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. 6ppression. 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. Engross- ing. 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. Violatiug 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.
CRIME AGAINST NATURE. Sodomy. It is a crime not fit to be named; peccatum horribile, inter christianos non nominandum. 4 Bl. Com. 214. See Sodomy.
CRIMEN FALSI, civil law, crime. It is a fraudulent alteration, or forgery, to conceal or alter the truth, to the prejudice of another. This crime may, be committed in three ways, namely: 1. By forgery. 2. By false declarations or false oath, perjury. 3. By acts; as, by dealing with false weights and measures, by altering the current coin, by making false keys, and the like. Vide Dig. 48, 10, 22; Dig. 34, 8 2; Code, lib. 9, t. 22, 1. 2, 5, 9. 11, 16, 17, 23, and 24; Merl. Rep. h. t.; 1 Bro. Civ. Law, 426; 1 Phil. Ev. 26; 2 Stark. Ev. 715.
2. What is understood by this, term in the common law, is not very clearly defined. Peake's Ev. 133; 1 Phil. Ev. 24; 2 Stark. Ev. 715. It extends to forgery, perjury, subornation of perjury, suppression of testimony by bribery, and conspiracy to convict of perjury. See 12 Mod. 209; 2 S. & R. 552; 1 Greenl. Ev. 373; and article Faux.
CRIMINAL. Relating to, or having the character of crime; as, criminal law, criminal conversation, &c. It also signifies a person convicted of a crime.
CRIMINAL CONVERSATION, crim. law. This phrase is usually employed to denote the crime of adultery. It is abbreviated crim. con. Bac. Ab. Marriage, E 2; 4 Blackf. R. 157.
2. The remedy for criminal conversation is, by an action on the case for damages. That the plaintiff connived, or assented to, his wife's infidelity, or that he prostituted her for gain, is a complete answer to the action. See Connivance. But the facts that the wife's character for chastity was bad before the plaintiff married her; that he lived with her after he knew of the criminal intimacy with the defendant; that he had connived at her intimacy with other men;, or that the plaintiff had been false to his wife, only go in mitigation of damages. 4 N. Hamp. R. 501.
3. The wife cannot maintain an action for criminal conversation with her hushand; and for this, among other reasons, because her hushand, who is particeps criminis, must be joined with her as plaintiff.
CRIMINAL LETTERS. An instrument in Scotland, which contains the charges against a person accused of a crime. Criminal letters differ from an indictment, in that the former are not, like an indictment, the mere statement of the prosecutor, but sanctioned by a judge. Burt. Man. Pub. L. 301, 302.
CRIMINALITER. Criminally; opposed to civiliter, civilly.
2. When a person commits a wrong to the injury of another, he is answerable for it civiliter, whatever may have been his intent; but, unless his intent has been unlawful the is not answerable criminaliter. 1 East, 104.
TO CRIMINATE. To accuse of a crime; to admit having committed a crime or misdemeanor.
2. It is a rule, that a witness cannot be compelled to answer any question which has a tendency to expose him to a penalty, or to any kind of punishment, or to a criminal charge. 3 Bouv. Inst. n. 3209-12; 4 St. Tr. 6; 10 How. St. Tr.@ 1096; 6 St. Tr. 649; 16 How. St. Tr. 1149; 2 DougI. R. 593; 2 Ld. Raym. 1088; 24 How. St. Tr. 720; 16 Ves. jr. 242; 2 Swanst. Ch. R. 216; 1 Cranch. R. 144; 2 Yerg. R. 110 5 Day, Rep. 260; I Carr., & Payne, 11 2 Nott & M'C. 13; 6 Cowen, Rep. 254; 2 Peak. N. P. C. 106; 1 John. R. 498; 12 S. & R. 284; 8 Wend. 598.
3. An accomplice, admitted to give evidence against his associates in guilt, is bound to make a full and fair confession of the whole truth respecting the subject-matter of the prosecution; but he is not bound to answer with respect to his share in other offences, in which he was not concerned with the prisoner. 9 Cowen, R. 721, note (a); 2 Carr. & Payne, 411. Vide Disgrace,; Witness;
CRIMINATOIN. The act by which a party accused, is proved to be guilty.
2. It is a rule, founded in common sense, that no one is bound to criminate himself. A witness may refuse to answer a question, when the answer would criminate him, and subject him to punishment. And a party in equity is not bound to answer a bill, when the answer would form a step in the prosecution. Coop. Eq. Pl. 204; Mitf. Eq. Pl. by Jeremy, 194; Story, Eq,. Pl. 591; 14 Ves. 59.


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