SECTION 1 - COLQUITT
No act or omission is a crime unless made so by this title or by other applicable statute or lawful ordinance. (Acts 1977, No. 607, p. 812, § 110.)
Section 13A-1-4 recognizes that persons accused of crime and also the prosecuting officials, the courts and all others concerned with the administration of justice are entitled to know in plain explicit language what constitutes the offense charged, and that the legislature and other authorized governmental bodies may define offenses. Cf., former § 1-1-5: "A public offense is an act or omission forbidden by law and punishable as provided in this Code." Also, § 1-1-6: "Acts or omissions to which a pecuniary penalty is attached, recoverable by action by a person for his own use, or for the use, in whole or in part, of the state, or of a county or municipal corporation, are not public offenses within the meaning of this Code."
The original draft of this section included an explicit provision to abolish common law crimes, which is a feature of most modern criminal codes; but the Advisory Committee considered such provision impolitic and also, unnecessary under a comprehensive Criminal Code, so it was deleted. To the extent that modern crimes involve common law definitions, such definitions usually will be stated in the Criminal Code. To the extent that they require alteration, most, again, will be effected by the Criminal Code. Common law jurisdiction cannot be exercised as to purely statutory offenses, not in cases of common law offenses for which punishment is prescribed by statute. Tucker v. State, 42 Ala. App. 477, 168 So. 2d 258 (1964). Thus, § 1-3-1, which continues in force the common law "except as from time to time it may be altered or repealed by the legislature," remains intact, although its future field of operation may be reduced.
Common law of England adopted, § 1-3-1.
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