Malum in Se Crimes
Malum in se crimes are crimes that are wrong because they are considered inherently wrong. The phrase, plural mala in se, is a Latin phrase that means “wrong or evil in itself.” The concept was part of the value consensus model that was used to explain the origins of criminal law. Currently, the phrase is used to refer to conduct that is considered inherently wrong by nature. The conduct is wrong regardless of any regulations that govern the conduct.
Murder is a commonly referred to malum in se crime. Murder of human beings is generally accepted universally to be wrong by other human beings. This is generally seen as true regardless of whether there is a law that exists or where the conduct occurs.
Driving laws are not malum in se laws. Driving 80 miles per hour is not inherently bad. It is bad because there is a policy that says that it is against the rules of the jurisdiction to drive 80 miles per hour.
The majority of common law crimes are malum in se crimes. Beyond murder, other malum in se crimes include robbery, kidnapping, arson, and a variety of other crimes that are universally accepted as wrong. Various countries, because of differences in the cultural norms, can have a different combination of malum in se crimes.
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