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Criminal Law/how to ascertain which approach permissible....


   Greetings! Whats up ? :). Welcome Back :)
Jeff, How can we determine in particular about the statutory approach permissible or correct for resolving ambiguity in the law?. Apparently, this is not about rules of interpretation.


ANSWER: Bilal,

Thank you.  In resolving ambiguity in the law the process of statutory interpretation is utilized.  Statutory interpretation is defined as the process by which courts interpret and apply legislation. Usually some amount of interpretation is often necessary when a case involves a statute. There are times when the words of a statute have a plain and straightforward meaning. But in many cases, there is some ambiguity or vagueness in the words of the statute that must be resolved by the judge. To find the meanings of statutes, judges use various tools and methods of statutory interpretation, including traditional canons of statutory interpretation, legislative history, and purpose.  In many instances the minutes from Congressional hearings will be researched in order to determine the original legislative intent of the statute.  


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QUESTION: Your Highness,
To put it more Simple, what factors we should keep in mind before applying the rules of interpretation ?? How can we know which rule could work best for the ambiguity term?


ANSWER: Bilal,

That is the part of the inconsistency is that you never which rule works best as each statute and the way it was or has been interpreted are different.  For example, many State toll roads built in the 1950's and 1960's had the original intent of being paid toll highways only until the bonds and notes were paid off.  Along the way almost all of those States opted to keep the tolls open because they generate so much revenue and the respective States rely on them as sources of income they can spend against.  If the toll provision were questioned under a challenge using the original legislative intent it would lead to a different outcome then scrutiny under later provisions extending the life of the toll booths as they both served different purposes.  In short, so much turns on the details of the lawsuit challenging the statute.    

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QUESTION: Hey Dude !

Lets say U, V, W and X  all are different statutes.
For instance there is a statute X , Legislature interpret it as Y(Purposive Approach) and the law suit interprets an X statute's element "U" as Z (Literal Approach).  Conclusively, There is a difference.

Is this explanation correct?


Yes, you are correct.  Initially the court will most likely take the literal approach into consideration and then if it does not correctly address a legitimate grievance they will default to an integrated interpretation of both literal and purposeful approaches.  That is the last step in your analysis.  

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Jeffrey Hauck


I would welcome the opportunity to answer questions relating to or related to the field of criminal law.


Criminologist. Professor of Criminal Justice. Licensed Private Detective with expansive clientele base encompassing hundreds of cases. Donates resources and time to the Children's Rescue Network in Orlando, FL.

Associate of Science; Bachelor of Arts; Master of Science, Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree.

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