Culture affects criminal law in at least two key ways. First, culture and crime symbiotically define each other. Second, culture helps explain which courtroom narratives will be successful, and which will not. Culture influences who will be arrested, charged, convicted, and what sentence they will receive. Indeed, the invisible hand of culture drives the process of criminalization and helps to determine which acts we will sanction through criminal statutes.
Kenneth B. Nunn, New Explorations in Culture and Crime: Definitions, Theory, Method, 17 U. Fla. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y [vii] (2006), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/105