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45 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Elements of Ignorance or Mistake?
Ignorance or mistake concerning a matter of fact will affect criminal liability only if:

1. it shows D lacked the intent required for the crime
2. the mistake was objectively reasonable
What if mistake shows lack of specific intent?
Then it need not be reasonable
Specific intent crimes
1. Larceny & others (permanently deprive)
2. Burglary (intent to commit offense)
3. attemt & conspiracy (complete the target offense)
4. Any defined as doing something "with intent to..."
The major crimes that are not specific intent crimes?
Rape and arson
Under Modern Statutes, when does mistake of fact require acquittal?
Whenever it shows the lack of whatever mental state is required for the crime.
In a larceny prosecution where D took property, mistakenly believing it belonged to D, what happens?
No intent to deprive another of that person's property.
Criminal Intent?
Crimes generally require mens rea or intent:
1. D must have been aware of the facts that constitute the crime
2. D need not have known anything about the law
Exceptions to intent?
Strict liability crimes:
1. Statutory rape
2. Bigamy
3. Regulatory crimes
Meaning of purpose
A conscious desire
Meaning of knowledge
Awareness of a practical certainty
Meaning of recklessness
Awareness of a substantial risk
Meaning of negligence
A reasonable person would have been aware of a substantial risk
General rule of Modern Statutory Construction
A modern crime usually requires that the defendant have acted at least recklessly concerning all physical elements of the offense.
Transferred intent
If D intends to injure one person and accidentally inflicts a similar injury upon another person, she will be trated as if she intended to injure the person actually harmed.
Meaning of Ignorance or Mistake of Law?
Ignorance that the criminal law makes one's conduct a crime is not a defense.
Ignorance of the criminal law IS a defense if:
1. The belief was objectionably reasonable; and
2. The D relied upon:
a. a statute later held invalid
b. a judicial decision later overruled
c. an official interpretation of the law by a public official
Can the defense of mistake of law be based on the advice of counsel?
NO. (except if the crime requires knowledge that the law is being violated).
Insanity. What is the M'Naghten Rule?
D is entitled to acquittal only if facts show that at the time of the crime:
1. D had serious mental illness or defect
2. That caused a defect in his reasoning abilities, and
3. Therefore, he did not either:
a. understand the nature of the act he was doing, or
b. understand that his act was wrong
Does an inability to control conduct fit the M'Naughten Rule?
No. That won't show insanity.

However, if a modern statute says that loss of control or "irresistible impulse" is sufficient, insanity defense would work.
1. Criminal liability must be based upon a voluntary act of the defendant.
2. If the defendant was unconscious, her behavior cannot constitute the necessary voluntary act.
What is the significance of impaired consciousness?
It may show absence of a voluntary act but not insanity. Example is Sleepwalking.
When is Intoxication involuntary?
1. D did not know substance was intoxicating, OR
2. D consumed substance under duress.
How is involuntary intoxication treats in the courts?
It is treated as a mental illness and the jurisdiction's insanity test is applied.
What is Voluntary Intoxication?
Defendant should be acquitted only if the crime requires proof of a specific intent and the intoxication shows he lacked that intent.
How is voluntary intoxication treated when charged with a crime?
It can disprove premeditation.
It cannot disprove malice aforethought and reduce murder to manslaughter.
Under modern statutory analysis, when does voluntary intoxication require acquittal?
1. Crime requires mental state higher than recklessness; and
2. Intoxication shows lack of this mental state.
The minority approach for voluntary intoxication?
It's completely irrelevant to criminal liability
What if recklessness is sufficient for criminal liability, will voluntary intoxication be a defense?
Majority Rule.
When does Entrapment occur?
1. D was not predisposed to commit crimes like this; and
2. Police officers created the intent to commit the offense in D's mind.
Minority Rule on Entrapment
Entrapment occurs if police activity would cause a reasonable and unpredisposed person to form the intent to commit the crime.
Why is necessity or choice of lesser evils a defense?
1. D believed that commiting the crime would prevent an imminently threatened harm
2. D believed this threatened harm would be greater than the harm that would result from commission of the crime; and
3. These beliefs were objectively reasonable
Necessity is not a defense if:
1. D wrongfully created the situation making the choice necessary, or
2. D killed another to avoid his own death.
General rule for duress or coercion
It is a defense that the defendant was compelled to commit the crime by a threat that if he did not do so, the threatening person would do:
1. Immediate and physical harm
2. to D or or a third person
Exception to duress as defense
Duress is not a defense to a crime that consists of an intentional killing.
When can duress be available as a defense to even murder?
If the prosecution's theory of guilt does not require proof of intent to kill.
General rule for Self-Defense defense?
D believed:
1. He was in imminent danger of being harmed by another
2. The force used was necessary to prevent the threatened harm; and
3. These beliefs were objectively reasonable.
Deadly force and self-defense?
If crime involved deadly force, D has a defense only if she reasonably believed:
1. she was threatened with imminent death or serious bodily injury; and
2. deadly force used was necessary to prevent that harm to her.
Need to Retreat Minority Rule
Any opportunity to retreat must be taken before using deadly force:
1. applies only if retreat possible with complete safety
2. no duty to retreat when attacked in one's own home
Need to Retreat General Rule
Opportunity to retreat is factor to consider in determining whether deadly force was reasonable under the circumstances.
Aggressor Rules
1. A person who starts a fight cannot use force in self defense during the fight
2. An aggressor retains the right to use force in self-defense during a fight by either
a. withdrawing from the fight, or
b. giving notice of desire to do so.
A defendant charged with murder who actually but unreasonably believed killing was necessary in self-defense...?
1. Is not entitled to acquittal.
2. Should be convicted of manslaughter rather than murder.
Defense of Other Persons
It's a defense that:
1. D believed that another person was threatened with imminent unlawful physical harm by a third person;
2. D beleived that the force she used was necessary to prevent the harm; and
3. these beliefs were objectively reasonable
What does the availability of this defense of other persons turn on?
Whether it reasonably appeared to D that the person she aided was in the "right."
General rule for Defense of Property
It is a defense that force was used in the reasonable belief that it was necessary to prevent unlawful interference with real or personal property.
Limits to defense of property.
1. Only non-deadly force can be used to defend property.
2. Force can only be used to prevent the interference, and not to regain the property, except in immediate pursuit.