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9 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Strict Liability crimes abandons Blackstone's principle that "________________________"
"An act w/o a vicious will is no crime at all"
Strict Liability is applied according to...?
Strict liability is applied according to statutory interpretation
Historical Context of SL crimes?
Industrial Revolution
Characteristics of strict liability offenses
(1) public health and welfare (pollution, prescriptions drugs)

(2) small penalty
-------Remember: the lower the culpability, the lower the punishment

(3) no stigma

(4) malum prohibitum behavior (not inherently "wrong")
-------malum prohibitum v. malum in se offenses
-------malum in se is behavior that is inherently wrong. Offense would be wrong, even without statute.
--------Malum prohibitum is behavior that is not inherently wrong (driving through red light). Only wrong b/c there's a statute that says it's wrong.

(5) D in position to prevent harm

(6) generally deal with neglect rather than aggressive act

(7) unlike traditional common law -- SL crimes against person, property, government

(8) Punishes Creation of the danger rather than the actual harm
Rationale for Strict Liability Crimes? (4)
1. need deterrent impact of criminal punishment to enforce regulations
-- put teeth into statute - Makes D's more careful

3. obstruct purpose of statute to require proof of mens rea, proof of mens rea is an obstacle in the enforcement (prof thinks argument not very strong)

3. punishment small

4. most persuasive rationale: prevention of harm to society in general represents the greater good over punishing only the blameworthy (the smaller good); puts the blame on the person in position to control the behavior.
Rationale for Vicarious Liability (a form of SL)?
Tends to make employers more careful in the selection and supervision of their employees
Steps to determine if statute is meant to be SL? (6)
1. Typically a mens rea is implied or assumed

2. Textual argument (other statutes relating to the crime)

3. Precedent / Legislative history (What court's have done before and what congress has done before)

4. Legislative intent
---(a)What is meant to be prevented by the crime?
-----(b)What is the goal of the crime?
----(c)Would requiring a mens rea impede the implementation of the legislative purpose?

5. Rule of lenity

6. Does it interfere with due process?

SO --> Does the statute involve any of the characteristics listed above?
Generally, there is an assumption of ____ mens rea.
Silent MR
Six criticism of SL?
1. Unjust to punish without blame

2. No empirical showing that need criminal penalty to make regulations work

3. No empirical proof that it will deter by making people make careful

4. Don’t need it – can punish blameworthy offenses by proving mens rea

5. There is a stigma.

6. All offenses would be easier to prove without mens rea.