Shorter Penal Code
Advance knowledge of Penal Coding
- The design of enacting this Code is to define in plain language every offense against the laws of this state, and affix to each offense its proper punishment.
- The object of punishment is to suppress crime and reform the offender.
- An offense is an act or omission forbidden by positive law, and to which is annexed, on conviction, any punishment prescribed in this Code
- No person shall be punished for any act or omission, unless the same is made a penal offense, and a penalty is affixed thereto by the written law
- In the construction of this Code each general provision shall be controlled by a special provision on the same subject, if there be a conflict.
- Whenever it appears that a provision of the penal law is so indefinitely framed or of such doubtful construction that it can not be understood, either from the language in which it is expressed, or from some other written law of the state, such penal law shall be regarded as wholly inoperative.
- Whenever a court trying an offense is of opinion that the law is so defective as to have no operation, or when it appears that thjere has been a failure to provide for any offense, or class of offenses, which ought to be made punishable, the judge of such court shall report the same to the legislature at its next session, after such defect or omission shall have been discovered.
- It is also duty of the attorney general to call the attention of the legislature, in his reports which are required by law to be made to the governor, to any defects or omissions in the penal law which he may observe.
- Rule of Construction : This Code, and every other law upon the subject of crime which may be enacted, shall be construed according to the plain import of the language in which it is written, without regard to the distinction usually made between the construction of penal laws and laws upon other subjects; and no person shall be punished for an offense which is not made penal by the plain import of the words of a law .
- If the conflict or repugnancy be so direct that the acts in pari materia cannot stand together, the one last enacted will control . When words used in the statute are free from ambiguity or doubt it is needless to look elsewhere.
- Words which have their meaning specially defined shall be understood in that sense, though it be contrary to their usual meaning; and all words used in this Code, except where a word, term or phrase is specially defined, are to be taken and construed in the sense in which they are understood in common language, taking into consideration the context and subject matter relative to which they are employed. If a particular class is spoken of, followed by general words, the first class mentioned is to be taken as the comprehensive one, and the general words treated as referring to matters ejusdem generis with such class.
- Court has no business on Policy : The courts are not concerned with the policy, expediency, propriety or the wisdom of the law-making power, and will not inquire into such matters.
- Innocence presumed-Every person accused of.an offense shall be presumed to be innocent until his guilt is established to the satisfaction of those whose province it is to try him . The presumption of innocence attends the defendant throughout his trial and until conviction, and can be overcome only by evidence which establishes his guilt to the exclusion of any reasonable doubt. Presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt are different.
- No offence against a law not in force . An offense that was barred by limitation at the time the statute denouncing the act took effect cannot be revived.
- When laws take effect.-No law of the legislature defining an offense, or affixing a penalty thereto, shall take effect until after the expiration of [ninety days] from the day of the general publication in the official gazette, unless the legislature shall otherwise determine. [ This one is general principle]
- Ignorance of law is no excuse, and every person is required, at his peril, to take cognizance of it. But ignorance of fact is a different matter and may be a defense. Local custom cannot supersede a law.
- Effect of modification by subsequent law-When the penalty for an offense is prescribed by one law, and altered by a subsequent law,’the penalty of such second law shall not be inflicted for a breach of the law committed before the second shall have taken effect.
- Repealed laws: The repeal of a law substituting no other penalty, operates to nullify convictions under the repealed statute.
- Change of definition, effect of.-If an offense be defined by one law, and by a subsequent law the definition of the offense is changed, no such change or modification shall take effect as to offenses already committed .
- Definition of terms.-The general terms, “whoever,” “any person,” “any one,” and the relative pronouns, “he,” and “they,” as referring to these terms, include females as well as males, unless there is some express declaration to the contrary. The word “man” is used to signify a male person of any age; and the word “woman” a female person of any age. The use of any word expressive of “relationship,” “state,” “condition,” “office” or “trust,” of any person, as of “parent,” “child,” “ascendant,” “descendant,” “minor,” “infant,” “ward,” “guardian,” or the like, or of the relative pronouns “he” or “they,” in reference thereto, includes both males and females.
- Singular includes plural, and masculine feminine.-The use of the singular number includes the plural, and the plural the singular; and words used in the masculine gender include the femine also, unless, by’reasonable construction, it appears that such was not the intention of the language.
- Person” includes state or any corporation
- Accused” and “defendant” synonymous.-The word “accused” is intended to refer to any person who, in a legal manner, is held to answer for any offense, at any stage of the proceeding, or against whom complaint, in a lawful manner, is made, charging the commission of an offense, including all proceedings from the order for arrest to the final execution of the law; and the word “defendant” is used in the same sense
- Convict” defined-An accused person is termed a “convict” after final condemnation by the highest court of resort which, by law, has jurisdiction of his case, and to which he may have thought proper to appeal.
- Signature” defined-The word “signature” includes the mark of a person unable to write his name. A mark shall have the same effect as a signature, when the name is written by some other person, and the mark made near thereto, by the person unable to write his name.
- The persons punishable under this Code-All persons, whether inhabitants of India or foreign land, are amenable to punishment for offenses which are defined and made punishable under the provisions of this Code.
- Presumption of sanity obtains until the contrary is shown
- Intention presumed-The intention to commit an offense is presumed whenever the means used is such as would ordinarily result in the commission of the forbidden act
- Burden never shifts: Elementary that, in criminal cases, the burden of proof is on
the state and never shifts.
- Burden of proof on defendant, when.-On the trial of any criminal action, when the facts have been proved which constitute the offense, it devolves upon the accused to establish the facts or circumstances on which he relies to excuse or justify the prohibited act or omission .
- In America Felonies and misdemeanors defined-Every offense which is punishable by death or by imprisonment in the penitentiary, either absolutely or as an alternative, is a felony; every other offense is a misdemeanor.
- The punishments incurred for offenses under this Code are-
2. Imprisonment in the penitentiary for life or for a period of time.
2a. Imprisonment in the house of correction and reformatory.
3. political rights under Election Law
5. Pecuniary fines.
- No forfeiture in any criminal case-When a convict is imprisoned in the penitentiary, his property shall be controlled and managed in the manner directed by law; but there shall, in no criminal case, be a forfeiture of property of any kind to the state.
- Death, how inflicted-The punishment of death is inflicted by hanging, as prescribed in the Code of Criminal Procedure.
- Same subject-When an offense is actually committed by one or more persons, but others are present, and, knowing the unlawful intent, aid by acts, or encourage by words or gestures, those actually engaged in the commission of the unlawful act, or who, not being actually present, keep watch so as to prevent the interruption of those engaged in committing the offense, such persons so aiding, encouraging or keeping watch are principal offenders, and may be prosecuted and convicted as such .
- Co-conspirators responsible for all. Each party to a conspiracy to commit a crime
is responsible for the acts of any or all pending the consummation of the common
design and in furtherance thereof.
- Accomplice, who is-An accomplice is one who is not present at the commission of an offense, but who, before the act is done, advises, commands or encourages another to commit the offense; or, Who agrees with the principal offender to aid him in committing the offense, though he may not have given such aid; or, Who promises any reward, favor or other inducement, or threatens any injury in order to procure the commission of the offense; or, Who prepares arms or aid of any kind, prior to the commission of an offense, for the purpose of assisting the principal in the execution of the same. Accomplices shall, in all cases not otherwise expressly provided for, be punished in the same manner as the principal offender.
- Who is an accessory-An accessory is one who, knowing that an offense has been committed, conceals the offender, or gives him any other aid in order that he hay evade an arrest or trial, or the execution of his sentence. But no person who aids an offender in making or preparing his defense at law, or procures him to be bailed, though he afterwards escapes, shall be considered an accessory.
The following persons can not be accessories:
1. The husband or wife of an offender.
2. His relations in the ascending or descending line by consanguinity or
3. His brothers and.sisters.
4. His domestic servants.
Accessories to offenses shall be punished by the infliction of the lowest penalty to which the principal in the offense would be liable.
- Accomplice may be tried before principal-An accomplice may be arrested, tried and punished before the conviction of the principal offender, and the acquittal of the principal shall not bar a prosecution against the accomplice, but, on the trial of an accomplice, the evidence must be such as would have convicted the principal. An accessory may in like manner be tried and punished before the principal, when the latter has escaped; but, if the principal is arrested, he shall be first tried, and, if acquitted, the accessory shall be discharged.
- Co-accused under charge for the same offense cannot testify for each other. A co-defendant who has been acquitted, or been relieved by the dismissal of case against him, is competent to testify for the other . An accomplice examined on an important fact by the state may be cross-examined by the defense.