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Palestra 4-2020

A few remarks on the normative expression of professional crime in Polish criminal law

The article presents the issue of professional crime in the system of Polish criminal law within the scope of three penal codifications. The starting point for the analysis of this issue is a synthetic discussion of the normative professional structure of committing crimes and its consequences in terms of the Penal Code of 1932. This was undoubtedly a pioneering regulation, fitting in the general trend of the interest of repetitive crime and its etiology in the science of criminology and related sciences at that time whose interpretation influenced the further fate of this institution in the system of Polish criminal law and the directions of its dogmatic and juridical interpretation over the next decades. In the further part of the study, there were remarks regarding the re-evaluation of the issue of professional crime in the post-war legislation and in its qualitative continuation in this respect – the Penal Code of 1969. In this part of the article attention is paid to the systemic change in the perception of the function of professional committing crimes in legal regulations and the re-evaluation in the diagnosis of this phenomenon, in which there was a clear shift of the weight from the subjective elements to the objective plane, which meant that professional crime ceased to be associated mainly with the type of perpetrator and its properties, and began to be perceived primarily through the prism of the characteristics of the type of criminal behaviour. The considerations taken up in the study are closed with the section devoted to professional offenses in terms of the applicable legal state. In this part of the work two functions are discussed, which this feature of criminal behaviour fulfills in the system of criminal law, firstly, in the area of punishment, or more specifically its extraordinary dimension, and secondly in creating types of prohibited acts. Numerous non-code provisions referring to the sign of “making a crime a permanent source of income” were noticed, as well as recently introduced code regulations referring to the subjective characteristic of the perpetrator towards the act committed in the construction of statutory signs of a crime type (Article 270a § 2 and Article 271a § 2 of the Penal Code). Against this background, reference was made to the issue of the relationship in which the regulation of professional crime in the “general” approach and its consequences (Article 65 § 1) remain in relation to “professionally” committed offenses, both defined outside the penal code and in the Codex.

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