Criminal Law Outline - Statutory Interpretation
- Methods of Statutory Interpretation
- Plain language meaning of the statute
- Purpose of the statute taken as a whole
- Phrasing (construction with commas)
- Ordinary v. technical meaning
- Prior law on the subject
- Harm or wrong targeted
- End to be accomplished
- Legislative history/circumstances of adoption of legislation
- Prior interpretations of the same or similar statute or the same or similar words/phrasing (common law)
- Ex. U.S. v. Foster
- Court attempts to interpret the word "carry" in weapons statute
- Does "carry" mean to "pack heat" or to "transport" the weapon, because the weapon was found in the back of the truck.
- Methods of interpretation used by Court:
- Court looked at where else the word "carry" was used by Congress and where the word "transport" was used.
- There was no legislative history.
- Also Scalia argued that legislative history is not relevant, anyway.
- "Possess" in drug offense vs. "carry" in weapons offense. What is the difference?