Clark and Edwards

Louisa Brackett
3 min readSep 15, 2020

The discussion of two types of law opens with distinctions that must be made to understand this article. A distinction to make right of the bat is to differentiate permissibility and reason. You might have reason to need my car to get to work, so you steal my car. Even though you had reason, you did not have my permission. The two have a unique connection when it comes to what to criminalize and whatnot. It works together to answer the overarching question is it morally permissible to make a crime? Another distinction to be made is between normative and motivating reasons. It is a normative reason for me to stay inside if it’s cold outside. Motivating reasons should always be normative, but the flip of that is not true. Another distinction is between means and ends. Luckily, if you’ve taken a philosophy class before, this concept makes sense. Ends are things we seek as an end destination while means are the steps to the end. This all ties in for Edwards in starting the discussion on how most reasons to criminalize come from the ends and not the means. The entries A through C show an end of criminalization. Each end is preventative in nature. It’s good to eliminate harm another person can inflict on others as well as on themselves. D and E further the discussion by saying it’s probably good to support criminalization to seek out answers they might owe or to give them equal punishment for their doings. Edwards moves to explain the identification principle and how its existence holds the makers behind the law subject to their own fine print. Within this principle, one must understand the distinction between legally regulated positions. For example, constables, jurors, magistrates, mayors, all have these legally regulated goals. Through all of this distinction, Edwards summarizes how it is just part of living under the rule of law. This vicious system through LMBs almost turns people into chess pieces of the system. People need to be protected from pre-identification in order to have equal effects of the law across all people.

Clark’s question is do these laws, that vary by state because of their varying definitions, about possessing burglary tools really reduce crime? Well, data from the states with these laws show no actual reduction in crime rate. Clark presents the Oliver Rater as a precedent case in understanding why people have burglary tool laws. His conviction was overturned because he was arrested illegally even though the evidence, he had on him was consistent with a crime that was in an unsolved burglary. At its basis, this statute allowed people to be criminalized merely on suspicion and possession of burglary tools. In summary, if the state finds a person in possession and in pursuit of a burglary, the state can criminalize him in the attempt to be preemptive. A criticism with this law is how it can be selectively enforced, which is terrifying. Especially in the wake of what our country is going through right now. Everything that’s going on with the BLM movement has really shed light that so much has been selectively enforced and this is no different. At the end of this long battle to understand these laws, the legislature was adopted to fit the true definition of crime. In 1976, it changed to any person in possession and in pursuit with the intent of burgling. This almost fits the definition of crime which is the act with the combination of the mindset to commit a crime.

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