Criminal Law

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Criminal Law
2012-07-03 15:20:59
Criminal Law

Criminal Law
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  1. Felonies (Defintions and Specific Offenses at Common Law)
    • Crime punishable by death or imprisonment of more than one year:
    • Burglary
    • Arson
    • Robbery
    • Rape
    • Larceny
    • Murder
    • Manslaughter
    • Mayhem  
  2. Misdemeanor Definition
    • Punishable by imprisonment for less than one year or by only a fine
    • At common law, all non-felonious crimes 
  3. Definition of Malum Prohibitum
    Act that is only wrong because it violates a statute
  4. Definition of Malum in Se
    • Act that is inherently wrong or evil
    • Crimes invoving general criminal intent or moral turpitude 
  5. Void-for-vagueness doctrine
    • Statutes must be fair and consistent
    • Not arbitrarily or erratically enforced
    • Must be specific and give person of ordinary intelligence fair notice of conduct that is prohibited  
  6. Elements of a Crime 
    • Actus Reus (guilty act)
    • Mens Rea (guilty mind)
    • Concurrence in time
    • Occurance of a result    
  7. Acts Meeting Actus Reus Requirement
    • Voluntary act that causes unlawful result;
    • An omission to act where defendant is under legal duty;
    • Vicarious liability where defendant is responsible for acts of a third party  
  8. When Criminal Liability Can be Imposed for Ommission to Act (Actus Reus)
    • Legal duty to act; and
    • Defendant can physically perform act 
  9. How Legal Duties Arise (For purpose of Omission to Act)
    • By statute
    • By contract
    • By relationship
    • Where voluntary undertaking began
    • Where someone creates another person's risk of peril    
  10. Insufficient/Sufficient Acts (Actus Reus)
    • Insufficient: reflexive, convulsive, unconsciously performed; otherwise involuntary
    • Sufficent: Habitual acts that one is aware of is conscious and voluntary 
  11. Types of Mens Rea
    • Intentionally: D desires his actions to cause certain consequences or knows that the acts are substantially certain to produce consequences
    • Knowingly: D knows nature/result of conduct
    • Purposely: Conscious objective to engage in conduct or cause result
    • Willfully: Implies evil purpose in crimes involving moral turpitude
    • Recklessly: D consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a material element exits or will result from his crime; disregard be "gross deviation"
    • Criminal negligence: D's conduct creates high degree of risk death or serious injury beyond tort standard     
  12. Specific Intent (Mens Rea)
    • D wants, hopes, or wishes conduct will bring about a particular result; regardless of likelihood; or
    • D is substantially certain purposeful act will have a particular result, even if he does not necessarily want a particular result  
  13. Specific Intent Crimes
    • First-degree murder
    • Theft crimes: larceny, robbery, extortion, embezzlement, false prestenses; and receiving stolen property
    • Burglary
    • Inchoate crimes
    • Assault    
  14. Defenses to Specific Intent Crimes
    • General defenses
    • Voluntary intoxication
    • Unreasonable mistake  
  15. General Intent (Mens Rea)
    • Merely requires commission of an unlawful act
    • Intent only volunarily and purposely 
  16. General Intent Crimes
    • Rape
    • Battery
    • Kidnapping
    • False imprisonment
    • Involuntary manslaughter
    • Depraved-heart murder    
  17. Malice (Mens Rea)
    • Defendant acts 
    • Intentionally or with reckless disregard
    • Of an obvious or known risk
    • That the particular harmful resort will occur
  18. Malicious Crimes
    • Common law murder
    • Arson
  19. Strict Liability (Mens Rea)
    Culpability is imposed on defendant merely for doing the prohibited act
  20. Strict Liability Crimes (Categories and Examples)
    • Regulatory offenses (traffic violations, admin statutes, etc)
    • Public welfare offenses (regulation of firearms, food and drugs)
    • Morality crimes (statutory rape and bigamy)  
  21. Transferred Intent Doctrine
    Preserves liability where defendant intends criminal conduct against one party but results in harm to another
  22. Concurrence in Time
    Mental state puts act or omission into action
  23. Occurence of a result
    • Necessary in some but not most crimes
    • Actual and proximate cause
  24. Actual Cause
    • But-for test
    • If multiple parties, then "substantial factor" in result
  25. Proximate Cause
    • Harm within the risk created by defendant's conduct in crimes involving negligence or recklessness
    • Eggshell skull rule applies
  26. Definition of Homocide
    • An action or actions by the defendant
    • Cause of death of another person
    • With criminal intent
    • Without legal excuse or justification
  27. Common Law Definition of Murder
    Unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought
  28. Actus Reus of Murder
    • Voluntary act;
    • Involuntary act arising from a voluntary act;
    • Omission to act where a legal duty exists
  29. Causation of Murder - Acceptable causes
    • Common law: "but-for" enough even if actions alone were insufficient
    • Increasing speed of death is actual cause
    • "Natural and probable"consequence of defendant's conduct
    • Common law: results from act one year or less; not applied by most states
    • Accomplice
    • Conspiracy where killing is foreseeable
    • Commission of a felony