CJ105 Criminal Law
April 11, 2010
I will be covering Tennessee??™s statue on making assault a crime. First, I will cover the current state statute for assault. Second, I will cover the crime under historical common law. Third, I will compare how the elements of the crime have changed from the historical common law to the current state statute. Forth, I will discuss the possible changes in the law and the reasons why they have changed. Last, I will be giving some of my suggestions that I think would make the law better.
First, I will cover the current state statute on assault and what guide lines make it up. According to Tennessee criminal law, a person commits assault when they:
??? Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another;
??? Intentionally or knowingly causes another to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury; or
??? Intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative. Tenn. Code Ann. ?§ 39-13-101 (2007).
Assault can fall under several different classes of misdemeanors but in some cases assault can become aggravated. A person commits aggravated assault when they:
??? Intentionally or knowingly commit an assault as defined above and that assault:
(A) Causes serious bodily injury to another; or
(B) Uses or displays a deadly weapon; or
??? Recklessly commits an assault by causing bodily injury to another, and:
(A) Causes serious bodily injury to another; or
(B) Uses or displays a deadly weapon. Tenn. Code Ann. ?§ 39-13-102 (2007).
Aggravated assault is labeled as a felony. Felonies in Tennessee are more severe than misdemeanors. In Tennessee, felonies are scaled from A to E. Class A felonies are the more severe than E felonies.
Second, I will cover the crime under historical common law. Historically, laws treated the threat of physical injury as “assault”, and the completed act of physical contact or offensive touching as “battery,” but many states no longer differentiate between the two. Back in time people didn??™t take simple assault so seriously. A person simply getting into a fight or getting hit by someone meant that individual was going to have to fight. In my opinion there wasn??™t any such thing as simple assault just the major cases like aggravated and sexual assault. In history you will find that it was whatever act was committed to another that same act will be acted on them. In a sense eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. If person committed sexual assault that person might even be sentenced to death. In another case if a person broke someone??™s bone or cut them that same act would be done to them. In the old western days a person would be considered lucky if the family of the person that the crime was committed against didn??™t take action before the law did.
Third, I will compare how the elements of the crime have changed from the historical common law to the current state statute. Today assault has become more in depth because of the society we live in today. These days a person doesn??™t have to commit a physical act to commit assault it can be committed simply by words or body jesters towards another person. I think it has evolved to the way it is today because people today aren??™t as tough as they were in those days and time. Also, people intrepid things differently today differently than they did back then. I think it would be a little too much if it was still eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth. We are more civilized today and have different ways for punishing criminals today, but I would have to say people would think harder before committing a crime if it was still that way. Because of the elements of assault today people tend they can work the system and get away with more criminal acts than they could back then. A lot of people tend to think that all you need to get away with a crime today is a good lawyer or have money. Today we have technology and many different forms of proving when and who committed a particular crime.
Forth, I will discuss the possible changes in the law and the reasons why they have changed. Some changes in the elements of the law have changed because we are constantly finding loop holes in the laws that we have today. Some we don??™t ever recognize these loop holes until a person has committed a crime under these loop holes it is then that we have to make changes in the laws. I think if were to focus more on the more severe forms of the crime than for instance aggravated assault and sexual assault, the ones that fall under a felony charge, we might be able to catch the loop holes and make the proper changes before a person is able to use them to their advantage. The punishments for the misdemeanors I believe are in some cases too harsh. A lot of the changes today I believe are because of the society we live in today. America is full of many different races and we have many different people in this country that are from many different back grounds and religions. When these people are put in the position of power you can only expect changes. Also, some people install changes to gain popularity or simply because they are easily persuaded to make changes to make other people happy.
Last, I will be giving some of my suggestions that I think would make the law better. I think some of the little cases like simple assault should be eliminated for the law books for the simple fact that I feel that there are some cases I think that a man or woman has to fight to handle or resolve a situation. Some cases I feel that is the only way some people will learn their lesson. Some of the historical ways or more so the old way of doing things, as a man, I feel are the best ways of handling things and I don??™t see the harm of doing things in that method. In other cases like aggravated assault I don??™t think the punishment is harsh enough and the elements are picky enough. There is nothing wrong with an old fashioned hand to hand but when a person brings deadly weapons into the equation that is unsatisfactory. Because of the punishment and elements of these crimes some people think they work around them or find a way to decrease the punishment they might face. Especially sexual assault I don??™t even see how we in society today even have pity on the people that commit these crimes. I think that the level or class of felony they fall under should be bumped up to the next degree so that the person that is about to commit such a crime will think more about the consequences before doing so. If these changes were put in place I believe the crime rate in regards to this crime would decrease because of the simple fact that person might think more in depth about what he or she is about to commit and might not want to face the consequences to the crime and be held accountable for their actions.
Tennessee Criminal Lawyer Blog