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114 Cards in this Set

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Actus Reus

Voluntary Acts

Are involuntary acts or thoughts ever sufficient to commit a crime?
No.
Actus Reus

Voluntary Acts

Specific MPC involuntary acts
reflexes, convulsions, movements while asleep or unconscious, conduct during hypnosis or resulting therefrom, and other movements not resulting from effort or determination (either conscious or habitual).
Actus Reus

Omissions

Criminally liable when?
liability may be based on an omission if D had a legal duty to act based upon any of the following: (a) statutes, (b) relationship, (c) contracts, (d) assumption of care, (e) status as landowner, (f) duty to control third parties such as children or employees, or (g) D created the peril.
Actus Reus

Possession

MPC Definition
MPC says possession is an act if possessor knowingly procured or received thing possessed or was aware of his control for a sufficient period to have been able to terminate his possession.
Actus Reus

Possession

Constructive Possession Definition
You have constructive possession of illegal substance if you knowingly are in a position to, or have the right to, exercise control and control over item and can guide its destiny. Right to exercise dominion and control can be jointly shared.
Actus Reus

Possession

Does knowledge of an item's presence constitute possession? Constructive possession?
Knowledge alone doesn’t constitute possession.

Just because you know something is there doesn’t mean you constructively possess it.

For constructive possession, proximity is a factor, but is not determinative. Must have other evidence.
Actus Reus

Possession

Under Common Law
Under common law, possession is a voluntary act provided the possessor is conscious of the possession.
Actus Rea

Status Crimes

Definition
Status crimes don’t require commission of a specific act; prosecution only has to show that offender fits within a certain class of people. Offender can be charged at any time, regardless of acts he may or may not have committed.
Actus Rea

Status Crimes

Are Status Crimes Constitutional?
No.
Actus Rea

Status Crimes

Examples
Homelessness, drug addict, alcoholism
Actus Rea

Status Crimes

Lambert Rule
Where a person’s activities are wholly passive and the person has no reason to believe that their status is an offense, the person is not guilty of a crime.
Actus Rea

Voluntary Acts

What if there is a combination of volumtary acts and involuntary acts. Is the actor criminally liable?
Yes. • As long as there was at least one voluntary act in the defendant’s course of conduct, he may be criminally liable even if some of the other acts in the crime were involuntary.

Ex: The doctor who got in the car even though he was prone to have seizures, and you have had a car accident before due to a seizure. (This would be different if the doctor had never had a seizure before or something else)
Actus Rea

Voluntary Acts

Habit of Health conditions. Court's position on defendant?
If the defendant has a habit or a repeat health condition, a court may find that the defendant committed a voluntary act by not taking appropriate actions.
Actus Rea

Voluntary Acts

Is a coerced act considered involuntary?
An act is not involuntary just because someone pressured the actor to do it.

Ex: Someone puts a gun to your head and tells you to kill someone else, the shooting is still voluntary. You would still have a defense of duress.
Mens Rea

Miscellaneous

When does transferred intent apply?
Transferred intent applies in cases of felony murder and misdemeanor manslaughter and from one victim to another.
Mena Rea

Levels of Culpability

Common Law, definitions
General Intent: just intend to do the act; the act itself is enough.

Specific Intent: intentionally perform an act with extra-special intent of doing something in addition.
Mens Rea

Levels of Culpability

Most common law/statutory law crimes are what type of intent?
Specific Intent.
Mens Rea

Specific Intent

Types of Extra Special Intent
Extra-special mental state may pertain to (a) intent to commit another act in the future, (b) a special motive or purpose for commission of crime, or (c) an awareness of special attendant circumstances surrounding criminal act.
Mena Rea

Levels of Culpability

MPC
1. Purpose
2. Knlowedge
3. Recklessness
4. Negligence
Mens Rea

Levels of Culpability - MPC

Purpose Definition
Purpose: you purpose the end result.

Example: A wants to kill B. B is on the plane with others. A blows up the plane. A is guilty of purposefully killing B, and he is guilty of knowingly killing everyone else (see another card).
Mens Rea

Levels of Culpability - MPC

Knowledge Definition
Knowledge: know with substantial or practical certainty a thing will occur and you act anyway.

If you are aware of a high probability that a fact exists but you deliberately avoid finding out then you are guilty, unless you really believed that the fact didn’t exist.

Ostrich Defense (Ex: A, a known drug dealer, gives B a bag to take and B knows A is a drug dealer. B takes the bag anyway, without looking in the bag. The bag had drugs, and B is guilty of possession because B knew there was highly probably that there were drugs were in the bag. B may have a defense if he honestly did not know that A was a drug dealer.
Mens Rea

Levels of Culpability - MPC

Recklessness Definition
Recklessness: conscious disregard for a substantial and unjustifiable risk.
Mens Rea

Levels of Culpability - MPC

Negligence Definition
Negligence: If a reasonable person should have known that they were taking a substantial and unjustifiable risk; negligence is recklessness minus consciousness of the risk.
Mens Rea

Levels of Culpability - MPC
Negligence

Factors to Consider When Measuring Degree of Negligence
(1) ∆’s role in creating risk
(2) proximity of ultimate harm in relation to ∆’s acts, and
(3) extent to which immediate harm was predictable and apparent.
Defenses

Mistake of Fact

Honest Mistake of Fact, though unreasonable, exonerates level of culpability under the MPC?
Purpose and Knowledge
Defenses

Mistake of Fact

What type of Mistake of Fact exonerates recklessness mens rea under the MPC?
Any mistake of fact, reasonable or unreasonable, exonerates requirement of recklessness, unless you were reckless in forming the belief, then it doesn’t exonerate; if your mistake of fact was due to your own recklessness then it’s not a valid defense.
Defenses

Mistake of Fact

What type of Mistake of Fact exonerates negligence?
Any reasonable mistake of fact exonerates statutory requirement of negligence.
Defenses

Mistake of Fact
Common Law

What type of Mistake of Fact exonerates General Intent Crimes?
A mistake of fact must be both honest and reasonable in order to afford a defense to a general intent crime.
Defenses

Mistake of Fact
Common Law

What type of Mistake of Fact exonerates Specific Intent Crimes?
Even an unreasonable mistake of fact is a defense to a specific intent crime so long as it was sincere.
Defenses

Mistake of Fact - MPC

General Rule for Mistake of Fact Defense
Ignorance or mistake of fact constitutes a defense if it negatives purpose, knowledge, belief, recklessness, or negligence required to establish material element of offense.
Defenses

Mistake of Law

Exceptions where Mistake of Law Applies as a Defense
(1) law is not published
(2) reasonable reliance on statute that is now invalid
(3) reasonable reliance on a court decision
(4) reasonable reliance on a public official who is charged with interpreting regulation or law.

- Must negate the mens rea required by statute.
Defenses

Intoxication
Common Law

Is Voluntary Intoxication a Defense to General and Specific Intent Crimes?
General Intent Crimes: No.

Specific Intent Crimes: Yes.
Defenses

Intoxication
Common Law

Is Involuntary Intoxication a Defense to General and Specific Intent Crimes?
General Intent: Yes

Specific Intent Crimes: Yes
Defenses

Intoxication
MPC

Voluntary Intoxication Defense Applies When?
Like common law, MPC refuses to recognize voluntary intoxication as a defense unless it negates an element of the offense.

Voluntary Intoxication can negate a mens rea of purpose or knowledge, it cannot negate recklessness.
Defenses

Intoxication

Examples of involuntary intoxication
The actor is coerced into taking the intoxicant, the actor becomes intoxicated because of an innocent mistake, actor suffers from an unforeseeable reaction prescribed medication.
Strict Liability

What can a court do if a statute has no mens rea?
If mens rea doesn’t exist in statute, then courts have option of reading one into statute or otherwise saying that no mens rea is needed but that the statute entails strict liability. Look at the penalties involved: if imprisonment is part of the fine, then courts usually rule against strict liability.
Vicarious Liability

Do viacarious liability crimes have a means rea requirement?
Vicarious liability dispenses both with mens rea requirement and with requirement that each ∆ personally committed a voluntary act.

Examples of vicarious liability: Your employees serving alcohol to minors
Homicide

Common Law Murder

Definition
Common-law Murder: unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought
Homicide

Common Law Murder

Types of Common Law Murder
1. Intent to kill murder (awareness that death would result);

2. Intent to inflict serious bodily injury murder;

3. Depraved heart murder: grossly reckless conduct that leads to death of another; and

4. Felony murder: kill someone while committing another felony.
Homicide

MPC Murder

Definition
homicide must be (1) committed purposely or knowingly, or (2) committed recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to value of human life.

Such recklessness and indifference are presumed if actor is engaged in (or an accomplice in, or attempts to, or flights from) attempt or commission of (a) robbery, (b) rape or deviate sex by force or threat, (c) arson, (d) burglary, (e) kidnapping, or (f) felonious escape.
Homicide

MPC Murder

Does MPC Murder recognize degrees of murder?
No.
Homicide

Intentional Homicide

What is the difference between 1st Degree Murder and 2nd degree murder?
Premeditation is the determining feature.

Note: Inadequacy of clean up and disposal after the murder, or multiple inflictions of bodily wounds have been viewed as signs of no premeditation. (Anderson case)

Anderson case: To determine premeditation, the court looked to (a) planning activity, (b) motive, and (c) manner of killing.
Homicide

Intentional Homicide
1st Degree Murder

Ways to determine the specific intent to kill for 1st degree murder
Specific intent to kill which is necessary for murder in first degree may be found from ∆’s
a. words or conduct or from attendant circumstances together with all reasonable inferences therefrom

b. and may be inferred from intentional use of a deadly weapon on a vital part of the body of another person.
Homicide

Intentional Homicide
1st Degree Murder

Is there a length of tiem required to form the intent to kill? If so, what is it?
No length of time requirement.
Homicide

Intentional Homicide
1st Degree Murder

As defined by PA statute
i. poisoning or lying in wait;
ii. premeditation; or purpose, willfulness, or deliberation;
iii. committed while perpetrating or attempting to perpetrate: (a) arson, (b) rape, (c) robbery, (d) burglary, or (e) kidnapping.

- Murder in any of these three manners constitutes “malice aforethought.”
- For first-degree murder, you have to intend to kill, not just injure.
Homicide

Volumtary Manslaughter/Heat of Passion

To get a jury instruction for voluntary manslaughter instead of murder, you need to prove:
i. a reasonable person would’ve been adequately provoked under the circumstances;

ii. killing was done under heat of passion; and

iii. there was no sufficient time to cool-off.
Homicide

Common Law Manslaughter

Events sufficient to provoke a reasonable person:
(a) serious assault or battery; (b) witnessing wife committing adultery; (c) mutual combat; (d) unlawful arrest; (e) commission of a crime against a close relative.
Homicide

Common Law Manslaughter

Events sufficient to provoke a reasonable person (I C OREO):
Innocent person unlawfully arrested,
Commission of crime against close relative,
Observing spouse committing adultery,
Response to serious threat to violence or serious battery,
Engaged in mutual combat,
Observing molestation of child
Homicide

Common Law Manslaughter

Can words ever be sufficient to provoke someone to commit murder under common law?
No.
Homicide

MPC Manslaughter

Definition
Homicide is manslaughter when:

i. it is committed recklessly (same as involuntary manslaughter under common law); or

ii. a homicide which would otherwise be murder is committed under influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance for which there’s a reasonable explanation or excuse.
Homicide

MPC Manslaughter

Is the reasonableness of the explanation or excuse determined from the reasonable person standard (objective), or from the actor's viewpoint (subjective)?
 Reasonableness of explanation or excuse is determined from viewpoint of person in actor’s shoes under the circumstances as actor believed them to be.
Homicide

Unintentional Homicide

MPC Manslaughter - Definition
Homicide is negligent homicide when it is committed negligently; it’s a felony of the third-degree.
Homicide

Unintentional Homicide

Felony Murder - Definition
When death occurs (intentionally or accidentally) during course of felony (e.g., cashier has heart attack).
Homicide

Unintentional Homicide

Felony Murder - Purpose
(1) deter felony, or (2) deter accidental/negligent killings which may occur in course of felony.
Homicide

Unintentional Homicide

Felony Murder Limitation
Inherently Dangerous Felonies
Some states restrict felony murder charges to certain types of defenses which are considered to be inherently dangerous.

Most states consider felony to be inherently dangerous if it is either (a) inherently dangerous in the abstract, or (b) was committed in an inherently dangerous fashion.
Homicide

Unintentional Homicide

Felony Murder Limitation
Agency Doctrine
Followed by a majority of jurisdictions.

Under agency theory, felony murder doesn’t extend to a killing, although a result of a felony, if it’s directly attributable to act of another other than ∆ or of those associated with him in an unlawful endeavor.

No liability under agency theory when homicide is committed by person resisting the felony.

Most courts agree that felony murder doctrine applies even when victim is a co-felon.
Larceny

Definition
Larceny is tresspassory or wrongful taking and carrying away of property of another with intent to permanently deprive person of that property.
Robbery

Common Law

Definition
larceny + taking of property of another by force or fear of immediate force + taken from person’s immediate presence.
Robbery

Common Law

Is Robbery a Specific Intent or General Intent crime? Why?
Robbery is a specific intent crime: You have to (a) have a wrongful taking and carrying away of the property of another, with (b) the intent to permanently deprive them of their property.

Note: You have to perform the specific intent at the moment of the taking, and not afterwards.
Robbery

MPC

Definition
A person is guilty of robbery if, in the course of a theft he:

i. inflicts serious bodily injury upon another; OR

ii. threatens another with or purposely puts him in fear of immediate serious bodily injury; OR

iii. commits or threatens immediately to commit any felony of first or second degree.
- An act occurred in the course of a theft if it occurs in an attempt to commit theft or flight thereafter.
- In most jurisdictions, fact that victim was frightened is sufficient evidence of fear required for robbery, even if an ordinary person wouldn’t have been frightened under the circumstances.
- Fear doesn’t necessarily mean “fright,” but more like “apprehension.”
- Threat of immediate force directed at a third person can also suffice.
Robbery

Common Law v. MPC

What are the differences between Common Law and MPC Robbery?
- MPC doesn’t require “immediate presence.” (You can rob someone of something from their car or office, without them being present)

- Common-law robbery requires you to use force at the time of the taking, but not afterwards, but MPC says that force during escape is sufficient. (Ex: You have a gun during the escape)
Robbery

Can a D be guilty of armed robbery, even though the weapon was concealed and never brought to the victim's attention?
Yes.
Robbery

MPC

Claim of Right - Definition
MPC considers a “claim of right’ a defense to robbery. Under this rule, a ∆ who uses force to collect payment for what he honestly believes is a debt owed to him is not guilty of robbery.
Burglary

Common Law Burglary

Definition
i. breaking and entering

ii. the dwellign house of another

iii. in the nighttime

iv. with the intent to commit a felony
Burglary

MPC Burglary

Definition
i. unauthorized entry of building or structure

ii. with purpose to commit a crime therein (unless premises are open to the public at the time or the actor is licensed or privileged to enter).
Burglary

Common Law v. MPC Burglary

Differences between Common law and MPC definition of burglary?
1. MPC does not require the intent to commit a felony.

2. MPC does not require that the building be a dwelling house.

3. MPC does not require an actual breaking.

4. MPC does not require that the act happen at night.
Burglary

MPC Burglary

Is it a defense that the building or structure was abandoned?
Yes.
Attempt

Inchoate Crimes

Definiton
incomplete crimes, crimes that have not caused harmful results.
Attempt

Requirements
(a) an intent to do an act or cause a result which constitutes a crime, and
(b) an act that goes beyond mere preparation.
Attempt

Legal Impossibility

Definition
Legal impossibility is when your attempt just isn’t a crime (e.g., singing in the rain).
Attempt

Common Law Attempt

General Intent or Specific Intent Crime?
Specific intent crime; have to intend result (e.g., if didn’t intend everyone on train you blew up died, that was a defense).

Note: MPC says that you’re guilty if you know something will happen, even if it’s wasn’t your purpose.
Attempt

MPC Attempt

Definition
MPC Attempt: must act with kind of culpability required and:

i. purposely engage in conduct which would constitute the crime if attendant circumstances were as you believed them to be; or (trying to steal from an empty cash register)

ii. does or omits to do anything with purpose of causing (or with belief that it will cause) a particular result, which is an element of the crime, without further conduct on his part; or (shooting someone wearing a bulletproof vest)

iii. purposely does or omits to do anything which, under the circumstances as actor believes them to be, is an act or omission constituting a substantial step in a course of conduct planned to culminate in commission of the crime.
Attempt

Substantial Step

Acts that constitute a substantial step?
Conduct which may be held to be a “substantial step”: (a) lying in wait; (b) enticing victim to go to place for commission of crime; (c) “casing the joint”; (d) unlawful entry of structure to commit crime; (e) possession of materials for crime; (g) soliciting an innocent agent to engage in conduct constituting an element of the crime.
Attempt

Abandonment of Attempt

Is there abandonment of attempt under common law?
No abandonment under common law.
Under common law, the attempt ceiling is higher, so no abandonment is afforded.
Attempt

Abandonment of Attempt

Is there abandonment of attempt under the MPC?
Yes. The MPC allows voluntary abandonment in order to induce criminals to give up their plans.
Solicitation

Elements of Solicitation
has two elements:
(1) encouraging or advising another to commit a crime,

(2) with the intent that the other person commits the acts constituting the crime.
Solicitation

Does colicitation require that the solicited person actually commit the crime?
No. Solicitation does not require that solicited person actually commit the solicited crime; charges are usually brought only when solicited crime was not attempted or committed. If the solicited person acted on the advice or encouragement and committed the crime, then the solicitor is guilty as an accomplice to the crime; if the solicited person was guilty of an attempt, then the solicitor is also guilty as an accomplice to the attempt.
Solicitation

Common Law Solicitation

Definition
- Committed when a person encouraged or advised another to commit any felony or serious misdemeanor.

- The inducement or invitation must have been directed to one individual soliciting the accomplishment of some particular act which, if complied with, would result in the commission of some specific offense.
Solicitation

Common Law v. MPC

Defenses
Common Law: Required proof that solicitation was actually communicated to person solicited; if it wasn’t communicated or was yet to be communicated, then that was a defense.

MPC: MPC doesn’t require proof that the solicitation was communicated.
Solicitaiton

MPC

Definition
i. If with purpose of promoting or facilitating commission of crime, you

ii. encourage or request another person to engage in specific conduct which would constitute the crime or an attempt to commit the crime or would establish your complicity in its commission or attempt.
Solicitation

MPC

Does it matter whether the solicitation was comunicated the the other party?
It is immaterial that the actor fails to communicate with the person he solicits to commit a crime if his conduct was designed to effect such communication.
Solicitation

MPC

Is reunicitation a defense to MPC Solicitation?
It is a defense that the actor, after soliciting another person, persuaded him not to do so or otherwise prevented the commission of the crime, under circumstances manifesting a complete and voluntary renunciation of criminal purpose.
Accomplice Liability

Requirements
To be liable for accomplice liability, there must be (1) the intent to assist the primary party, and (2) the intent that the primary party commits the offense.
Accomplice Liability

Defense
An accomplice has a defense of withdrawal only if he removed all aid and encouragement prior to the time the crime becomes unstoppable or gave the police timely notice of the crime.
Accomplice Liability

Common Law
Parties to the Crime

Principal in the 1st degree
The criminal actor.

- There may be more than one principal in the first degree, but there must be at least one.

- Must be actually or constructively present.
Accomplice Liability

Common Law
Parties to the Crime

Principal in the 2nd degree
- Must be actually or constructively present, to be in position to assist principal in first degree.

- Assistance rendered by principal in second degree is known as “aiding and abetting.”

- Accomplice is charged with aiding and abetting, but if convicted, will be guilty of the substantive crime.
Accomplice Liability

Common Law
Parties to the Crime

Accessory before the fact
Distinction between this and principal in the second degree is presence.

- Can be held liable for all crimes that are “natural and probable consequences” of crime assisted.
• This applies to the principal in the second degree too.
• Many courts refuse to extend Natural and Probable Consequences Doctrine.
- MPC rejects this doctrine.
Accomplice Liability

Common Law
Parties to the Crime

Accessory after the fact
(1) felony is complete;
(2) you know person committed the felony; and
(3) you aid the felon
(4) for the purpose of hindering his apprehension by authorities.
Accomplice Liability

Common Law

If attempted aid is not comminucated, can that person be guilty of attempt?
- Attempted aid which is not communicated to the principal can’t provide encouragement and is, therefore, insufficient for accomplice liability.
Accomplice Liability

Common Law

Requirements for abandonment
At common law, you can abandon your criminal purpose if
(1) you communicate your withdrawal to principal, and

(2) you make a bona fide good-faith effort to neutralize your assistance.
Accomplice Liability

MPC

Definition
You’re an accomplice of another person if:
a. with purpose of promoting/facilitating commission of offense, you
i. solicit the other to commit the offense; or
ii. aid or agree or attempt to aid the other person in planning or committing the offense; or
iii. have a legal duty to prevent the offense and you fail to make proper effort to do so; or

b. your conduct is expressly declared by law to establish your complicity.
Accomplice Liability

MPC

Ways to terminate your complicity
You’re not an accomplice if you terminate your complicity prior to the commission of the offense and:
i. you wholly deprive your complicity of it’s effectiveness in the commission of the offense; or
ii. you give timely warning to law enforcement or otherwise make proper effort to prevent offense.

- Saying: “Stop, Drop, and Snitch or chain them to a fence”
Accomplice Liability

MPC

Can you be convicted as an accomplice, even though the principal of the 1st degree has been acquitted or not prosecuted?

Ways to terminate your complicity
Yes, you can be convicted as an accomplice even though the principal in the first degree has been acquitted or has not been prosecuted or convicted.
Accomplice Liability

Common Law

Innocent Agency Doctrine
If you use an innocent agent to commit a crime, then you’re deemed the principal.

• This common-law rule has now been discarded.
Conspiracy

Common elements of conspiracy
(1) agreement between at least two people; (2) purpose to enter into agreement; (3) overt act in furtherance of agreement (required by most jurisdictions); (4) purpose to promote unlawful act that’s object of conspiracy; and (5) knowledge that unlawful act is unlawful (required in most jurisdictions).
Conspiracy

Wharton Rule
Wharton Rule: Where it’s impossible under any circumstances to commit the substantive offense without co-operative action, the preliminary agreement between the same parties to commit the offense is not an indictable conspiracy.


- Ex: Cars racing: where you have two cars that are racing, you need two cars to race, dueling, adultery, gambling, prostitution
Conspiracy

Common Law

Merger Doctrine
Merger Doctrine: ∆ couldn’t be convicted of both committing crime and conspiring to commit it.

- MPC follows merger doctrine.
- Most jurisdictions today consider conspiracy a separate and distinct crime, whether or not target offense has been committed.
Conspiracy

Common Law

Unilateral or bilateral requirement?
- Common law has a bi-lateral requirement (two guilty minds)
Conspiracy

MPC

Unilateral or bilateral requirement?
- MPC has a unilateral requirement (only one guilty mind is necessary)
Conspiracy

MPC

Definition
You’re guilty of conspiracy with another person to commit a crime if with purpose of promoting or facilitating its commission, you:

a. Agree with the other person(s) that they or one or more of them will engage in conduct which constitutes the crime or an attempt or solicitation to commit the crime; or

b. Agree to aid the other person(s) in planning or committing the crime or an attempt or solicitation to commit it.
Conspiracy

MPC

Defense
- It’s a defense if after conspiring you thwart the success of the conspiracy under circumstances manifesting a complete and voluntary renunciation of your criminal purpose.
Conspiracy

MPC

Requirements for a completed conspiracy
- The conspiracy is complete once (1) the crime(s) which are the object of the conspiracy have been committed; or (2) you nor anyone you conspired with does an overt act in pursuance of the conspiracy during the applicable period of limitation; or (3) if you abandon the agreement, then the conspiracy is terminated for you, and this only if you advise those you conspired with of your abandonment or you inform law enforcement of existence of conspiracy and of your participation in it.
Justification Defenses

Common Law
Use of Deadly Force

When is it permissible?
Under the common law, a person is entitled to use deadly force if
i. the person reasonably believes that the use of deadly force was imminently necessary to combat the use of unlawful deadly force against you; the question is whether a reasonable person would have used deadly force; the use of deadly force has to be proportional; there is no retreat requirement if deadly force is involved; however, there is a retreat requirement if no deadly force is involved; but, when you’re in your own home you don’t need to retreat.
Justification Defenses

MPC v. Common Law

Type of standard used
Under the MPC there’s a subjective standard which requires an honest belief. Under the Common law, there is an objective standard, which is a reasonable belief. Under MPC, you must retreat even if deadly force is being used because if it’s not really necessary then you can retreat, but you don’t have to retreat from your house.
Justification Defenses

Self-Defense

WHen is self-defense permissible?
You can use physical force upon another when and to the extent that you reasonably believe such to be necessary to defend yourself or a third person from what you reasonably believe to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by another.
Justification Defenses

Self-Defense

Must the defendant's belief be honest? reasonable?
Majority of states require that ∆’s fear be both honest and reasonable to have claim of self-defense.
Justification Defenses

Self-Defense

Must a person retreat if they are in their own home?
Person attacked in own home doesn’t need to retreat; you can stay and resist attack.
Justification Defenses

Self-Defense

When is a person required to retreat?
Retreat rule in effect today requires ∆ to retreat before resorting to self-defense only if (1) he is using deadly force and (2) knows he can retreat with complete safety—that is, without incurring even non-serious bodily injury.
Justification Defenses

Deadly Force Definition
force (1) which its user uses with intent to cause death or serious bodily injury to another or (2) which he knows creates a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to the other.

- Amount of force used must be reasonably related to threatened harm which you seek to avoid.
Justification Defenses

Necessity

Definition
Necessity: If harm which will result from compliance with the law is greater than that which will result from violation of it, you are justified in violating the law by virtue of defense of necessity.
In some jurisdictions, necessity defense is unavailable to ∆s who were at fault in bringing about the situation that required them to make a choice of evils.
Excuse Defenses

Duress

Requirements for Duress
- Another person is threatening the defendant with threat of death or serious bodily injury.

- You must reasonably believe that the threat is real.

- The threat must be imminent.

- There is no reasonable escape from the situation.

- You cannot have helped to create the situation.

- Duress does not apply in homicide situations.

- Choosing the lesser of two evils does not apply.
Excuse Defenses

Entrapment
∆s are considered predisposed if they are ready and willing to commit the type of crime charged whenever presented with a favorable opportunity.

Most important factor is whether ∆ was reluctant to commit the crime.
Justification Defenses

M'Naghten Rule

Definition
A test meant to see whether the defendant knows right from wrong. The tests focuses exclusively on the D's cognitive abilities.

- Basically, under M'Naghten, the insanity defense can be successful if D shows:

a. He did not know the nature and quality of the act he was doing.
Ex: The person did not know the difference between "slicing up" the person with a knife, and slicing up steak with the knife.

b. If he did know the nature and quality of the act, he did not know what he was doing was wrong (He did not know the difference between right and wrong)
Excuse Defenses

Insanity
MPC

Definition
A person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at the time of the conduct as a result of a mental disease or defect he lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality (wrongfulness) of his conduct [M'Naghten part] or to conform his conduct to the requirements of law [Irrestible Impulse part].
- MPC does not require complete, 100% inability - only substantial inability
- M'Naghten Lite