Criminal Law

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Criminal Law
2015-06-30 20:21:34

Criminal law definitions
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  1. Actus Reus
    The overt act.  In a crime this would be the action taken that is an illegal act
  2. Mens Rea
    The guilty mind or guilty intentions element of a crime.
  3. Malum in Se
    This refers to something that is wrong in itself, in other words, something naturally evil.
  4. Malum Prohibitum
    This is something that is made wrong by legislation
  5. Felony
    • In most jurisdictions, this is a crime that is punishable by death or by a sentence of more than one year, even though the sentence actually imposed is one year or less.  However, in some states, a crime is a felony if the sentence is to be served in a state
    • prison, as opposed to a county or city jail.
  6. Misdemeanor
    A crime that is not a felony
  7. The Corpus Delicti
    The body of the crime, meaning the prima facie case or the elements of the crime.  Prima facie means first face or at first site.  This means the case must, on first examination, appear to be self evident from the facts
  8. Intended Results Doctrine
    • This holds that if a
    • person causes events to come about which obtain his or her desired result, then
    • that person’s actions are still the proximate cause of the result even if an
    • intervening act was independent and unforeseeable.  This doctrine therefore states an exception
    • to the otherwise applied rule of proximate cause, as defined above.
  9. Doctrine of Contributory Causes
    This holds that when more than one cause brings about the result, then both are equally responsible.
  10. Homicide
    The killing of one human being by another human being
  11. Murder
    The killing of one human being by another human being with malice aforethought.

    Although malice aforethought appears to mean with evil intent, it actually just means with knowledge that the actions or lack of actions will cause a person’s death.
  12. First Degree Murder
    Murder by poison; lying in wait; torture; murder done willfully, deliberately, and with premeditation; or murder that results from a death that occurred during the commission of a dangerous felony – in other words, through application of the Felony Murder Rule.
  13. Second Degree Murder
    All other murders, in other words, those homicides committed with malice aforethought but which do not meet the requirements for murder in the first degree
  14. Manslaughter
    An unlawful homicide committed without malice aforethought
  15. Voluntary Manslaughter
    The intentional killing of a human being by another without actual malice or with malice but under mitigating circumstances
  16. Types of Voluntary Manslaughter
    • Heat of Passion
    • Imperfect Self Defense
  17. Heat of passion
    • requires:
    • Reasonable provocation
    • Acted in the heat of passion
    • no cooling off time
    • defendant did not cool off
  18. imperfect Self-Defense
    Murder may be reduced to manslaughter may be reduced to manslaughter if the defendant kills under an unreasonable mistake about the need for self-defense
  19. Involuntary Manslaughter
    the unintentional killing of a human being by another human being without malice but under circumstances involving gross negligence.
  20. Types of Involuntary Manslaughter
    Gross negligence

    Misdemeanor-Manslaughter - when a death occurs accidentally during a misdemeanor
  21. Malice Aforethought
    • This exists when the defendant has a “man endangering state of mine” as evidences by one of the following intentions:
    • a. An intent to kill as expressed by the defendant.
    • b. An intent to cause someone serious bodily harm as implied by the actions of the defendant.
    • c. A wanton and willful disregard of human life as implied by the actions of the defendant.
    • d. An intent to resist a lawful arrest in a dangerous manner as implied by the actions of the defendant.
    • e. An intent to commit a dangerous felony as implied by the actions of the defendant.
  22. Willful
    Done with intent
  23. Transferred Intent
    Intent can be transferred similar to Torts law in that if one injures a third party while intending to injury X, the intent transfers
  24. Deliberation
    To Carefully consider
  25. Premeditation
    To think out or plan beforehand
  26. Actual Cause or Cause in Fact
    The cause that starts, ignites or makes possible the act, which follows and is determined by the “but for” or “substantial factor” test.
  27. Proximate Cause
    An act, which in a natural and continuous sequence of events, unbroken by the unforeseeable, independent, intervening acts, causes injury to the plaintiff, without which the injury would not have occurred.
  28. Fleeing Felon Standard
    • A law enforcement officer may use deadly force against a fleeing felon if 
    • Necessary to prevent the felons escape
    • Fleeing felon threatened the officer with a weapon
    • The officer gives the felon some warning
  29. Assault
    The intentional threatening of another with a battery and the creating of apprehension of immediate bodily harm in the victim.
  30. Battery
    The intentional and unlawful, or harmful or offensive touching of the person of another.
  31. False Imprisonment
    The unprivileged restraint of another person’s freedom of movement.
  32. Kidnapping
    the unlawful confinement of another, accompanied by either a moving (asportation) of the victim or a secreting of him done for the purpose of accomplishing some other objective
  33. Rape
    Rape is unlawful sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent.

    C/L requires the woman be other than the man's wife
  34. Statutory Rape:
    Statutory Rape is the unlawful sexual intercourse with a willing female under the age of consent
  35. Sodomy
    Sodomy is the term used generically to cover what the common law or State Legislatures regard as seriously “deviate” or “unnatural” sexual practices
  36. Mayhem
    Mayhem is the malicious maiming or disfiguring of another
  37. Burglary - Common Law
    Burglary is the breaking and entering of the dwelling house of another in the nighttime with the intent to commit a felony therein.
  38. Statutory Burglary
    Statutory Burglary is any entry into a structure or vehicle with the intent to commit a felony or the intent to commit theft, including petty theft.
  39. Common Law Arson
    Arson is the malicious burning of the dwelling house of another
  40. Statutory Arson
    Statutory arson is the malicious burning of any structure
  41. Larceny
    the trespassory taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with intent to permanently deprive the owner thereof
  42. Larceny by Trick or Deceit
    larceny created through a constructive trespass where consent to take and carry the property of another was obtained by fraud.
  43. Obtaining Property by False Pretenses
    Obtaining property by false pretenses is the obtaining of possession and title to the personal property of another through false representations of fact with the intent to defraud.
  44. Embezzlement
    is the fraudulent appropriation of personal property by one to whom possession has been entrusted.
  45. Robbery
    is larceny from the person of another by use of violence or intimidation
  46. Receiving Stolen Property
    results from the acquisition of control of stolen property, with knowledge at the time of receipt thereof that the same is stolen, when such is done with wrongful intent.
  47. Forgery
    is the false making or material alteration of any writing of legal significance with the intent to defraud
  48. Uttering
    is to pass or make use of a forged instrument, knowing that it is forged, with the intent to defraud
  49. Extortion
    is the corrupt collection of fees or other things of value by government officials or those acting in an official capacity, such as lawyers representing a client
  50. Blackmail
    is the unlawful extraction or communication for extraction of money or other valuables by means of a threat not sufficient for robbery
  51. Misprision of a Felony
    was, at common law, the nondisclosure of a known felony of another.  However modernly it is the concealment of a known felony of another.
  52. Compounding the Crime
    involves the acceptance of anything of value under an unlawful agreement not to prosecute a known offender, or to limit or to otherwise hinder the prosecution of his case.
  53. Perjury
    results from a false oath or affirmation in a judicial proceeding in regard to a material matter
  54. Bribery
    The corrupt payment or receipt of private consideration for official action
  55. Breach of Peace
    This can result from any willful act which unreasonably disturbs the public peace; for example, breaking the windows of a house, “peeping Tom” acivities, etc…
  56. Affray
    A mutual fight in a public place
  57. Unlawful Assembly
    a meeting of three or more people with a common plan which, if carried out, would result in the commission of a crime by open force or some lawful or unlawful act in a manner likely to cause apprehension of a breach of the peace
  58. Rout
    The movement of unlawful assemblers for the purpose of carrying out the common design.
  59. Riot
    a tumultuous disturbance of the peace by three or more persons acting together to commit a crime by open force or to carry out any common enterprise
  60. Solicitation
    This occurs when one counsels, incites, solicits, or requests another to commit an unlawful act
  61. Attempt
    when criminal intent becomes accompanied by an act which comes within close proximity of committing a crime
  62. Conspiracy
    a combination of two or more persons in an agreement to accomplish a criminal or unlawful act or to do a lawful act by criminal or unlawful means.  

    Modernly At least one has to make an overt act in the advancement of the crime
  63. Liability for crimes of co-conspirators
    Conspirators are liable for the crimes of co-consirators if the crimes were committed in furtherance of the objective adn were reasonably foreseeable
  64. Defenses to Conspiracy
    Withdrawal - Once the conspiracy is created, cannot withdraw from conspiracy, but they can withdraw fo purposes of future crimes of co-conspirators if they communicate their withdrawal to co-conspirators and take affirmative action to withdraw

    • Factual impossibility is not a defense
    • Legal impossibility is a defense
  65. Accessory
    One who, with knowledge, does counsel, command, encourage, or aid in the perpetration of a crime
  66. Defenses to Accessory
    Withdrawal prior to the crime being committed is the only defense
  67. Merger
    • Solicitation and Attempt merge into the actual crime
    • Conspiracy does not merge into the actual crime
  68. Principal in the First Degree
    the actual perpetrator of a felony
  69. Principal in the Second Degree
    One who is not the actual perpetrator but is actually or constructively present and qualifies as an accessory
  70. Accessory After the Fact
    One who is not the perpetrator but who, with knowledge that the crime was actually committed, aids the felon in avoiding arrest, conviction or punishment
  71. The M'Naghten Rule or the Right vs. Wrong Test of Insanity
    The test that holds that a person suffering from a mental disease of the mine is entitled to the defense of insanity when he does not know what he is doing or does not know that what he is doing is wrong.  Also a defendant is entitled to the defense of insanity if he suffers from an insane delusion and if the notion embodied in the delusion and believed to be a fact would excuse the defendant had the fact been true.
  72. Insane Delusion
    The product of a mental disorder wherein the defendant has a false belief in something that would be incredible to others and those beliefs remain persistent despite proof to the contrary
  73. The Irresistible Impulse Test
    A defendant is entitled to the defense of insanity if he, because of a mental disorder, know that he is doing wrong but cannot control his behavior
  74. The Substantial Capacity Test or Model Penal Code Test
    A defendant is entitled to the defense of insanity if at the time of such conduct, as a result of a mental disease or defect, he lacks substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or the capacity to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.
  75. The Durham Rule also
    known as the Product Rule
    A defendant is entitled to the defense of insanity if because of a mental disease or defect, an unlawful act was committed
  76. The Diminished Capacity Test, also known as the Wells-Gorshen Rule
    This is not a complete defense but does hold that evidence of mental infirmity not amounting to insanity is admissible and should be considered on questions of premeditation, deliberation, and malice
  77. Defense of Self Defense
    One who is without fault and is either attacked, or in imminent fear of being attack, may use reasonable force to defend against such attack.  This includes using deadly force if the person doing the attacking uses what would appear as deadly force to a reasonable person in the same circumstance.  Also, deadly force may be used if the person is being attacked in their home.  However, if the ability to retreat is available and reasonable, it should be taken.
  78. Defense of Defense of Others
    A person may use reasonable force to defend another under certain circumstances.  In jurisdictions that apply the reasonable appearances test, a person, in good faith and in ignorance of the other’s fault, may defend another if it is one who he is authorized to protect by statute and if reasonable appearances show the other need defense. (MIN)  In step in the shoes jurisdictions, defense of others is limited to circumstances where the other is entitled to the defense of self defense only.
  79. Defense of Property
    A person is privileged to use reasonable force falling short of that likely to cause death or serious bodily harm in defense of his property.
  80. Defense of Prevention of a Crime
    A person can use reasonable force in prevention of a crime, and such force can be deadly force if reasonably necessary to prevent a dangerous felony such as burglary, arson, rape, robbery, or mayhem.
  81. Defense of Privilege of Public Authority
    A person who has public authority to commit an act is not criminally liable.
  82. Defense of Mistake of Fact
    A mistake of fact will disprove a criminal charge if it is honestly entertained, based upon reasonable grounds and if of such a nature that the conduct would have been lawful had the facts been as they were supposed to be.
  83. Defense of Mistake of Law
    Mistake of Law is not a valid defense to a crime except in those rare instances where it negates an essential element of the crime
  84. Defense of Entrapment
    This exists when a law enforcement officer (or an agent of an officer) solicits, induces or encourages another to commit a crime which the other would not otherwise have committed.
  85. Defense of Unconsciousness
    One who is unconscious, for instance, someone walking in their sleep, does not have the capacity to commit a crime
  86. Defense of Infancy
    A child under the age of 7 does not have the capacity to commit a crime and that there is a rebuttable presumption that a child between the ages of 7 and 14 is incapable of committing any crime but that a child over the age of 14 has the same capacity to commit a crime as an adult.
  87. Defense of Involuntary Intoxication
    This will excuse one’s actions to the same extent as would a mental disorder if the involuntary intoxication of alcohol or drugs occurred as a result of force, fraud, medical prescription, reasonable mistake or the like
  88. Defense of Voluntary Intoxication
    This will not constitute a complete defense unless the intoxication has developed into a permanent mental disorder.  It may mitigate the degree of severity of the crime charged.
  89. Defense of Impossiblity
    Factual Impossibility - arises when the defendant makes a mistake concerning an issue of fact.  This is not a valid defense

    Legal Impossibility - arises when the defendant incorrectly believes that what he is doing is criminal when it is not.  This is a valid defense.