Youth Justice in America, Second Edition engages students in an exciting, informed discussion of the U.S. juvenile justice system and fills a pressing need to make legal issues personally meaningful to young people. Written in a straightforward style, the book addresses tough, important issues that directly affect today’s youth, including the rights of accused juveniles, search and seizure, self-incrimination and confession, right to appeal, and the death penalty for juveniles. Focusing on cases that relate to the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the subject matter comes alive through a wide variety of in-book learning aids.
Chapter 2: What Is Crime?
What Is Crime?
In repressive societies, government leaders continually invent new variations on what are considered crimes and never fail to find ways to punish “enemies of the state.” People living in such societies have to assume that if something is not specifically authorized by government, it is forbidden and criminal. The criminal law creates a regime of fear.
In free societies, the reverse is true: If something is not specifically outlawed by government, then the people can assume that it is allowed. No action is a crime except if it is defined that way explicitly by law, and no one is punished unless he has committed a crime. This is the theory of crime and punishment in a liberal state.
So who defines ...