Explain to me the operation of US criminal law.
November 10, 2012 10:01 AM Subscribe
Can you give me examples of varying criminal laws across the different states that comprise the USA? Can the federal government ensure consistency?
posted by modernnomad to Law & Government (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
In Canada, where I am legally trained, the criminal laws are implemented federally through the Criminal Code. My understanding of the American system is that each state has its own criminal law, though many may make reference to the Model Penal Code. In practice, are there significant differences in the criminal laws between states? Can you give me examples? This question was spurred by reading about the state-level efforts to 'decriminalize' marijuana usage in the recent election. This is fascinating to me since in Canada, no such variance could occur at the provincial level. What response -- if any -- could the US federal government bring against a state that had a criminal code completely out of step with the rest of the country? Feel free to get into any and all constitutional law nerdery in your answers.