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Question 1.

Compare and contrast common law burglary to modern law burglary.

Question 2.

Discuss the jurisdiction problems of cybercrime.
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Criminal Law (Justice Series)
Edition: 2nd
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Answer 1

Burglary, like criminal trespassing, is concerned with property invasion. It is different from trespassing, however, because burglary typically adds to the invasion the intent to commit a felony. At common law, the elements of burglary were as follows: 1. Breaking and entering; 2. Of the dwelling of another; 3. During the nighttime; 4. With intent to commit a felony inside. Breaking and entering is akin to trespassing. "Breaking" meant forcible entry, but simple "entering" also sufficed, say, if the front door was unlocked. Also, like trespassing, "breaking and entering" assumes the person doing it does not have the owner's consent. Next, common law burglary was limited to dwellings—particularly "others'" dwellings. This meant (and still means today) that a person could not burglarize his or her own dwelling. Next, burglary was defined at common law as a crime that was committed at night. Finally, common law burglary required that the intent to commit a felony was in place at the time of the breaking and entering. So, if a person forcibly entered the dwelling of another at night but had no intent to commit a felony inside, a burglary did not occur. Modern burglary statutes retain most of the common law elements, but the nighttime requirement has been largely abandoned. Since burglaries are largely crimes of opportunity, they often occur during the daytime when people are not home, so it is sensible to relax the nighttime requirement. Several states have also eased up on both the "dwelling" and "intent to commit a felony" requirements. With respect to the former, many structures besides dwellings can now be burglarized. Likewise, many statutes permit burglary convictions if the defendant intends to commit a "crime," which of course includes felonies and misdemeanors.

Answer 2

Crimes committed without the assistance of computers usually have clear jurisdictional boundaries. This is at least true for the traditional types of serious crime with which we are most familiar—homicide, rape, robbery, and so on. Certain offenses, such as kidnapping, can cross jurisdictional boundaries, adding an interstate flavor and therefore complicating prosecution. Jurisdiction over cybercrime offenses is complicated, making it difficult for the government to enforce applicable laws. Clearly, a number of jurisdictional questions can arise. This is an area of continual development in the law, too. In the United States alone, there is a bewildering array of federal and state legislation that can be used to target cybercriminals. In general, however, if the federal government (or its interests) is the victim, federal prosecution is in order. If a state is the victim, then a state prosecution will likely occur. And if the victim is an individual, then, depending on the conduct in question, the prosecution may occur at either the state or the federal level.
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