CRIMELegal Dictionary -> CRIME
CRIME. A crime is an offence against a public law. This word, in its most
general signification, comprehends all offences but, in its limited sense, it is confined to felony. 1 Chitty, Gen. Pr. 14. 2. The term misdemeanor includes every offence inferior to felony, but punishable by indictment or by particular prescribed proceedings. 3. The term offence, also, may be considered as, having the same meaning, but is usually, by itself, understood to be a crime not indictable but punishable, summarily, or by the forfeiture of, a penalty. Burn's Just. Misdemeanor. 4. Crimes are defined and punished by statutes and by the common law. Most common law offences are as well known, and as precisely ascertained, as those which are defined by statutes; yet, from the difficulty of exactly defining and describing every act which ought to be punished, the vital and preserving principle has been adopted, that all immoral acts which tend to the prejudice of the community are punishable by courts of justice. 2 Swift's Dig. 5. Crimes are mala in se, or bad in themselves; and these include. all offences against the moral law; or they are mala prohibita, bad because prohibited, as being against sound policy; which, unless prohibited, would be innocent or indifferent. Crimes may be classed into such as affect: 6.-1. Religion and public worship: viz. blasphemy, disturbing public worship. 7.-2. The sovereign power: treason, misprision of treason. 8.-3. The current coin: as counterfeiting or impairing it. 9.-4. Public justice: 1. Bribery of judges or jurors, or receiving the bribe. 2. Perjury. 3. Prison breaking. 4. Rescue. 5. Barratry. 6. Maintenance. 7. Champerty. 8. Compounding felonies. 9. Misprision of felonies. 10. Oppression. 11. Extortion. 12. Suppressing evidence. 13. Negligence or misconduct in inferior officers. 14. Obstructing legal process. 15. Embracery. 10.-5. Public peace. 1. Challenges to fight a duel. 2. Riots, routs and unlawful assemblies. 3. Affrays. 4. Libels. 11.-6. Public trade. 1. Cheats. 2. Forestalling. S. Regrating. 4. Engrossing. 5. Monopolies. 12.-7. Chastity. 1. Sodomy. 2. Adultery. 3. Incest. 4. Bigamy. 5. Fornication. 13.-8. Decency and morality. 1. Public indecency. 2. Drunkenness. 3. Violating the grave. 14.-9. Public police and economy. 1. Common nuisances. 2. Keeping disorderly houses and bawdy houses. 3. Idleness, vagrancy, and beggary. 15.-10. Public. policy. 1. Gambling. 2. Illegal lotteries. 16.-11. Individuals. 1. Homicide, which is justifiable, excusable or felonious. 2. Mayhem. 3. Rape. 4. Poisoning, with intent to murder. 5. Administering drugs to a woman quick with child to cause, miscarriage. 6. Concealing death of bastard child. 7. Assault and battery, which is either simple or with intent to commit some other crime. 8. kidnapping. 9. False imprisonment. 10. Abduction. 17.-12. Private property. 1. Burglary. 2. Arson. 3. Robbery. 4., Forgery. Counterfeiting. 6. Larceny. 7. Receiving stolen goods, knowing them to have been stolen, or theft-bote. 8. Malicious mischief. 18.-13. The public, individuals, or their property, according to the intent of the criminal. 1. Conspiracy.