Class activities



September 4


What is crime?

Why do we define certain behavior as criminal?

Where does crime come from?

Who commits more crimes? What age group? Males or females?

Why does it occur?

Is it truly a problem?

Analyze the crime scene in the cartoon. Who commits the crime/s? What is the role of the community (neighbors) in crime control? What is the role of the government?




Bio and Picture

Write a short bibliographical note about yourself, including your interests, future plans, major concerns about college. Did you do other studies? Do you work? If so, what do you do? What are your hobbies? What TV shows do you like the best? Films? Music groups? What are your objectives for this course? Have you studied Law before?

Bring this note to class and include a picture of yourself.



September 9


Criminology views


Trading places



1) What criminology view does Randolph Duke adhere to?

2) What indications are given in the film about Randolph Duke's criminology view?

3) What criminology view does Mortimer Duke adhere to?

4) What indications are given in the film about Mortimer Duke's criminology view?



September 11


Criminology views



The Trip






What criminology view transpires in the police officer's questions?


Legally Blonde





What criminology view transpires in Elle Wood's comments?





What criminology view transpires in Joey's comments?



 Simpsons: Hurricane Neddy


What criminology view can best explain the thefts at the Leftorium?






September 18


Actus reus




1.  Tom and Jerry

a.  What is the actus reus?


2.  Wonder Years

a.  Did Kevin commit the actus reus of assault? Mischief?


3.  Beavis and Butthead: Feel the pain

a.  Is there an actus reus of massacre?


4.  Scooby Doo (Shaggy)

a.  Can Shaggy allege Multiple Personality Disorder?


5.  Dawson's Creek

a.  Does Jen commit the actus reus of homicide when she doesn't help Abby?


6.  Seinfeld

a.  Kramer touches George's mother. Is there an actus reus of assault?


7.  Columbo:

a.  Did the students commit the actus reus of homicide?


8.  The Curse of Jade Scorpion

a.  Did Woody Allen commit the actus reus of theft?



Some definitions of crime





 Every one commits theft who fraudulently takes anything, whether animate or inanimate, with intent (a) to deprive, temporarily or absolutely, the owner of it [...] of the thing or of his property or interest in it.


A person commits a sexual assault when without the consent of another person he or she conducts any form of sexual activity on that other person.

No consent is obtained where the victim submits [�] by reason of authority or by abusing a pposition of trust, power or authority.


Every one who (a) breaks and enters a place with intent to commit an indictable offence therein, (b) breaks and enters a place and commits an indictable offence therein is guilty of an offense.


A person commits an assault when without the consent of another person he or she applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly.


Every one commits mischief who willfully or recklessly destroys or damages property.


Every person commits an offence who kidnaps a person with intent to cause the person to be confined or imprisoned against the person's will.


 The causing of death of another human being.


Every person who intentionally or recklessly causes damage by fire or explosion to property, whether or not that person owns the property, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.




September 25

Mens rea



1.  Seinfeld: Drugstore

a.  Suppose the man dies. What crime did Seinfeld commit?

b.  What mens read did Seinfeld act with?


2.  Seinfeld: Susan's father's cabin

a.  Is there arson as defined in the Canadian Criminal Code? What would Kramer have had to think for being guilty of reckless arson?


3.  Friends: Rosita Is there mischief?

a.  What is Rachel's mens rea?


4.  Freaks and Geeks:

a.  What is Lindsay's mens rea?


5.  90210: Donna

a.  What crime was committed?

b.  What is the mens rea?


6.  90210: Dylan

a.  What crime was committed?

b.  What is the mens rea?


7.  Beavis and Butthead: Store

a.  What crime was committed?

b.  What is Beavis and Butthead's mens rea?


8.  Seinfeld: Newmman

a.  What crime was committed?

b.  What is the mens rea?


9.  Pink Panther: Flowers

a.  What crime was committed?

b.  What is the mens rea?


10.                   Pink Panther: Bullets

a.  What crime was committed?

b.  What is the mens rea?


11.                   Keeping up appearances:

a.  What crime was committed?

b.  What is the mens rea?


12.                   Three Stooges: Drawer

a.  What crime was committed?

b.  What is the mens rea?


13.                   Three Stooges: Fight

a.  What crime was committed?

b.  What is the mens rea?


14.                   Trading Places

a.  What crime was committed?

b.  What is the mens rea?


15.                   Friends: Janine

a.  What crime was committed?

b.  What is the mens rea? 



October 2


Sexual assault


Lindsay's Story


Discussion Questions


1.  Was that really rape?

2.  When did their sexual activity turn into sexual assault?

3.  Was Lindsay a typical victim?

4.  Was Raymond a typical offender?

5.  Is rape sex?

6.  Does Raymond believe that what he did is rape?

7.  What should happen to Raymond?

8.  What did Lindsay want from him?

9.  What did Raymond want from her?


She Fought Alone


1.  Was that sexual assault?

2.  Why?

3.  What kind?


Take My Eyes


1.  Was that sexual assault?

2.  Why?

3.  What kind?





1.  Was that sexual assault?

2.  Why?

3.  What kind?

4.  Is there abuse of a position of trust, power or authority here?





1.  Was that sexual assault?

2.  Why?

3.  What kind?



Friends: Joanna



1.  Suppose that Rachel slept with Joanna, would that be sexual assault?

2.  Why?

3.  What kind?


A Reason to Believe


1.  Is this sexual assault? Why? Why not?

2.  If so, who commits sexual assault? Who doesn't?

3.  Who is the victim?





October 7



Video summary



Crime data collection



Crime data collection



October 21


Property Crimes




1.  Friends Cheesecake

2.  Seinfeld The Revenge

3.  Seinfeld The Limo

4.  Nine Queens: Handbag

5.  Nine Queens: Bill

6.  Seinfeld The Statue

7.  Seinfeld The Note


October 28





Project preparation in groups


October 30



November 4


Sociological Theories




November 6





What is a gang?

Are there street gangs in Sault Ste. Marie? In other Northern Ontario cities?

Who joins gangs? Why?

What do young people look for in a gang?

Why do gangs fight each other?

Why do gang members commit so many crimes?

What criminology theory can best explain gang crimes?

Is there a connection between gangs and terrorism?

Is the criminal justice system the best response to gang crimes committed by young people?



January 30


Criminology theories



Feminist theories



Read the following passage about Winona Ryder.


1.  Discuss why she committed theft.

2.  Is she a typical female criminal?

3.  When you think of Winona Ryder or see one of her movies, do you consider her as a criminal?

4.  Do you think that society sees her as a criminal? Why? Why not?

5.  How would the different feminist criminological schools explain her crime?

6.  Are there typical feminine crimes? Is this a typical feminine crime?

7.  Which sub-school of feminist criminology best explains this crime?



Winona Ryder convicted of theft, likely to get probation


Winona Ryder speaks with her attorney, Mark Geragos, after the verdict is read.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. � It was no Hollywood ending for actress Winona Ryder, who was convicted Wednesday of grand theft and vandalism for stealing $5,560 of clothes and accessories from a Beverly Hills department store. The jury acquitted her of burglary.

Ryder showed little reaction as the verdict was read, but turned and whispered with her attorney, Mark Geragos.

She faces up to three years in prison for the Dec. 12, 2001, shoplifting spree, but is likely to receive probation when she is sentenced Dec. 6.

Speaking after the verdict, Deputy District Attorney Ann Rundle said she was not seeking a prison sentence for the Academy Award-nominated actress.

"This case was never about jail time. We were simply asking for Ms. Ryder to be responsible for her conduct," Rundle said, noting that she would recommend community service, probation and restitution to Saks.

Having found the 31-year-old Ryder not to be a flight risk, Superior Court Judge Elden Fox excused her until the sentencing and kept intact the $20,000 bond that she posted the day of her arrest.

Ryder's attorney, Geragos, did not comment after the verdict, but during the trial he blamed the charges on a vast conspiracy orchestrated by Saks senior management and accused store security guards of concocting details about the incident.

Jurors, including former Sony Pictures head Peter Guber, disagreed. They deliberated about six hours hours before rendering their verdict.

Rundle told reporters that the panel had expressed a desire to "move on with their lives." Given the opportunity to keep their notes from the trial, however, each of the six men and six women did.

Sandi Gibbons, a spokesperson for the L.A. County district attorney's office and a witness in the trial, said outside the courthouse that the split verdict didn't surprise her. Speaking of the burglary and theft charges, she said, "Generally if you find on one, you don't find on the other," and added that to convict Ryder of burglary, jurors would have had to find that she went to Saks intending to steal.

When asked about the burglary acquittal, Rundle noted that Ryder was never seen entering the store, and was known to have made a purchase shortly afterward.

Following the verdict, a throng of more than 100 media personnel gathered on the steps of the courthouse, while a news chopper hovered overhead.

The week-long trial featured testimony from a number of security guards who detained Ryder after watching her on closed-circuit television for about 90 minutes while her bags grew steadily larger. One of the guards, Colleen Rainey, told the court she peered through the slats of a dressing room door to see Ryder on her knees removing sensor tags with a pair of orange-handled scissors.

Ryder's star witness, Michael Shoar, testified that Rainey's boss, Kenneth Evans, told him he would "nail that rich Beverly Hills bitch at any cost." But Shoar admitted on cross-examination that he had an axe to grind with Saks and is currently engaged in a bitter legal skirmish with the company.

Other evidence the jury had to examine were the items that Ryder allegedly shoplifted. The sweaters, handbags, hats and other items were piled into boxes and delivered to the jury room by court bailiffs, along with three security tags that still bore pieces of fabric matching holes on some of the merchandise.

They were also given the surveillance videos. Although the tapes never showed Ryder removing security tags, prosecutor Rundle argued that they illustrated the actress's pattern of shoplifting: removing security tags in the privacy of the dressing room, concealing the items, and then ditching the tags throughout the store.

Alternate juror Sherman Pore told that jurors had to take the security guards' narration as fact, but that some of the inconsistencies disturbed him. "How far did they go? How much can we believe?" he asked. But in the end, the jurors believed enough to find the actress guilty of two felonies.

Ryder, famous for her roles in such movies as "Edward Scissorhands" and more recently "Mr. Deeds," allegedly admitted to security guards that she had been shoplifting but claimed it was to prepare for an upcoming role in a movie.





November 11





1)   A prison inmate calls a married couple. They have a 12-year old girl, who is playing soccer in the park ten blocks away from their home. The inmate tells the couple that they need to pay $1000 immediately (by leaving a plastic bag full of unmarked $20 bills in a trash can) or else they will never see their daughter again. The prison inmate has never kidnapped the girl. He just knows that she is playing soccer. The couple withdraws the money from an ATM and pays as told. Then, the girl comes home safely from the soccer game.

2) Prof. Julian Hermida does not like when his students come to Algoma but stay in the computer lab checking emails instead of attending class. So, one day �visibly angry- he went to the computer lab, locked the door and said �Well, now we're going to have class here. Nobody may leave the computer lab until we finish class, not even those students who are not taking Crime and Punishment I.�

3) The bus driver was angry at a passenger because the passenger was eating, listening to the radio without headsets, and writing graffiti on the bus seats. When the passenger requested the bus stop, the driver retaliated by not stopping. After several minutes, and at the insistence of the passenger, the driver stopped and let the passenger out.

4) Last Friday, Julian Hermida, who has had a huge crush on Brooke Shields since he was a teenager, left his house to be the first one at Blockbuster to buy the Suddenly Susan DVD featuring Brooke Shields, to be released on Saturday at 12.01 AM. He was so excited that he left home without his keys. His wife was angry because Julian left home at 5 pm on Friday to wait in line and be the first one to buy the DVD. She realized that Julian had forgotten his keys, so she decided not to open the door when he returned home. Right after midnight, Julian came home but was locked out until Saturday morning when his wife finally opened the door.

5) Members from a terrorist organization held an MP at gunpoint in his office and demanded that the Canadian government withdraw its troops from Afghanistan if they wanted to see the MP alive.

6) 17-year old Robert and 15-year old Monique had been chatting online for a few weeks. Robert invited Monique to finally meet at the mall on Saturday afternoon. Monique explained to him that her parents did not allow her to meet with anyone she knew online. Robert insisted and asked Monique to skip school and meet him at the mall on Friday, which she did.

7) Mr. and Mrs. Klein invited their granddaughters, aged 8 and 10, to Disneyworld for their March Break. Their parents agreed gladly. When it was time to return back home, they emailed their son and informed him that they changed their plans and would return 3 days later because the children did not want to miss a special parade at Disneyworld.

8) A man broke into a house at night, and told 14-year old Susie, that she should leave the house with him or else he would rape her little sister. Terrified, Susie left with him.

9) 16-year old Rose gave birth to a baby girl. Because she was single and still at school, she decided to give her baby for adoption. Rose was severely depressed and a few months after the birth she broke into the adoptive parents' home at night and took "her" baby home with her.

10) Alex and Leticia had 2 daughters -Luana and Nina. Alex and Leticia split up and they agreed that the girls would live with their mom during the school year and would spend their holidays with their dad. In late August, Alex decided to extend the girls' summer holiday a few more days. He sent a text message to Leticia, telling her that he would return their daughters a few days later. Leticia got angry and replied that he should bring them by the first day of school. Alex ignored her, and came back one week after classes started.

11) A Sault Ste. Marie couple decided to spend their Christmas break in Montreal with their 9 and 10 year old boys. On the second evening, the parents wanted to see a play with a mature subject matter. So, they left the children in their hotel room and told them not to leave the room for any reason. The hotel burst into fire, so the concierge knocked down the children's room and took them out. Then, he took them to a McDonald's near the hotel to wait for their parents in a safe place.

12) Prof. Julian Hermida was angry at Tom because he missed a couple of classes. So, when Tom finally came to class, Julian told him that he needed to see him in his office right after class to give him some handouts. When Tom went to his office, Julian locked the door and made a phone call. He talked for 30 minutes, ignoring Tom. Finally, Julian gave Tom the handouts and let him out. Tom asked Julian if he had done all this on purpose, and Julian replied that he had.


November 13


Sex offenders' registration



On 27 November, 1996, the Northern Illinois University Administration was informed by the student newspaper, The Northern Star, that two students residing in NIU dormitories had registered with local police as required by the Illinois law. After a series of meetings in which Administrators hastily drafted a short policy to allow an eviction, the students were called in on the morning of Wednesday, 29 November, the day before Thanksgiving. Their eviction letter, handed to them near the start of the meeting, required them to vacate their dormitory rooms. According to all reports, no effort was made by the Administration to ascertain the nature of the original offenses or other relevant details prior to making the decision to evict. On Monday, 2 December, the Star ran the first of three articles on the evictions under a dramatic front-page headline: �Lax Screenings a Cause for Concern.� However, the story did not contain the names of the evicted students. The story also falsely claimed that the students had left the dorms voluntarily, but the reality was that they were not only evicted, as their eviction letter indicated, but, as a subsequent memo revealed, banned from the dorms. On Tuesday, 3 December, the Star ran a more balanced story describing the ACLU response. However, an inflammatory editorial, �Sex offenders don't belong at NIU,� accompanied the story and escalated passions. Using such phrases as �denizens of the gutters,� �societal reject,� and �psychopathic sexual deviants,� the editorial argued that ex-offenders have no right to pursue a college education. On Wednesday, 4 December, the Star ran the third and final story of the term presenting an evictee's side of events, which included a description of his offense as, at age 18, having consensual sex with a 16 year old girl.


1.  There is always a tension between social control and individual liberty. In what ways does that tension exist in this incident?

2.  If you were a University administrator, how do you think the incident should have been handled?

3.  From your knowledge of Megan's Law, do you think that the laws were abused to the detriment of ex-offenders in this incident?

4.  Do you think that the University's Residence Hall policy is discriminatory?

5.  If, instead of sex offenders, the Administration had targeted former gang members, drunk drivers, or unwed mothers, would it be justified to evict?

6.  Are the students being punished for current behaviors or for past stigmatized identities? Why does this matter?

7.  What are the pros and cons of Megan's laws?

8.  What are the pros and cons of Megan's laws? � Would you change the sex offender's criteria for registration in Canada?

9.  Do you think Canadian sex offender registration laws should be reformed to include active community notification?

10.  How can you deal with community over-reaction toward registered sex offenders?

11.  Would you include or exclude minors from registration?

12.  Do female sex offenders pose a lower threat to the community than males?

13.  Is there a connection between kidnapping (or abduction) and sex offenses?

14.  Is Megan's law alone going to eliminate sex crimes and sexually motivated abductions? What other measures can be taken to prevent children from being abducted?



November 18


Feminist Criminology and Pornography


What are some of the arguments for the criminalization of pornography?

What are some of the arguments against the criminalization of pornography?

What is your opinion of the Supreme Court's Butler decision?

Should governments regulate sexual morality?

Is there a connection between watching pornography and being violent?

What should be an appropriate legal treatment of pornography?

Do you agree that the Butler test should not apply to gay and lesbian pornography? Why do you think that Criminal Justice officers focus on attacking gay and lesbian pornography?





November 20



Peacemaking criminology


1.  Analyze the different types of violence that contribute to the suffering of the City of God residents.

2.  What is the government's response to violence in the City of God?

3.  What are family relations like in the City of God?

4.  What is the rest of Rio de Janeiro's societal attitude towards the City of God?

5.  Do the kids from the City of God have any future?

6.  What is the value of life in the City of God? What are their most likely avenues?

7.  As a peacemaking criminologist, how can you end the cycle of violence and crime in the City of God? Propose specific criminal justice and non specific measures;

8.  Do you agree with peacemaking criminology principles?

9.  Would another school of criminology be better to deal with the kinds of criminal problems existing in the City of God?


November 25


Integrated theories


You have to develop your own theoretical perspective. Your theory may be an integration of theories, but it does not have to be. The model can be drawn upon either Western or non-Western philosophical traditions, and include ideas from biology, psychology, sociology, religious thought, etc.


Your model must include the following core components:


1.  An explanation of the major cause(s) of crime

2.  Programs to prevent and control crime based upon your model.

3.  Types of punishment or treatment programs that would do the most to lower crime.

4.  Role of police, courts, and corrections in a society in which crime is explained by your model.

5.  Types of studies that would need to be carried out to prove or disprove your model; including populations to be studied, research techniques employed, and expected findings.