QUESTION TYPE: Principle – Strengthen
CONCLUSION: The excuse is unacceptable.
REASONING: The defendant was charged with not complying with national codes, rather than local codes. He pleaded ignorance of which code applied.
ANALYSIS: The judge implies that ignorance of the law would have been an excuse if the code had been local. You need to find a reason why that would have been ok, or why violating national codes is inexcusable.
The right answer shows that anything in national codes is also in local codes. So the defendant was aware he was breaking the law no matter which code applied. I’ll explain with an example.
Suppose that Hawaii has it’s own criminal code. The only new law is that you can’t wear funny hats. Every other federal law is also a crime.
You’re on a small island. Not sure if it’s part of hawaii or the mainland US.
You can’t be sure if you’re allowed to wear a funny hat. You don’t know which code applies.
You can be sure murder is wrong. That’s true whichever code applies.
- If the codes don’t overlap, then they’re different. But this doesn’t tell us what makes national codes worse to violate.
- So? Presumably there are still penalties for violating both types of code. This doesn’t say that it’s ok to violate local codes.
- CORRECT. Since the defendant violated national codes, then he also violated the local code. So his excuse that he didn’t know which code applied is irrelevant. Both codes prohibited his behavior.
- This hurts the judge’s argument, since the judge said non-compliance with a local code due to ignorance might have been ok.
- This doesn’t tell us that it’s ok to violate any laws.
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