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Criminal Law

Fall 1999

Professor Leroy D. Clark

Abridged Outline by

Christopher S. Lee

 

Defining Criminal Conduct

 

Actus Reus – Overt Criminal Act

External Conduct

Failure to Act

Majority & MPC – Failure to act is NOT a crime.

Minority – Requires Reasonable Actions.

Omission – No Duty to Rescue with Following Exceptions:

Statute – Tax Returns

Contract – Lifeguard or Nurse

Relationship between Parties – Spouse, Children

Voluntary Assumption of Care – Failure to Perform as Promised

Conduct creates Peril – Pushing person into pool

 

Mens Rea

CL

Specific Intent

Malice – Murder, Arson

General Intent – Catchall

Strict Liability

MPC

Specific Intent

Purposefully

Knowingly

Not Specific Intent

Reckless

Negligent

 

Mistake of Fact – Depends on MR

MR of Crime         

Application of Defense

Specific Intent

Any Mistake

(Reasonable or Unreasonable)

Malice & General Intent

Reasonable Mistakes ONLY

Strict Liability

Never a Defense

 

Mistake of Law

Never a Defense.

MR, but no AR.

CL Rule Against Ignorance

 

Homicide

 

CL – Murder Elements

Actus Reus – Affirmative Act or Omission

Corpus delecti – Death of a human being.

Mens rea – Malice aforethought

An intent to kill; or

An intent to commit grievous bodily injury; or

Reckless indifference; depraved heart; or

Felony murder.

Proximate cause – causal relationship between AR & death.

 

MPC – Criminal Homicide – Purposefully, knowingly, recklessly or negligently causes death of another human being.

 

MPC – Murder – 1st Degree Felony

1.      Committed purposefully; or

2.      Committed recklessly with indifference to human life

 

MPC – Manslaughter – 2nd Degree Felony

1.      Committed Recklessly; or

2.      Committed under extreme mental or emotional disturbance

3.      MPC – Negligent Homicide – 3rd Degree Felony – Committed Negligently

 

Provocation

CL Limitations to Provocation Defense

Subjected to Serious Assault

Engaged in Mutual Combat without intention to kill.

CL permitted Provocation defense if found wife committing adultery.

MPC

No access to acquittal.

Objective factors permitted – age, gender, size.

Lapse in time not permitted.

Reduces Murder to Manslaughter

 

Felony-Murder

CL

Causal Relationship

Natural and Probable Consequences

Proximate Cause

Accomplice Liability

In Furtherance of Felony

Natural and Probable Consequences

Accidental or Intentional

In the Commission of a Felony

Felony Independent of Killing

MPC

Rebuttable Presumption of Recklessness (jury decides)

Strict Liability if Rebuttal fails.

 

Significance of Resulting Harm

 

Causation

CL Prosecution must prove

Causation in Fact

Proximate Cause

Transferred Intent

CL – If D had intent to injure, and 3rd person injured, MR transferred from Victim to 3rd person

MPC – NO TRANSFERRED INTENT.  P must prove negligence to 3rd party & MR to Victim.

 

 

Attempt - An attempt to commit a crime is an endeavor to accomplish it, carried beyond mere preparation, but falling short of execution of the ultimate design, in any part of it.

CL – D had no defense of Factual or Legal impossibility.

MPC

No defense of factual impossibility.

Requires P to prove D had taken a “substantial step”

Possession of instrumentalities & plan for use is a substantial step towards crime.  ex) Vaden fox hunting case.

                                                    

Solicitation

Asking another to commit a crime.

Solicitation ends with agreement to perform crime.

Solicitation’s end leads to Conspiracy’s beginning.

 

Impossibility

When criminal law doesn’t prohibit conduct engaged in.

AR must exist independently of MR.

 

Group Criminality

 

Accomplices - Liable for crime itself, and all other foreseeable crimes.

CL – Finds no culpability for accomplice where P has not shown AR where action has now effect of outcome.

Accomplice can’t be convicted of more serious crime than principal EXCEPT for homicide.

If principal hasn’t committed crime, accomplice can’t be convicted.

MPC

Act of Encouragement is AR – want to discourage conduct.

Accomplice adopts behavior of principal when encourages.

Accomplice can get same conviction as principal.

Defense of lack of MR possible acquittal.

Latitude for accomplice conviction.

Once solicitation occurs, crime committed.

Solicitation punished at same level as attempt and completion.

Accomplice can be convicted of attempt

Requires substantial step towards completion of crime.

If principal convictable, accomplice can be convicted.

MPC – All accomplices are charged with the same crime as the principal.  Sentencing usually less sever for accomplices.

Actus Reus

Physical assistance.

Encouragement by words.

But Failure to act isn’t criminal, unless duty to act.

Abandonment

Must abandon crime BEFORE committed.

Must disable others from use of contribution you would have made, or make effort to disable (contacting police).

 

Conspiracy

1.  CL         

An agreement between 2 or more people;

To carry out an unlawful act;

With culpable intent (MR).

2.  MPC

a)      Agrees with another person(s) to engage in criminal conduct; OR

b)      Agrees to aid another person in planning or commission of a crime.

3.  MPC Renunciation

a)      Thwarted success of conspiracy; AND

b)      Voluntary Renunciation.

4.  MPC Duration

a)      Abandonment; and

b)      Without Furtherance; and

c)      Advises others or Police.

Notes:

1.  Hearsay may be permitted if:

a)      Statement designed to advance conspiracy.

b)      Statement made during pendancy of conspiracy.

Agency Theory – Once co-conspirator may impute actions upon other co-conspirators.

All actors are co-equals.  No subordinates or principals.

CL

Can be convicted of both conspiracy and crime.

Knowledge of attempt to commit crime suff. for conviction.

MPC – one conviction only.

 

Rape

 

CL

Unlawful Vaginal Intercourse

Force or Threat of Force

Against Will or Consent

Increased focus on resistance of woman

Proof of completed rape – semen deposit in victim

Threat only to victim

B.  MPC

1.      Sexual Intercourse with a female not his wife

a.       Threat of force; or

b.      Drugged; or

c.       Unconscious; or

d.      Female less than 10 years of age.

2.      Threat of Death, serious bodily harm, extreme pain, kidnapping

3.      Perception oriented.

4.      Moves away from:  Against will, without consent.

5.      Emphasis on D’s positive acts of aggression.

6.      Proof of slight penetration; Possible use of condom - no semen

7.      Threat against anyone to force female into intercourse.  Threaten child.

 

C. Mens Rea

D. Actus Reus:  Force, Nonconsent and Resistance

E. Marital Exemption

 

Exculpation:  Justification

 

Protection of Life and Person

CL

Defense against simple assault for non-DF to unlawful taking of property.  Immediate Possession Claim v. Claim of Title issue.

D’s belief in claim of right must be reasonable.

MPC

Defense against simple assault for non-DF to unlawful taking of property.  Immediate Possession Claim v. Claim of Title issue.

D’s belief must be held HONESTLY.

Reckless belief Simple assault; criminal.

Honest belief Negligent; civil not criminal.

Negligence – Injury to another using deadly weapon; not deadly weapon, no conviction.

Allows brandishing of gun to protect from robbery.

Can’t provoke attack.

Pointing gun IS NOT DF.

 

Protection of Property and Law Enforcement

CL

DF in protection of dwelling being unlawfully evicted;

DF to prevent felonious intrusion;

DF to prevent burglary; forcible felony; gun traps OK.

MPC

DF to protect life, lives of others

No DF to protect property.

Necessity

CL

Emergency in natural, physical forces creates Choice of Lesser Evils

Doesn’t apply in Murder cases.

Necessity defense if show harm avoiding eminent.

MPC

Doesn’t limit claim of necessity to any particular source of danger.

No strict eminence requirement

Reasonableness at the time standard.

 

U.S. v. Kroncke

 

Assault

Simple Assault – Misdemeanor

Attempts to cause bodily injury; or

Negligently causes bodily injury;

Places one in imminent fear of injury.

Aggravated Assault - Felony

Attempts to cause bodily injury with indifference to human life; or

Attempts to cause bodily injury with a deadly weapon.

 

Burglary

CL

Break in

Entering – Body Crossing Threshold

Dwelling – Not office or barn

At night – Check for EXAM Night, Sundown

Intent to commit felony inside

MPC

Entering building or occupied structure; with

Purpose of committing a crime.

 

Robbery

CL and MPC

Property taken from person/presence;

By violence or intimidation.

 

Arson

Malice Crime

A.  CL Malice – MALICIOUS burning of dwelling of another.                  

 

Elements – Must prove all parts

Must show Material Burning

Must be dwelling – not store or other building

Must be Owned by another

 

MPC Arson

Any fire damage, owned by self or other; or

Destruction to collect insurance.

 

Exculpation:  Excuse

Duress

Intoxication

Insanity

 

 

Criminal Law

Fall 1999

Review

Christopher S. Lee

 

I.                    Did the defendant commit a crime by a voluntary physical act or omission?

 

II.                 Did the defendant have the intent necessary to commit the crime?

 

III.               What kind of crime was committed?

 

IV.              What defenses can the defendant can use?

 

V.                 Policy – Goetz Case

 

 


 


 

I.                    Did the defendant commit a crime by a voluntary physical act or omission?

All criminal activity must be based on voluntary activity.

 

A.     Elements of Actus Reus

1.           External Conduct – Conscious voluntary act.

2.           Proof of surrounding circumstances.

3.           Specific consequences or results.

 

B.     Failure to Act

1.           Majority & MPC – Failure to act is not a crime.

2.           Minority – Requires reasonable circumstances

 

C.     Duty to Act

1.           Status Relationship – Husband & Wife, Parent & child

2.           Privilege to practice trade – Off duty cop.

3.           Statute – Tax Returns

4.           Voluntary Assumption of Care – Promise to perform

5.           Conduct creates Peril – Pushing someone onto subway.

 

II.                 Did the defendant have the intent necessary to commit the crime?

 

A.     CL Mens Rea

1.           Specific Intent – Property Felonies – Robbery, burglary, forgery, larceny, embezzlement, false pretenses,…

a)      Requires proof of intent with Independent Evidence

b)      CANNOT Infer Conduct

c)      Inchoate Specific Intent Crimes

(1)                  Solicitation

(2)                  Conspiracy

(3)                  Attempt

2.           Malice – Arson, Murder

3.           General Intent – Battery, Rape, Kidnapping, False Imprisonment,…

a)      No Independent Evidence of intent necessary.

b)      CAN Infer Conduct

c)      Vast Catchall Category

4.           Strict Liability – Administrative, Regulatory, Morality

 

B.     MPC Mens Rea

1.           Specific Intent Mens Rea

a)      Purposefully – Wanting to produce a specific result.

b)      Knowingly – Engaging in conduct with specific result in mind.

2.           General Intent Mens Rea

a)      Recklessly – Knows of great risk or harm.

b)      Negligently – Should have been aware but wasn’t at the time.


 

III.               What kind of crime was committed?

A.     Assault

1.           Simple Assault – Misdemeanor

a)      Attempts to cause bodily injury; or

b)      Negligently causes bodily injury; or

c)      Places one in imminent fear of injury.

2.           Aggravated Assault – Felony

a)      Attempts to cause bodily injury with indiff. to human life; or

b)      Attempts to cause bodily injury with a deadly weapon.

 

B.     Burglary

1.           CL

a)      Break in; and

b)      Entry (crossing a threshold); and

c)      Dwelling (not office or barn); and

d)      At Night (contrast to daytime); and

e)      With the intent to commit a crime.

2.           MPC

a)      Entering a building or occupied structure; and

b)      Purpose of committing a crime.

 

C.     Robbery – CL and MPC

1.           Property taken from person or in their presence; and

2.           By violence or intimidation.

 

D.     Homicide

1.           CL

a)      Actus Reus

b)      Corpus Delecti

c)      Mens Rea

(1)                  Intent to kill;

(2)                  Intent to injure;

(3)                  Recklessness;

(4)                  Felony Murder

d)      Proximate Cause

2.           MPC – Purposefully, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently causes the death of another human being

a)      Murder – 1st Degree Felony

(1)                  Committed Purposefully; or

(2)                  Committed Recklessly with indifference to human life.

b)      Manslaughter- 2nd Degree Felony

(1)                  Committed Recklessly; or

(2)                  Committed under extreme mental or emotional disturbance

c)      Negligent Homicide – 3rd Degree Felony

Committed Negligently

3.           Felony Murder –If D is in the process of committing a felony, and kills another, it is Felony Murder

a)      But For Causation – But for the Felony, the murder wouldn’t have happened.

b)      Proximate Cause – Natural and Probably Consequences

c)      CL

(1)                  In furtherance of a criminal goal.

(2)                  Independent of felony.

(3)                  Vicarious liability.

(4)                  Redline View

d)      MPC

(1)                  Extreme indifference to human life.

(2)                  No Vicarious Liability

(3)                  Rebuttable presumption of guilt.

 

E.      Arson – Malicious burning of another’s dwelling.

1.           CL Elements – Show ALL Parts

a)      Material Burning; and

b)      Of a Dwelling (not store or office); and

c)      Owned by another.

2.           MPC Elements

a)      Any fire damaged, owned by self or another; or

b)      Destruction to collect insurance.

 

F.      Rape

1.           CL

a)      Unlawful vaginal intercourse; and

b)      With force or threat of force; and

c)      Against will or consent; and

d)      Proof of completed rape – semen.

e)      May only threaten victim, not victim’s child.

2.           MPC – Sexual Intercourse with woman not his wife and

a)      Threat of force; or

b)      Drugged; or

c)      Unconscious; or

d)      Female under age 10.

 

G.     Solicitation

1.           CL

a)      Asking another person to commit a crime.

b)      Solicitation ends with agreement to commit crime.

c)      Solicitation’s end leads to Conspiracy’s beginning.

2.           CL Defense – Only if no intention of completing crime.

3.           MPC

a)      MR - Purposefulness

b)      Encouragement of another person to engage in a crime, whether communicated directly or not, and whether the solicited person intends to complete the crime or not.

c)      Merger

4.           MPC Defense

a)      Direct interference or informing police.

b)      Involuntary renunciation is not a defense.

 

H.     Conspiracy

1.           CL

a)      An agreement between 2 or more people; and

b)      To carry out an unlawful act; and

c)      Attempt to pursue Unlawful Objective (Actus Reus).

2.           MPC

a)      Agrees with another person(s) to engage in criminal conduct; or

b)      Agrees to aid another person in planning, or commission of a crime.

c)      No Merger.

3.           MPC Renunciation

a)      Thwarted success of conspiracy; and

b)      Voluntary Renunciation

4.           MPC Duration

a)      Abandonment; and

b)      Without Furtherance; and

c)      Advises other conspirators or Police.

 

I.        Attempt

Specific intent to commit a crime and falls short of objective.

1.           CL

a)      Dangerous proximity to success.

b)      Same sentence as completed crime; only one charge.

c)      No abandonment defense.

2.           MPC

a)      Substantial step beyond mere preparation.

b)      Both charges available, one conviction only.

c)      Abandonment defense option.

d)      Merger

 

J.       Accomplice – Intentional assistance in criminal conduct. 

Catch Phrases:  Aiding and abetting, counseling concealing, perpetrating, encouraging or inciting.

1.           CL

a)      Liable for crime itself;

b)      Liable for all other foreseeable crimes.

c)      Natural and foreseeable consequences.

d)      Accomplice cannot be convicted of more serious crime than principal.

2.           MPC

a)      Solicits person to commit crime; or

b)      Aids or agrees to attempts to aid commission of an offense; or

c)      Has a legal duty to prevent the commission and fails to do so.

3.           MPC Defenses

a)      Victim of offense;

b)      Conduct is incidental to offense.

c)      Terminates prior to commission; and

(1)                  Deprives effectiveness of offense; or

(2)                  Informs law enforcement or tries to prevent the offense.

d)      Rebuttable Presumption of Recklessness

 


 

IV.              What defenses can the defendant use?

 

A.     Defense of family, self.

1.           CL

a)      Imminent danger;

b)      Reasonable force and belief;

c)      No deadly force unless countering deadly force;

d)      Not the original aggressor, unless

(1)                  Unexpected use of deadly force in counter; or

(2)                  Retreats after initial aggression

e)      No opportunity to retreat; unless at home

2.           MPC

a)      Fear of bodily injury;

b)      When immediately necessary;

c)      With honest belief

 

B.     Defense of Property - Against simple assault to unlawful taking of property.

1.           CL - Must have reasonable belief.

2.           MPC – Must have honest belief.

 

C.     Defense of Real Property

1.           CL – Citizen held to higher standard

a)      DF in protection of dwelling if being unlawfully evicted.  Must be immediate.

b)      DF to prevent intrusion believed to be felonious.

c)      DF to prevent burglary.  Permits trap guns.

2.           MPC

a)      No DF to defend property.

b)      DF permitted to defend self, others on property.

c)      Trap guns permitted with reasonable use and notification.

ex)  Can use guard dog with reasonable notice.

                                       

D.     Doctrine of Retreat

1.           CL

a)      Bars DF if person deliberately provokes DF attack.

b)      Justification – Reasonable belief of Necessity.

2.           MPC

a)      Bars DF if person deliberately provokes DF attack.

b)      No duty to Retreat in home or business.

c)      Honest belief of Necessity.

 

E.      Law Enforcement – Use of Force – CL & MPC

1.           Misdemeanor

a)      Not witnessed – Warrant

b)      Witnessed – No Warrant

2.           Felony – No warrant with reasonable belief or witnessed.

 

F.      Law Enforcement – Use of Deadly Force - MPC

1.           In felonies, or protection of innocent victims.

2.           Can’t run substantial risk of injuring innocent bystanders.

3.           Must attempt non-DF first.

4.           Permitted to recapture if DF used in initial capture.

 

G.     Citizen’s Arrest

1.           CL - DF when an actual felony is committed and they are acting reasonably (and must arrest the correct suspect).

2.           MPC

a)      Assisting police in lawful arrest.

b)      DF with honest belief suspect is using DF, or threatening innocent victims with DF.  Must act honestly and reasonably, not recklessly.

 

H.     Resisting Unlawful Arrest

1.           CL

a)      Provocative arrest.

b)      Charged with non-existent offense.

c)      Low-level misdemeanor, without search warrant.

d)      Unwarranted physical force.

2.           MPC – No right to resist; unless unwarranted attack.

 

I.        Provocation

1.           CL

a)      Mere words are not enough.

b)      Physical attack.

c)      Mutual combat.

d)      Witnessing wife’s adultery.

2.           MPC

a)      Reasonable explanation or excuse.

b)      Jury – Reasonable person standard.

c)      No time lapse permitted.

d)      Reduction in sentencing; no acquittal

 

J.       Duress – Affirmative defense where D engages in criminal conduct when he believes another person will inflict Death or Serious Bodily Harm if he resists.

1.           CL

a)      Threat

b)      Fear; Reasonable fear for D

c)      Imminent danger – Imminent or Immediate

d)      Bodily harm – Death or Serious Bodily Harm

2.           MPC

a)      Threat or threat to use force; AND

b)      Against D or another person; AND

c)      Where person of Reasonable Firmness couldn’t resist.

d)      Murder permitted in persons with Reasonable Firmness

3.           MPC does not permit the Duress defense for:

a)      Reckless conduct

b)      Negligent conduct

c)      Spousal Exception/Coercion

 

K.    Necessity – Choice of Lesser Evils – Preserve Life; Protect Property

1.           CL

a)      Greater Harm than not acting.

b)      No Alternatives.

c)      Imminent Harm pending.

d)      Situation not caused by D.

2.           MPC

a)      Reasonable at the time Standard.

b)      Imminent Harm not required.

3.           Economic Necessity – Stealing Food; Generally not permitted as a defense, but most Prosecutors don’t pursue these cases.

 

L.      Mistake of Fact

1.           CL

 

MR of Crime       

Application of Defense

Specific Intent

Any Mistake

(Reasonable or Unreasonable)

Malice & General Intent

Reasonable Mistakes ONLY

Strict Liability

Never a Defense

 

2.           MPC – Punish those acting in a blameworthy manner.

 

M.   Mistake of Law – Generally, never a defense.

1.           CL – Felon Registration

a)      Duty to act.

b)      Failure to act

c)      Danger to Society

2.           MPC

a)      If statute isn’t widely known, adequate defense.

b)      If reliance on legal authority, defense permitted.

 

N.    Impossibility – Every attempt is made to achieve criminal goal, but for other circumstances, fails.  CL offers defense to situation.  MPC charges Attempt.

 

O.    Intoxication

1.           CL

a)      General Intent Crime

b)      Allows defense to show lacked MR to commit crime.

2.           MPC

a)      Defense to Purposeful or Knowing conduct.

b)      No Defense to Reckless or Negligent conduct

c)      Involuntary Intoxication – Complete defense

(1)   Not self-induced; or

(2)   Taken under medical advisement

 

P.      Insanity

1.           M’Naghten Rule – Right from Wrong Rule

2.           Irresistible Impulse – D lacks self-control or free choice.

3.           Durham Rule – Mental Incompetence; DC & NH former tests.

4.           MPC Test – D lacks ability to conform conduct to law.

 

 


 
HOME | ABOUT | LAW SCHOOL TIPS | COPYRIGHT & DISCLAIMER

   CHRISTOPHER S. LEE  2001