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168 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Mens Rea
mental state needed for a crime
Essential Elements of A Crime
1) Acteus Reus
2) Mens Rea
3) Concurrence
4) Harmful result and Causation
Actus Reus
1) Either a voluntary physical act or
2) A failure to act where there is a legal duty.
Types of Justifications of Punishment
Retribution
Rehabilitation
Restraint
Deterrence
Retribution
The justification of punishment that says people are punished because they deserve it.
{Retribution}
Kant
- Argues that this is the sole purpose for punishment, and it shouldn't be used for any other purpose (e.g. social good).
- Utilitarian view
{Retribution}
Moore
- Punishment is justified by the moral culpability of those who receive it.
- It is society's duty to punish
- Punishment is also justified by the reformation it does on the criminal
{Retribution}
Hart
- A person may be punished only if they have VOLUNTARILY done something wrong
- The punishment must be equivalent to the wickedness of the offense
- The justification here is that the return of suffering for moral evil is itself morally good
Deterrence
- Justification for punishment that says it keeps people from committing crimes by making examples of them.
- Forward looking
- General: Criminal cases as a lesson for society as a whole
Specific: focuses on a specific criminal.
{Deterrence}
Bentham (Rational Actor Model)
- Pain and pleasure are the great motivators of human action.
- People act rationally
- When the pain of consequence is larger than the pleasure of the act they won't act
- Can increase "pain" via CERTAINTY or SEVERITY.
{Deterrence}
Moral Influence
- People obey the law because the fear society's disapproval or that they will no longer be viewed as a moral being.
Rehabilitation
- Forward Looking
- Based on quaker influences
- Associated with the liberal view of causes and cures for crime
{Rehabilitation}
Causes of crime
- Racism
- Poverty
- Unemployment
{Rehabilitation}
Cures for Crime
- Providing jobs
- Education
- Eliminating discrimination
Actus Reus
- A voluntary act, or failure to act under circumstances imposing a legal duty.
- Must be a voluntary act - conscious exercise of the will.
{Actus Reus}
Martin v. State
F: Police arrest man who is drunk at home, and take him out to a highway to "dry-out". Convicted of being drunk in public
H: Reversed because he was forced into public.
{Actus Reus}
People v. Newton
- Defendant was convicted of voluntary manslaughter because he shot a cop after being shot in the stomach
- Said he was not conscious because he didn't remember it happening/ was in shock.
- Rule: unconsciousness is a complete defense to criminal homicide
{Actus Reus}
Involuntary conduct
Not liable for acts if:
1) Not the product of actor's determination
2) Reflexive or convulsive acts
3) Acrs performed while the defendant was unconscious or asleep
{Mens Rea}
Types of Intent
Specific Intent
General Intent
Strict Liability
{Mens Rea}
Specific Intent
D must do more than desire to bring about the action, they must also intend to do the actual crime.
- Purposely
- Knowingly
{Mens Rea}
General Intent
Only must show that D desired to commit the act which served as the actus reus
- Recklessly
- Negligently
{Mens Rea}
Strict Liability
There is no mens reas required, only the act.
{Mens Rea}
Purposely
Specific Intent
- where it is the “conscious object” or “purpose or intention” of D to engage in the particular conduct, or to cause the particular result in question.
{Mens Rea}
Knowingly
Specific Intent
- Where D does not desire a particular result but is aware that the conduct or result is “practically certain” to follow.
{Mens Rea}
Recklessly
General Intent
- Conscious risk creation. Where a D consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk
- Must be aware of the risk unless they behave extremely unreasonable.
{Mens Rea}
Negligently
General Intent
Where D behaves negligently and certain results follow. Here a reasonable person would realize the risk entailed.
• Doesn’t have to be aware
• Usually gross negligence is required.
{Mens Rea}
Regina v. Cunningham
- Stole gas meter, but didn't turn off gas. people died.
- There has to be actual intent or recklessness for the actual harm.
- mens rea for lesser offense cannot be used as mens rea for bigger offense.
{Mens Rea}
Regina v. Faulkner
- sailor went to steal rum, lite match, and burned down ship.
- Mens rea for stealing doesn't satisfy for burning down ship.
{Mens Rea}
MPC Mental states
Intentional
- Purposeful
- Knowingly
Unintentional
- Reckless
- Negligent
{Mens Rea}
MPC Purposeful
- where it is the “conscious object” or “purpose or intention” of D to engage in the particular conduct, or to cause the particular result in question.
- Pertains to D not reasonable person.
{Mens Rea}
MPC Knowlingly
- When knowledge of the existence of a particular fact is an element of an offense, such knowledge can be established if a person is aware of a high probability of its existence.
- UNLESS: they actually believes that it does not exist.
{Mens Rea}
US v. Jewel (MPC)
- Man had weed in compartment in his car. Tried to say he didn't know
- Positive knowledge is required to convict.
- Consciously avoiding learning the truth can be positive knowledge.
{Mens Rea}
MPC Recklessly
- Conscious risk creation.
- Where a D consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk.
- Pertains to D not reasonable person.
- Must be aware of the risk unless they behave extremely unreasonable.
{Mens Rea}
MPC Negligently
- Where D behaves negligently and certain results follow.
- a reasonable person would realize the risk entailed.
- Doesn’t have to be aware
- Usually gross negligence is required.
{Mens Rea}
MPC Strict Liability
Called Violations under MPC
{Mistake}
Types (Common Law)
- Mistake of fact
- Mistake as to some matter of law, which is incorporated into the criminal prohibition
- Mistake about the existence of the criminal prohibition, or its meaning
- Mistake as to the law that justifies what would otherwise be a criminal act, e.g.,
execution of a public duty
{Mistake, Common Law}
Mistake of fact
- Highly maleable and based on case law:
- Regina v. Prince: Mistake of fact as to age, not a defense.
- Regina v. Morgan: Mistake as to consent. Honest belief is a defense
{Mistake, Common law}
(Mistake of fact)
Regina v. prince
- Mistake of fact as to age is not a defense
- Man took 14 yr old girl who he thought was 18. The statute said that it was illegal to take under 16 girl
- belief that she was over 16 does not negate mens rea b/c he ran the risk she would be underage.
{Mistake, Common Law}
(Mistake of fact)
Regina v. Morgan
- Mistake as to consent. Honest belief is a defense
- Man brought home three men to have sex with his wife. The men thought that the sex with the wife was consensual.
- The court held that even if the belief was unreasonable, that doesn’t matter as long as it was HONEST.
{Mistake, Common Law}
Mistake as to some matter of law, which is incorporated into the criminal prohibition
-Regina v. Smith: Honest belief negated mens rea.
- State v. Woods:
{Mens Rea}
{Mistake}
Abandonment of Mens Rea
- If a statute is silent on mens rea the court will read in mens rea reqs under circumstances.
1) crime is old common law crime (not new and regulatory)
a. New Regulatory offenses: the courts will not read in a mens rea requirement if there is no mens rea in the statute. There they will stick with strict liability.
b. Old Common Law: these crimes have been with us forever, they have been around before codification and we know they were read as intending to include mens rea, so we will read a mens rea req, into it because you don’t want to convict someone with such high stakes.
2) crime carries with it stigma
3) Must be a lot at stake for the defendant.
{Mens Rea}
{Mistake}
{Abandonment of Mens Rea}
Morisette Case
- Defendant took bomb shell casings in abandoned Air Force yard.
- The Air Force argued that the statute had no mens rea, so there should be strict liability.
- The court held the jury did not convict because it would stigmatize him
{Mens Rea}
{Strict Liability}
State v. Baker
- Man was arrested after speeding, when cruise control malfunctioned. - Speeding is a strict liability offense.
- Court says it does not allow involuntary act defense because the driver voluntary turned over some control to the cruise system, which constituted the actus reus.
{Mens Rea}
{Mistake}
Existence of criminal prohibition or its meaning
International Minerals: Courts will imply constructive knowledge
Lambert: Mistake here for non-feasance can be ok
Hopkins: Even if you act in good faith knowledge of the law dooms you
Cox v. LA: Explicit permission can make it ok
{Mens Rea}
{Mistake}
{Existence of criminal prohibition or its meaning}
International Minerals Case
- Cours will imply constructive knowledge for dangerous activities
- Defendant shopped acid across state lines without the proper paper work.
- The statute said that they were culpable if they “knowingly” broke the law.
- Court implied knowledge
{Mens Rea}
{Mistake}
{Existence of criminal prohibition or its meaning}
Lambert v. Cali
- Mistake is ok for non-feasance
- Woman did not register as a felony when she entered LA.
- There is a statute that said she was supposed to.
- The court held that the statute was unconstitutional on due process grounds
{Mens Rea}
{Mistake}
{Existence of criminal prohibition or its meaning}
Hopkins v. State
- If you are aware of the law, good faith won't save you
- Reverend asked the state attorney if he could advertise with a sign, even though there was a statute that said you couldn’t advertise marriage.
- He was still found guilty.
- The mistake here was a mistake of law, and he was aware of the penal code.
{Mens Rea}
{Mistake}
{Existence of criminal prohibition or its meaning}
Cox v. Louisiana
- Permission to specifically do something makes it ok. (but cf Hopkins)
- Defendant was convicted of picketing in or near a court with intent to interfere with administration of justice.
- The police chief and sheriff both gave the D permission.
- The court held that because he had permission, and because there was a lack of specificity, it would be entrapment.
{Mens Rea}
{Mistake}
Mistake as to the law that justifies what would otherwise be criminal act
- Ex: execution of a public duty
- U.S. v. Barker: Helping government official in good faith can be a defense.
{Mens Rea}
{Mistake}
{Mistake as to the law that justifies what would otherwise be criminal act}
US v. Baker
- Helping government official in good faith can be a defense.
- Two men were indicted for going into a shrink's office and rummaging through his stuff.
- They were told it was a gov. operation by a gov guy.
- The majority reversed the conviction because the good faith reliance negated the intent necessary for a conviction of conspiracy.
Legality
- the law must be certain
- People don’t have to actually know what they law is, but they should be able to if they look it up
- Law must be:
1) Certain
2) Clear ascertainable and non-retroactive
{Legality}
Cox, Hopkins, Lambert
- Cox v. Louisiana (protester): Here the law is coming from someone who would actually enforce the law, not just give advice.  Is this the real reason?
- Hopkins v. State (sign): The idea why he was still found guilty is that you can’t have the law just flowing from anyone.
- Lambert (felony register): Odd ordinance, and people wouldn’t know if they committed the crime.
{Legality}
Keeler v. Superior Court
Man (defendant), threatens and then stomps his pregnant wife (pregnant with another man’s baby).
- Baby is born with fractured skull. - The defendant seeks a writ of prohibition, challenging that it wasn’t murder within the meaning of the statute.
- Court held that the unborn fetus did not fit within the statute because of the legislative history (written in 1850), and due process (wouldn’t have notice he would be charged with homicide)
{Legality}
Vagrancy Laws
- Papachristou: Laws that are too vague are not const.
- Morales: Law cannot be so vague that a person of ordinary intelligence can’t figure it out what is innocent activity and what is illegal is not ok.
{Legality}
{Vagrancy Laws}
Papchristou
- Laws that are too vague are not const.
- Vagrancy ordinance, that was very broad.
- It was held unconstitutional for vagueness.
- Precisely worded crimes enhance liberty more than broad ones.
{Legality}
{Vagrancy Laws}
Morales
- Law cannot be so vague that a person of ordinary intelligence can’t figure it out what is innocent activity and what is illegal is not ok.
- Here there was a vagrancy law that said if you are with a gang member, and the police disperse them, and they refuse to disperse they can be arrested.
Homicide (definition)
“The unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought”
{Homicide}
Common Law (types)
1) Intent to kill
2) Intent to inflict great bodily injury
3) Awareness of an unjustifiably high risk to human life (abandoned and malignant heart)
4) Intent to commit a felony
{Homicide}
First Degree Murder
The prosecution must prove ANY of the following:
a. Deliberate and premeditated killing, reflected in a cool and dispassionate manner
b. 1st degree felony murder: Specific felonies must be involved
i. Arson
ii. Robbery
iii. Burglary
iv. Rape
v. Mayhem
vi. Kidnapping
c.Some statutes make killings performed in a certain way:
i. Lying in wait
ii. Poison
iii. Torture
{Homicide}
Second Degree Murder
a. Intent to kill murder without premeditation and deliberation
b. Intent to do serious bodily injury murder, even if premeditated
c. Depraved heart murder
d. Most felony murder cases
{Homicide}
MPC & Degree Murder
Does not utilize the degree device, but instead lists mitigating and aggravating factors which are to be taken into account at the time of sentence.
{Homicide}
Intent to Murder (approaches)
- Commonwealth v. Carroll: It is immaterial the length of time between when the intention was formed, and when the killing took place. No time is too short to form intent.
- State v. Guthrie: There must be some amount of time between the intent to kill and the killing.
- MPC
{Homicide}
{Intent to Murder}
Commonwealth v. Carroll
- It is immaterial the length of time between when the intention was formed, and when the killing took place.
- No time is too short to form intent.
- Defendant shot his wife in the back of the head after a long argument.
- The court held that society would be almost completely unprotected from criminals if the law permitted am impulse to excuse or justify murder or to reduce it.
{Homicide}
{Intent to Murder}
Anderson Test
- From a grisly and ugly killing of a 10-yr-old girl who was repeatedly stabbed.
- Factors include: (These are not exhaustive factors.)
1) Planning activity
2) Facts about defendants prior relationship or behavior with victim that might indicate motive
3) Evidence regarding nature or manner of killing, which indicate deliberate intention to kill according to preconceived design
{Homicide}
{Intent to Murder}
State v. Guthrie
- There must be some amount of time between the intent to kill and the killing.
- Dishwasher stabbed co-worker after teasing.
- The court reasoned that there has to be some amount of deliberation, otherwise there is no difference in the degrees of intentional killing.
{Homicide}
Heat of passion/voluntary manslaughter
Unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought. In most jurisdictions, this means that manslaughter is intentional homicide committed under extenuating circumstances, that mitigate, but don’t excuse or justify the crime.
- The requirements are:
1) Elements of Murder
2) Provocation
{Homicide}
{Heat of passion/voluntary manslaughter}
Provocation
1) A reasonable person would be provoked into a hear of passion
2) Defendant was provoked
3) A reasonable person would NOT have cooled off
4) Defendant DID NOT cool off.
{Homicide}
{Heat of passion/voluntary manslaughter}
Provocation - Reasonable person
- There is a finite list of things that can provoke someone:
i. Extreme assault or battery on defendant (Defendant couldn’t have started fracas)
ii. Mutual combat
iii. Defendant’s legal arrest: Defendant must know or reasonably think that he has been illegally arrested
iv. Injury or serious abuse of a close relative
v. Sudden discovery of a spouse’s adultery: Must be a spouse, can’t be a g/f or fiancé.
{Homicide}
{Heat of passion/voluntary manslaughter}
Mere words Doctrine
Mere words are not enough for provocation (strict common law view)
{Homicide}
{Heat of passion/voluntary manslaughter}
{Provocation}
Girouard v. State
- The standard for provocation is reasonableness
- Husband killed his wife by stabbing her 19 times, because of a heated argument.
- There was remorse – he tried to slit his own wrists.
- Second degree murder conviction was affirmed.
- The court held that it is an objective and a subjective test.
{Homicide}
{Heat of passion/voluntary manslaughter}
{Provocation}
Maher v. People
- Closer to MPC and more modern.
- This is the minority view.
- Man shot another man in the ear after seeing his wife go to the woods with him, and heresay that they were having an affair.
- The court held that the standard is men of average mind and disposition.
- The question of whether the defendant was sufficiently provoked is decided by the jury. Also, mitigated it crime down.
- Dissent: cause of provocation should have occurred in Maher’s presence.
{Homicide}
{Heat of passion/voluntary manslaughter}
People v. Casassa
- Follows MPC
- Defendant dated victim casually and when she broke up with him he became obsessed and broke into her apartment. He knew he was either going to hurt her or commit suicide. He stabbed her and drowned her in the bathtub. Argued extreme emotional distress.
- Court held that for there to be extreme emotional disturbance:
1) Defendant must have acted under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance; AND
2) There must have been a reasonable explanation or excuse for such extreme emotional disturbance. The reasonableness is determined from the viewpoint of the defendant.
- Court here held that it didn’t meet this.
{Homicide}
{Heat of passion/voluntary manslaughter}
MPC
- When a homicide would otherwise be murder is committed under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance for which there is reasonable explanation ro excuse.
- Middle ground btwn standard that ignores all individual peculiarities and what that makes distress decisive regardless of cause
{Homicide}
{Heat of passion/voluntary manslaughter}
{MPC}
Extreme Emotional Disturbance
1) Defendant must have acted under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance; AND
2) There must have been a reasonable explanation or excuse for such extreme emotional disturbance. The reasonableness is determined from the viewpoint of the defendant.
- Personal handicaps such as blindness, traumatization, grief, but not idiosyncratic moral values.
{Homicide}
Unintended Killings
1) Involuntary Manslaughter
2) Criminal Negligence
3) Depraved Heart Murder (involuntary manslaughter)
{Homicide}
{Unintended Killings}
Criminal Negligence
This is where a person’s actions are reckless or negligent and they cause the death of another person
{Homicide}
{Unintended Killings}
{Criminal Negligence}
Majority View
- Something more than ordinary negligence.
- There is a difference between the exact language in the different statutes. Usually require one or both of the following:
1) Defendant’s conduct involves a high risk of death or serious bodily injury
2) Defendant is aware of that fact that his conduct is creating the risk.

- only simple negligence where the defendant was using an inherently dangerous instrumentality.
{Homicide}
{Unintended Killings}
{Criminal Negligence}
Minority View
- Ordinary (tort) negilence is enough.
{Homicide}
{Unintended Killings}
{Criminal Negligence}
People v. Hall
- Recklessness is the conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk for a reasonable person.
- Skier was going to fast, flew over a knoll and crashed with another skier, killing them.
- The court held that the skier’s action was a high enough level of dangerousness to constitute manslaughter.
- The court reasoned that recklessness is the conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that death could result from.
- Based on reasonable person.
{Homicide}
{Unintended Killings}
{Criminal Negligence}
State v. Williams
The conduct of D, regardless of ignorance, good intentions and good faith, fails to measure up to the conduct required of reasonable prudence they are negligent enough to support a conviction of manslaughter.
- Couple did not get their sick baby to a doctor in time, and he died from a tooth infection. The were not very educated, and they didn’t want to get in trouble.
- The court held that a reasonable person in their place should have known better.
{Homicide}
{Unintended Killings}
{Criminal Negligence}
Walker v. Superior Court
- Negligence standard should be evaluated objectively.
- Four year old was sick with flu symptoms, the defendant tried to pray it away b/c they were a Christian Scientist. Kid dies of meningitis.
- Court upheld, and said that criminal negligence should be evaluated objectively
{Homicide}
{Unintended Killings}
{Criminal Negligence}
MPC
Doesn’t divide it into voluntarily/involuntarily
{Homicide}
{Unintended Killings}
Depraved Heart Murder
Also called “an abandoned and malignant heart”.
- Seperated from involuntary manslaughter by the degree of the negligence.
{Homicide}
{Unintended Killings}
Depraved Heart Murder - Elements
1) Conduct creates an unjustifiable risk of death or serious bodily injury
a. Wanton: Conveys a higher degree of indifference, marked by arrogant reckless of the rights of others.
2) The risk is extremely high
3) A reasonable person would have been aware of 1 and 2 above
4)Defendant was aware of 1 and 2 above. Cases are divided as to if 4 is required.
{Homicide}
{Unintended Killings}
{Depraved Heart Murder}
MPC
Because the MPC is really concerned with the end result of a crime, it doesn’t distinguish between involuntary and voluntary manslaughter. There is criminally negligent homicide, but that is the only grading the MPC has
{Homicide}
{Unintended Killings}
{Depraved Heart Murder}
Malice
Here, instead of being implied by actions that are wicked and depraved, it is implied by omission.
{Homicide}
{Unintended Killings}
{Depraved Heart Murder}
Commonwealth v. Malone
- Malice can be made out by wanton disregard for human life/consequence of actions.
- Friends are playing russian roulette. One friend pulls the trigger three times against the other persons head (not traditional RR BTW). D showed remorse.
- The court held that the conviction stood and intentional killing is not required to find malice.
- Malice exists when there is an “act of gross recklessness for which the actor must reasonably anticipate that the death of another is likely to result.”
{Homicide}
{Unintended Killings}
{Depraved Heart Murder}
US v. Fleming
- Being drunk is no defense when act shows a deviation from established standards of regard for life and the safety of others.
- Man was drunk driving down the wrong side of GW parkway.
- The court held that because his driving showed a disregard for human life, he was guilty of murder not manslaughter.
{Homicide}
{Unintended Killings}
{Depraved Heart Murder}
NYC Subway Crash
Subway driver drank before work, and crashed the subway. The jury convicted him of recklessness and criminal negligence, not murder.
{Homicide}
Intoxication
- Not a mitigating factor if it is voluntary for involuntary killings.
- Could be used to mitigate certain intent to kill murders, pushing it to a lower level.
{Homicide}
Vehicular killings
- Old Trend: Vehicular homicide was treated as a separate crime because we all drive.
- Modern Trend: Vehicular killing can be murder when there is evidence that the driver drove in a manner that indicates depraved disregard for human life.
{Homicide}
Felony Murder
An unlawful killing that occurs in the commission (furtherance) or attempted commission of a felony.
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
Purposes (arguments for)
1) Deter accidental killings
2) To make it easier for the prosecutor to convict for murder
a. Malice is posited and doesn’t need to be proved. Expands the scope of liability for murder, even if recklessness can’t be proved.
b. Precludes use of provocation formula
c. Precludes use of diminished capacity
3) Fixes degree of murder.
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
Objections
- Departs from the basic principles of crim law: mens rea
- Leads to disproportionate verdicts and sentencing (Stamp)
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
Regina v. Stamp
- Felony murder doctrine is not limited to deaths that are foreseeable.
- Felons are strictly liable for all killings during the commission of a felony.
- A man suffered a heart attack during a burglary.
- The court upheld the first degree murder conviction.
- A felon takes their victim as they find them.
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
Regina v. Serne
- A man took out insurance on his home and then burned it down, resulting in the death of his two sons.
- The court held that it doesn’t matter whether the defendant had the intent of killing his sons, only that he committed an act that was known to be dangerous to life and likely to cause death, for the purpose of committing a felony.
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
Limitations
1) Time
2) Specific Felonies
3) Causation
4) Merger
5) Furtherance of the felont (Agency Theory)
6) Who is killed
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
{Limitations}
Time
??????
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
{Limitations}
Specific Felonies
- Many jurisdictions limits the felonies that could make someone liable for felony murder.
1) “inherently dangerous” felonies
2) Felonies at Common Law
3) Malem in Se Felonies
4) Specifically named in statutes
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
{Limitations}
{Specific Felonies}
People v. Phillips
- To trigger felony murder, the felony must be inherently dangerous to life.
- 8 yr old had cancer of the eye, which parents were advised to remove.
- Defendant was a chiropractor who told them he could fix it without surgery, and the kid died.
- The court held that because the felony of fraud was not inherently dangerous to life, and therefore felony murder wasn’t applicable.
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
{Limitations}
{Specific Felonies}
Felonies at Common Law
rape, sodomy, robbery, burglary, arson, mayhem, larceny.
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
{Limitations}
{Specific Felonies}
Malem in se Felonies
??????
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
{Limitations}
Causation
- There has to be a legal causation (turns on foreseeability) for the felon to be held liable.
- EX: arsonist would be liable for a firefighter who died in the blaze, but not if he fell of the truck on the way back to the station.
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
{Limitations}
Merger
- If all the elements of the predicate felony are completely within the elements of murder, you cannot use that felony to bootstrap the up to murder by using the felony-murder doctrine.
- The idea is that there has to be an independent felonious purpose for felony murder. Also, if it is within, then nothing could be lesser because of a lack of malice necessary for felony murder.
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
{Limitations}
{Merger}
Cases
- People v. Burton: Armed robber not within merger.
- Ireland v. Wilson: Assault with a deadly weapon is within merger.
- People v. Wilson: Burglary can be merged.
- People v. Miller: Burglary can’t be merged
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
{Limitations}
{Merger}
People v. Burton
- Armed robber not within merger.
- Defendant killed a person in the course of committing an armed robbery.
- The court held that armed robbery is an offense which can trigger felony murder because there is an independent felonious intent of robbery.
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
{Limitations}
{Merger}
Ireland v. Wilson
- Assault with a deadly weapon is within merger.
- Teacher drank a lot of wine, and killed his wife in front of daughter.
- The court held that assault with a deadly weapon could not be used as the predicate felony for felony murder because all of the elements are completely within the elements of murder.
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
{Limitations}
{Merger}
People v. Wilson
- Burglary can be merged.
- Man entered ex-wife’s and assaulted her during burglary.
- Court held that he entered with the intent to commit assault so there was merger.
- But cf People v. Miller
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
{Limitations}
{Merger}
People v. Miller
- Burglary can’t be merged
- Man barged into apartment and when roommate came to help, he killed the roommate.
- The court held that the unlawful entry was enough for the predicate felony
- But cf People v. Miller
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
{Limitations}
Furtherance of felony (Agency Theory)
- Who does the killing?
- killing must be done by the felon or one of his agents
- in furtherance of a common object or purpose.
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
{Limitations}
{Furtherance of felony (Agency Theory)}
State v. Canola
- Victim of an armed robbery shot and killed one of the robbers.
- The court held that because the killing was not done by the felon or one of their agents they couldn’t use felony murder.
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
{Limitations}
{Furtherance of felony (Agency Theory)}
Shield Exception
- If a felon uses a victim or bystander as a shield, and a non-agent kills the shield.
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
{Limitations}
{Furtherance of felony (Agency Theory)}
Taylor v. Superior Court
- Two robbers robbed a liquor store. Wife shot robber, and other robber and getaway driver were charged with murder under felony murder.
- The court held that under vicarious liability they could be liable because the gun battle was initiated by criminals provocation of muttering.
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
{Limitations}
{Furtherance of felony (Agency Theory)}
People v. Antick
- Two criminals were carrying stolen goods to their car. One guy left, and the other initiated a shootout with the cops, which he died in.
- Vicarious liability here is not relevant because the shootout was started by the dead criminal, so the other guy couldn’t be held liable for the suicide.
{Homicide}
{Felony Murder}
{Limitations}
Who is killed
People involved in the crime don't count.
Attempt
- Inchoate crime
- intend to commit a crime, but for some reason, the crime fails.
Attempt Elements
1) Intent (mens rea)
2) Actus Rea
{Attempt}
Intent
1) Need specific intent
2) Need intent even for strict liability crimes
{Attempt}
{Intent}
Regina v. Mohan
- Driver sped up and tried to hit the officer.
- The only mens rea required was purpose or knowledge.
{Attempt}
{Intent}
Common Law
- Need purpose or knowledge
{Attempt}
{Intent}
MPC
- Need purpose
{Attempt}
{Intent}
Rationales
1. Linguistic: to attempt is to try to accomplish, and if one does not intend to succeed then one has not attempted.
2. Moral: One who intends to commit a criminal harm does greater oral wrong than one who does so recklessly or negligently
3. Utilitarian: intent shows that the act was likely to be followed by hurtful consequence.
{Attempt}
{Intent}
Smallwood v. State:
- Defendant did not use a condom even though he knew that he had HIV, when he raped women.
- The court held that this was not sufficient to infer the intent to kill because there had to be specific intent to kill at the time of the assault.
- May be proved by circumstantial evidence.
{Attempt}
Actus Reus - Approaches
1) Proximity
2) Probable desistance
3) Equivocality
4) MPC
{Attempt}
{Actus Reus}
Proximity
- This test focuses on how close the defendant is to completing the act.
- The idea is that you have to have taken the last step right before the actual act. - "Crossed the rubicon"
{Attempt}
{Actus Reus}
{Proximity}
People v. Rizzo (pay roll)
- Defendants planned to rob a man who was carrying payroll. The were driving around looking for him when they were arrested.
- The court held that they were only preparing, and acts of preparation are too remote to be attempt.
{Attempt}
{Actus Reus}
Probable Desistance
- Point at which it is unlikely that defendant would voluntarily desist from effort to commit crime.
- Asks the question whether there was still time for the defendant to change their mind.
- In practice this is very similar to the proximity approach.
{Attempt}
{Actus Reus}
Equivocality Approach
- Based on what has been done so far, is there any doubt that the defendant was going to commit a crime?
{Attempt}
{Actus Reus}
{Equivocality Approach}
Criticism
1. Restricts the values of confessions in attempt cases
2. Could bar conviction where defendant whose intent was otherwise established had engaged in the last act before carrying out the case.
{Attempt}
{Actus Reus}
{Equivocality Approach}
People v. Staples (math bank robber)
- No abandonment at common law.
- Man who was a mathematician wanted to become a bankrobber so he rented property above a bank, drilled a hole, hid his tools in the closet, and went home. Never actually did it, and left his stuff there.
- Court upheld conviction for attempt. Reasoned that he went far enough to satisfy the actus reus for attempt.
{Attempt}
{Actus Reus}
{Equivocality Approach}
People v. Miller
- Defendant went into field to kill X, X was with the local constable. Defendant was carrying the rifle, and he loaded it in front of them, but didn’t raise or aim it. Constable disarmed him.
- Court held that there was no attempt because the acts weren’t unequivocally demonstrative that the intent to commit the act was formed.
{Attempt}
{Actus Reus}
{Equivocality Approach}
Mcquirter v. State
- Jury must find beyond a reasonable doubt that actions show unequivocally intent to commit the crime.
- Defendant was a black man, who followed a white woman and kids. Sheriff said he stated he was going to find the first woman he saw and rape her.
- Court upheld the attempt to rape conviction because they said the jury must be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that, considering the facts and social conditions, the intent to rape and assault was unequivocal.
{Attempt}
{Actus Reus}
MPC
Looks at what has been done (in contrast to proximity test, which looks at what is left)
- Conduct may be assessed in light of defendant's statements.
{Attempt}
{Actus Reus}
MPC - Elements
1) Substantial step
2) Furtherance
3) Purpose
{Attempt}
{Actus Reus}
{MPC}
Substantial Step
- there must be an act or omission constituting a substantial step towards the actor’s commission of a crime
{Attempt}
{Actus Reus}
{MPC}
Furtherance
The actions must have some firmness of criminal purpose.
{Attempt}
{Actus Reus}
{MPC}
Purpose
- Factual circumstances that show purpose:
1. Lying in wait
2. Searching for or following victim
3. Reconnoitering the scene
4. Unlawful entry where crime would be committed
5. Possession of materials to commit offense
{Attempt}
{Defenses}
Common Law
1) Impossibility of law - Yes
2) Impossibility of fact - No
3) Abandonment - No
{Attempt}
{Defenses}
{Common Law}
Impossibility of Law
- it is a defense.
- Here a defendant would is engaging in conduct that they think is a crime, but actually isn’t against any law.
{Attempt}
{Defenses}
{Common Law}
{Impossibility of Law}
People v. Jaffe
- police were running a sting operation, and sold defendant goods that had one time been stolen but had since been recovered.
- The court held that it was impossibility of law (even though it was really impossibility of fact), and therefore overturned the conviction.
{Attempt}
{Defenses}
{Common Law}
{Impossibility of Law}
U.S. v. Berrigan
- Lawyer was smuggling out letters. Law said that smuggling letters without the warden’s knowledge was illegal.
- The warden knew about it though, therefore it was a legal impossibility for him to do the crime.
{Attempt}
{Defenses}
{Common Law}
Impossibility of fact
- not a defense.
- This is when there is a fact, not known to defendant, that makes the crime impossible.
- EX: trying to pickpocket someone with no wallet is still attempt.
{Attempt}
{Defenses}
{Common Law}
{Impossibility of fact}
People v. Dlugash
- Man shot a dead man he thought was alive. Shot him with the intent to kill him.
- Even though he was already dead there was still the attempt to kill him.
{Attempt}
{Defenses}
MPC
1) Intrinsic impossibility:
2) “True Legal” impossibility:
3) Abandonment
{Attempt}
{Defenses}
{MPC}
Intrinsic impossibility
??????
{Attempt}
{Defenses}
{MPC}
“True Legal” impossibility:
??????
{Attempt}
{Defenses}
{MPC}
Abandonment
- Must be
1) Complete: Must totally abandon crime.
2) Voluntary: The abandonment must not be influenced or motivated by the possibility of getting caught.
{Attempt}
{Defenses}
{MPC}
non- voluntary Abandonment
- Not a defense
1) Postponement
2) Dissuasion by victim
LeBaron v. State: Rapist let woman go after she proved she was pregnant. Court held this was not voluntary abandonment.
3) Threat of apprehension
{Attempt}
{Punishment}
Common Law
- In olden times the punishment was misdemeanors.
- Today attempt is usually punished by a reduced factor of the punishment for the attempted crime.
{Attempt}
{Punishment}
MPC
Punishment for attempt is the same as for the target crime, except for crimes punishable by death or life imprisonment.
Accomplice Liability - Elements
1) Gave assistance or encouragement or failed to perform a legal duty to prevent the crime
2) With intent to promote or facilitate commission of the crime
3) And with the same mens rea required for commission of the offense by the principal
{Accomplice Liability}
Categories
- P1: This is the person who commits the crime.
- P2: Present at the scene + aide. Can be constructively present (e.g. lookout or getaway driver.
- Accomplice before the fact: Absent from the scene but helped.
- Accomplice after the fact:
{Accomplice Liability}
Othello
Here lago persuaded Othello that his wife was cheating on him. So, Othello goes and kills his wife.
- So Othello is the principle, and lago would be P2, because he was making noise outside the door.
{Accomplice Liability}
Hicks v. U.S
- Hicks and Rowe were at a party with Colvard. Witnesses saw them together on the main road. They were talking, Rowe twice raised his rifle and aimed it at colvert. Hicks told Colvert to “take off his hat and die like a man” Rowe then killed colvert. They rode away together. - The court held ?????
{Accomplice Liability}
Regina v. Anderson & Morris
- Welch attacked Anderson’s wife. So Anderson got his buddy morris and went out to find welch. Anderson killed wlech with a knife. Morris was convicted of manslaughter.
- The court squashed the conviction holding that if you don’t know that the other person is going to go past the “common design” of the action, then you don’t know what is going to happen, and you can’t have the requisite mens rea for the crime.
{Accomplice Liability}
State v. Gladstone
- Defendant was asked by an undercover cop if he could buy some weed. The defendant said he didn’t but gave directions and drew a map to a dealer that sold to him. He was them charged as an accomplice in the sale of drugs.
- The court overturned, reasoning that there was no NEXUS btwn the accused and the party he is charged with aiding and abetting. There must be a purpose or intent to assist in the crime, being helpful is not enough.
{Accomplice Liability}
State v. Talley
- A judge (D) brothers in law were trying to find a man who had seduced his sister. Friends of the man telegrammed him to warn him. The judge knew the telegram operator, and send him a telegram telling him to not send the warning. The operator didn’t, and they killed the man.
- The judge was liable as an accomplice to murder because he made their act easier. It didn’t matter that they would have been able to kill him anyways.
{Accomplice Liability}
MPC
???????
Self-Defense
Self defense is a justification. That is it justifies the action of the defendant. It focuses on the action itself, and not on the defendant.
{Self-Defense}
Elements
1) Defendant perceives a threat of serious bodily harm or death
2) The threat is unlawful
3) The threat is imminent
4) These beliefs are reasonable
Imperfect Self-Defense
Killing another in an honest but unreasonable apprehension of the need to kill to save one's own life,
OR using more force than is reasonably necessary.
{Self - Defense}
Limitations
1) Retreat
2) Initial aggressor
{Self - Defense}
{Limitations}
Initial Aggressor
- If you are the initial aggressor in an altercation OR
- If you reinitiate an altercation after it is over, you can't use self defense.
{Self-Defense}
Reasonable belief
- Objective: What a reasonable person would believe
- Subjective: Must also be an honest belief.
{Self - Defense}
{Retreat}
True Man
- You don't have to retreat
{Self - Defense}
{Retreat}
Sanctity of life
- You have to retreat if you can
{Self - Defense}
{Retreat}
Castle doctrine
- You don't have to retreat in your own house.
Exception: Some courts say that you have to retreat if the person attacking you lives with you.
{Self - Defense}
MPC
Subjective fear of imminent unlawful force.