Key Concepts: Stare Decisis, Strict Liability Crimes Capstone Cases: Payne V. Tennessee; Lawrence V. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003).

Assignment: In a narrative format for the Complete section, construct one essay which addresses the following points: The minimum requirements for Completes are four (4) scholarly sources including at least one peer reviewed journal article (one published within the last seven years). I expect perfect APA 7th edition technique and a minimum of 1,600 words of content overall, not including the references section.

The narrative essay should clearly define the key concepts of Stare Decisis, Strict Liability Crimes and will apply these principles to the Capstone cases of Payne v. Tennessee; Lawrence v. Texas. Your response will include the overview of the cases and will also need to address each question or statement listed below in an essay format.

  • Pervis Tyrone Payne was convicted by a jury on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of assault with intent to commit murder in the first degree. He was sentenced to death for each of the murders and to 30 years in prison for the assault. The U.S. Supreme Court considers whether the Eighth Amendment bars the admission of victim impact evidence during the penalty phase of a capital trial. As a part of its opinion, the Court discusses the role of the doctrine of stare decisis when resolving current controversies in light of older precedents.
  • What does the Court mean when it says, “Stare decisis is not an inexorable command; rather, it ‘is a principle of policy and not a mechanical formula of adherence to the latest decision’”?
  • What would it mean for the American system of criminal justice if stare decisis actually were an “inexorable command” or “a mechanical formula of adherence to the latest decision”?
  • Should the doctrine of stare decisis apply differently in the highest court of a jurisdiction than in its lower courts?
  • What principles should guide the U.S. Supreme Court in deciding whether to adhere to one of its precedents?
  • Compare the Court’s decision in Payne with its ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003). Why did the Court follow precedent in Payne, but reverse it in Lawrence?
  • Research how the changes in January 2017 to the Clean Water Act affected criminal prosecutions for pollution of the water? What are your thoughts?
  • Statutory rape is a strict liability crime in many jurisdictions. Under this statutory approach, a defendant does not have to intend to have sex with a minor to commit the crime. Even more, evidence that the victim appeared to be an adult or that the defendant was misled by the victim about his or her age are not defenses to the crime. Consider whether fairness (due process) or some other constitutional provision is violated by a strict liability statutory rape statute.
  • Book: Criminal Law Today sixth edition
  •            Frank Schmalleger
  •            Daniel E. Hall