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Criminal Culpability

Criminal culpability refers to the degree to which individuals are held legally responsible for their conduct and distinguishes between those who are wholly or partially blameworthy and those who are blameless. Criminal culpability is tied to the proportionality principle, which dictates that the harshness of a punishment be commensurate with the severity of the crime. Accordingly, punishment is doled out in consideration of the act the individual committed and the individual’s mental state at the time of the act. For example, regarding the former, individuals who kill someone are punished more severely than are individuals convicted of driving under the influence. Both acts are illegal, but one act (killing) is inherently more harmful than the other (driving while intoxicated). Regarding the latter, individuals who ...

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