Of all the subelds of American law, criminal law is perhaps the most controversial. As we noted in Chapter 1, criminal law deals with activities that have been formally forbidden in a society by its government. The controversy surrounding criminal law centers around both the substance or content of criminal law and the procedures by which we deprive accused persons of their life, liberty, and property. Substantive criminal law asks questions such as what should be made a crime, what is the appropriate punishment for committing a particular crime, and what specic behavior constitutes a crime. The rst question focuses on the kinds of activities that may or should be forbidden by government. Certain actions, like murder, are inherently evil and universally condemned as criminal behavior. Other activities, such as gambling, are questionable as “criminal” because there is not universal consensus on their immorality as there is with crimes like murder and rape.