BCC Criminal Justice Discussi

The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is not always clear-cut from state to state. For example, a traffic violation, domestic violence, simple assault, drug possession, prostitution, theft, tress pass and vandalism are all crimes that could be considered a misdemeanor offense in one state and a felony in another.

In general, it is fair to say that a misdemeanor can be defined by the maximum length of time a person can be incarcerated for the crime, usually no more than one year. Crimes with a minimum jail time of over a year are usually felonies. Moreover, one can say that any crime not a felony, is by nature a misdemeanor. Of course, a felony conviction causes more serious long term consequences for an offender.

The reason states vary is because the author’s of the U.S. Constitution had to permit states to retain significant authority over their own affairs in order to insure that the citizens of the various states would agree to ratify the new constitution. Because the fragmentation within the system serves certain political interests, there is always resistance to reform efforts that may unify organizations within the justice system. That said should the federal government insist that states become more uniform with regard to the definition and enforcement of laws? Would states resist efforts to take away their local control? Why or why not?


Megan Showler

No, the federal government should not insist that states become more uniform to the definition and enforcement of laws. The reason why each of the states has different laws is that those laws fit the specific needs of that particular state, they all have different geography and different people. For example, a particular state like Rhode Island would not have the same farming laws as a state like Texas or Alabama. A state that has big air pollution issues such as California has certain laws that regulate this problem but a state like Kansas does not need thing kind of laws. A big issue that comes about is how the laws are different from driving in each state, but again the laws fit the needs of each state, the geography, and the people. Yes, states would resist efforts to take away their local control because these states are given power or authority over their state. According to The Tenth Amendment- “The powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution, no prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”. which protects the rights of the states.


Joshua Gordon

Someone can say that any crime not a felony, is by nature a misdemeanor. That crimes with a consequence of a minimum sentence of over one year are felonies and a crime with a sentence of no more than one year If that is the case then, the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is just simply time. The U.S. Constitution states that Congress shall have the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations as well as, among the various states. The Tenth Amendment states that “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The lines of authority between states and the federal government are defined by the United States Constitution and case law. “The Constitution assigned to Congress responsibility for organizing the executive and judicial branches, raising revenue, declaring war, and making all laws necessary for executing these powers.” – U.S Senate, Constitution of the United States.

Another significant source is the Fourteenth Amendment, specifically the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses. In many cases this causes a requirement that there must be a “congruence and proportionality” between the injury to be remedied and the law adopted to that end. The state governments should be given more powers to control the crimes in the society. It requires a longer process to be continued for any case to reach the central government so state government should be authorized to take certain immediate and necessary actions in their hand to prevent crimes. The purpose of local government is to provide an organized system where councils exercise their power and responsibilities to work together for peace, order, and good control of their districts. Local governments provide overall quality of life for the people who live in their communities.

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