statutory act (Huddleston, 2011, pp. 43-44). The congress is responsible for classifying a behavior or an act as a crime and is obliged to write down each element of the crime to be considered as a statutory offence. In determining such a case, we only rely on the existing statutes, the various facts of the case itself and the applicable law under it to determine whether there could be a “prima facie” or “sufficient to establish a fact or case unless disproved showing by the statute” (Webster, M. (2018, January 19).
From the layman’s point of view criminal intent would mean the intention of committing a crime by a person or a group of people. These people are likely to study the situation of victim and plan out their criminal actions to be executed by them. In psychology, the whole processes of planning the crime can be understood under the concepts of the guiding motives. Therefore, criminal intent refers to a guiding motive classified as unlawful by the law itself (Vîlcic?, 2012, pp. 105-107). In order to conclude one’s actions as criminal intent, there must be evidence beyond any reasonable doubt that the accused persons actually wanted to commit a crime.
The constitutional safeguards are a necessary item in any constitution whereby, ordinary citizens are protected from exploitation by the government by ensuring clear separation of papers from each of the branches of government. Without the safeguards, the branches of government would naturally want to expand and override the powers of the two other branches of government. One of the constitutional safeguards is provided in the clear separation of powers between the three arms of government, the executive, judiciary and the legislature, who with different responsibilities can work together to ensure the existence of a democracy (Newswander, 2012, pp. 870-872). A complex system of checks and balances between the three branches and any attempt to increase the powers of one branch leads to a conflict.
A person shall not be tried twice for a crime committed if he or she has already been tried, convicted or acquitted under the circumstances that the case presented have the same criminal charges or facts. This is the principle of double jeopardy where a person is prosecuted for the second tome after he has been charged, tried and convicted for the same case. There are five main considerations in law to prevent double jeopardy including, being to prevent the government from erroneously wearing down a person and finally convict him through employing its superior powers. Secondly, it is aimed at preventing all individuals from suffering the financial, emotional and physical consequences of repeated prosecutions (Blankenship, 2010, p. 279). Third, is to remove any judicial discretion to impose double punishment or cumulative punishments on a person without due consultation with the other arms of government. Fourth, to prevent prosecutorial discretion on individuals in the charging process, and finally, to protect the integrity of criminal proceeding which would be compromised where the government disagrees with unsatisfactory court decisions.
RICO is an abbreviation for the terms Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization, which was a statute that was enacted in 1970 by the congress to combat organized criminal mafia groups. This law outlines the severe punishment to people who willingly engage in a series of crimes or become members of outlawed criminal gangs or organizations in the country (Baldwin, 2010, pp. 408-412). There are both criminal and civil penalties under the RICO act in an effort to dismantle any criminal organizations. Examples of crimes that can be filed under the RICO laws include extortion, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, witness tampering or arson. Financial related crimes such as money laundering, securities violation and counterfeiting as well as fraud can be classified as RICO crimes.