Crimes Against Property, Persons, and Public Order
Crimes are acts or omissions that violate laws as stipulated in constitutions of various legal jurisdictions. Different countries, states, or other legal jurisdictions define and classify crimes differently based on their constitutions. Although crime entails violation of the law, not all acts or omissions that violate the law amount to crime. Therefore, due to variability and subjectivity of crimes from one legal jurisdiction to another, various constitutions define and classify crimes differently. Criminal justice system of the United States has great mandate of enforcing criminal law by arresting, prosecuting, and correcting criminals to maintain law and order in the society. According to Arnold (2008), for the criminal justice system to convict a suspect for committing certain crime, it must prove beyond reasonable doubt the existence of both actus reusandmens reaas elements of crime (p.10).Actus reusis an element of crime that proves if a suspect had any premeditated action and guilty of conscience to commit certain crime, whilemens reais an element that verifies if an act or omission violates the law. This essay examines forgery, assault and battery, and disorderly conduct as crimes against property, persons and public order respectively.
Crimes against Property
Crimes against property are offences that deprive ownership rights of property or destroy property against owners consent. Forgery, robbery, embezzlement and extortion are examples of crimes that deprive ownership rights while vandalism and arson are crimes that destroy individuals property. Forgery is one of the crimes against property that involves depriving ones property by using fraudulence means. According to Belbow (2005), criminal statute of Texas stipulates that, it is an offense if a person forges writing with intent to defraud or harm another (p.140). Forging constitutes alteration of writings or authentication of false documents with intention of defrauding ones property. One can intentionally defraud a person by using fake financial documents such as cheques, money, bills, invoices, receipts and others. Since the documents deem to be legally valid, criminals use them to deprive people their property. Therefore, forgery fits into classification of crimes against property because it entails deprivation of property through fraudulent means.
An example of crime against property is a case where a company defrauded an insurance company millions of dollars through compensation. The company has been neglecting repair and maintenance of electronic equipments for a period of five years now. Due to cumulative damages that cost millions of dollars, the company management found it too high to repair, and thus plotted to defraud an insurance company. The company filed a claim with the insurance company that during thunderstorms, lightening struck and short-circuited all the electronic equipments damaging them beyond repair. Furthermore, the company destroyed underground cables to justify their claim and cooperated with the insurance assessors to inflate compensation claims so that they could defraud the insurance company millions of dollars. In this case scenario, the companys management is guilty of committing crime against property by acting inactus reusandmens rea. Barker (2009) argues that, insurance companies and banks lose billions of dollars each year due to cases of fraudulence (p.5). Defrauding insurance company was inactus reusbecause the companys management premeditated to defraud the insurance company by filing a forged claim. Moreover, the companys action wasmens era forit violated not only insurance policy, but also law that covers crimes against property.
Crimes against Persons
Crimes against persons are crimes that violate individual rights to life or freedom. These crimes include murder, child abuse, rape, assault and battery amongst other related crimes. Assault and battery is one of the crimes against persons because it entails violent threats and physical acts directed at someone respectively. Smith (2009) states that, an assault is an attempt to commit a battery upon another person orany unlawful act, threat, or menacing conduct which causes another person to reasonably believe that he or she is in danger of receiving an immediate battery (p.5). Thus, a violent threat of an impending battery constitutes assault. Moreover, battery is physical act that can cause harm or has potential to cause reasonable harm to a probable victim. In this instance, assault and battery are crimes against persons as they involve intentions and actions aimed at harming others in the society.
For instance, assault and battery usually involves domestic violence where a husband beats his wife due to family issues. A certain family has been experiencing quarrels due to disagreements in formulation of family budget since the husband and wife had different priorities. One day, the husband arrived home late in the night with great fury and beat his wife. Seeing his fury, the wife decided to run away from home and sought refuge in the neighbouring family though she had suffered some injuries. The following morning, the wife came back home very early in the morning thinking that her husband had cooled only to find that he was actually waiting for her with a sword, ready to inflict more harm or even kill her. He threatened to kill her and ran after her across the neighbourhood where she screamed and attracted many people who came to her rescue. From this incident, the husband is guilty of committing assault and battery because his actions qualify bothactus reusandmens rea. In terms ofactus reus, the husband planned to batter his wife for they had quarrelled before and furthermore he waited to kill her throughout the night after she had ran away. In addition, his actions weremens reasince both the assault and battery were in violation of her rights to life and freedom.
Crimes against Public Order
Crimes against public order are crimes that harass public or cause undue tension in the society. These crimes include incitement, false alarms, and disorderly conduct amongst others. Disorderly conduct is a crime against public order for it disturbs peaceful coexistence of people or peaceful atmosphere of society that gives people sense of safety and assurance of life. According to Davis (2010), Ohio penal code states that, no person shall recklessly cause inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to another by engaging in behaviours such as fighting, making noise, insulting others, hindering movement of public and creating offensive scenarios in the public (p. 87). The degree of disorderly conduct varies from place to place depending on whether the conduct occurs in presence of police officers, in learning institutions, in political rallies, or as an obstruction of emergency personnel. Moreover, the degree of disorderly conduct depends on persistency of offenders in spite of several warnings from authority. Since disorderly conduct involves fighting, provoking violence, noises, and obstruction of public, it is a crime against public order.