Glossary of Criminal Law - Lincoln Law School
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- The killing of one person by another person.
- Murder - Common Law
- The killing of a human being (homicide) with malice aforethought.
(Fetus is not a human being)
- Murder - Modern
- A specific intent to engage in an unlawful act that results in the death of another human being or fetus.
1. Specific unlawful intent
2. Act causes
3. Death of another human being or fetus.
- Types of Malice
- 1. Express
- Malice (general)
- Unexcused Unjustified Unmitigated harm-causing state of mind as shown by intent to kill, intent to cause grave bodilay harm, willful and wanton disregard of lives of others and felony murders.
(No bona fide or good will belief)
- Intent requirement for murder
- Must fulfill at least one of the following:
1. Intent to kill (express malice)
2. Intent to Cause Serious (or grave) bodily harm.
3. Callus or wanton disregard for human life (or gross recklessness)
4. Killing during the commission of a felony (felony murder)
- First Degree Murder
(Criteria - Majority rule)
- Fits one of the following criteria:
1. Specific statutory killing or intentional killings of certain types of victims
3. Certain types of felony murder
- Second Degree Murder
- Any murder that is not first degree murder.
- Manslaughter - Common Law
- The unlawful killing of another human being without malice.
1. Unlawful Killing
2. No Malice
- Express Malice
- The specific intent to do the specific crime attempted or completed.
- Implied Malice
- An "evil mind" exists but no specific intent to commit the specific crime attempted or completed.
- Voluntary Manslaughter
- The intentional killing of another human being or fetus when there is: (1) provocation (heat of passion); (2) extreme emotional disturbance; or (3) imperfect self defense.
- Heat of Passion requirements
- Requirements for Heat of Passion (all required):
1. Act was in heat of passion
2. Legally adequate provocation occurred
3. No "cool off" period between provocation and act
- Involuntary Manslaughter
- Homicides caused by recklessness or criminal negligence.
1. Negligent or Reckless act or lack of action.
2. Caused death of another human or fetus.
- Vehicular Manslaughter
(Minority rule - California)
- Homicide caused by reckless or negligent operation of a motor vehicle.
1. Negligent or Reckless operation of a motor vehicle.
2. Caused death of another human or fetus.
- A crime that is either punishable by death or by imprisonment of 1 year or more.
- Felony Murder - Modern
- Unlawful death of a human being caused during the comission of a dangerous felony.
- Felony Murder - Common Law
- The killing of another human being during the commission of a felony.
(Any killing accident or not)
- A crime that is not a felony and is generally punished by jail time of 6 months or less.
- The attempt to commit a battery, putting another in reasonable apprehension of bodily harm and every battery included an assault.
(No requirement of actual physical harm)
- Adequate Legal Provocation
- Provocation that would cause a reasonable person to set aside his or her normal judgment.
- Criminal Recklessness
- The conscious disregard of substantial and justifiable risk.
- Gross Negligence
- The intentional failure to perform a duty with reckless disregard of the consequences.
- Continuous following of a person and engaging in such conduct as to annoy or threaten for no legitimate reason.
- Unlawful sexual penetration, no matter how slight, of a vagina by a man by means of fear or force and without consent.
- The exercise of power over a person or thing.
- Burglary - Common Law
- The breaking and entering of a dwelling of another at night with the intent to commit a felony.
- Burglary - Modern
- The unlawful entry of a structure with the intent to commit a felony or theft.
- Criminal trespass
- Unlawful interference with, or damage to, the real or personal property of another.
- Trespassory Taking
- The taking of (or damage to) the property of another without consent.
(Common Law Burglary exception)
- [Exception to "dwelling of another" requirement]
Those buildings or structures that are directly connected to, or in proximity with, the dwelling place.
- Larceny - Common Law
- The trespassory taking and asportation of the personal property of another with the intent to deprive permanently.
- The carrying away of the property of another.
(Movement - no matter how slight)
- The fraudulent conversion of another's property lawfully in one's possession for one's own use.
(Element of Embezzlement)
- The act of depriving the property owner of their property without permission or justification.
- A voluntary and willful agreement by a person posessing sufficient mental capacity to undertake an action suggested by another.
- False Pretenses
- The NON-TRESPASSORY taking of another's property with the intent to permanently deprive by use of deception of the REASON for the taking when the victim knows the property will be going away permanently.
- Larceny by Trick
- The TRESPASSORY taking of another's property with the intent to permanently deprive by use of deception of the NATURE of the taking when the victim does not know property is going away permanently.
- Continuing Trespass
- Unlawful interference with (or damage to) real or personal property of another that is permanent.
- A specific intent to commit a crime combined with a substantial step in furtherance but falling short of completion of the crime.
1. Specific intent to commit a target crime
2. Substantial step beyond mere preparation
3. Crime not completed
- Robbery - Modern
- The trespassory taking of property from the immediate posession of a person by force or fear.
- The right to protect an individual's self, family or property against attempted injury by another.
- Actus Reus
- The unlawful act that gives rise to criminal liability. ("Evil act")
- Mens Rea
- Criminal intent ("evil mind")
- Mere Preparation
(Defense to attempt)
- Actions taken in preparation of the commission of a crime but insufficient for a finding of attempt.
- Substantial Step
(Element of Attempt)
- An act or omission to act without which the attempted crime could not be completed.
- Mistake of Fact
- [Defense against Mens Rea/Intent]
Defendant cannot be guilty because of a mistake or ignorance of a fact that he must know in order to be guilty.
- Mistake of Law
- INVALID DEFENSE
In general the defendant was mistaken about the details (or unaware) of the law.
- Exceptions to Mistake of Law
- 1. When the mistake of Law is just like the Mistake of Fact. (The law requires the defendant to know specific things)
2. When the Defendant is misled by an official authority. (Authority makes a mistake in legal notices)
3. When there is no reason to notice the law. (When a prudent and law-abiding person would not know of such a law)
- Two or more people working toward some unlawful purpose with an overt act in furtherance of the crime.
- Factual Impossibility
- Not a valid defense.
Crime attempted, but cannot be completed because of a mistake. (i.e. burglars break into a bank, but the vault is empty)
- Legal Impossibility
- Crime is attempted, but the act turns out to not be illegal.
- Accessory Before the Fact
- A person who combines with the main actor in the commission, or attempted commission, of a crime before the performance.
NOT present when the actual crime is committed.
- The inducement of another to commit a crime.
- Arson - Common Law
- The burning of the dwelling of another with malice.
- Arson - Modern
- The malicious burning of a structure.
- Criminal Negligence
- The degree of negligence necessary to render a person criminally liable. Needs:
1. Reckless disregard for consequences of one's actions, or;
2. Indifference to the safety of others.
- Aiding and Abetting
- Assistance given in order to facilitate the commission of a criminal act.
Not a crime in itself - must be linked to a specific crime.
- Wharton Rule
- Conspiracy cannot be charged against two people when the crime requires two people.
(Conspiracy only can exist when there are more people than the crime needs to be completed.)
- Accomplice Liability
- Liability of an individual who knowingly and purposefully or voluntarily combines with the main actor in the commission or attempt of a crime.
Person is liable for all acts of the other in furtherance of the agreed upon crime.
- Unlawful dismemberment or disfigurement of another.
- Transferred Intent
- When the defendant acts with intent to commit a crime against one person, but instead commits the crime against a different person, the intent transfers to the actual victim.
- Statutory Rape
- Sexual Intercourse with a person unable to legally consent.
(Element of consent)
- The legal or physical ability to act or understand the consequences of one's actions.
- Extortion - Modern
- An attempt to deprive another of their property by use of force or fear.
(Property does not need to be in immediate posession.)
- The fraudulent making of a false writing having apparent legal significance.
- Knowingly presenting a false writing as genuine.
- Co-Conspirator Liability
- If one conspirator does an act in comission of the criminal objective then all co-conspirators are liable for that crime.
- Kidnapping - Common Law
- The abduction and asporation of of a person without their consent to a foriegn country.
(Used to be for nobility only)
- Kidnapping - Modern
- Any confinement of a person within a defined area by force or threat and movement of that person against their will.
- Specific Intent
- A mindset over and beyond mere volitional conduct.
- General Intent
- Mindset needed for volitional conduct.
- Aggravated Assault
- Assault which could result in serious bodily harm and/or is made with a deadly or dangerous weapon.
- Specific Intent Crimes
- 1. Solicitation, Conspiracy, Attempt (Inchoate)
2. 1st Degree Murder
3. Assault as an Attempted Battery
4. Theft/Property Crimes (Larceny, embezzlement, false pretences, robbery, burglary, forgery)
- Malice Crimes
- 1. Common law Murder
- 1. Defense to all crimes EXCEPT homicide (MBE)
2. May be a defense to felony murder, if it negates underlying felony
- Extortion (distinguished from Robbery)
- To be extortion instead of robbery:
a. don’t have to take anything from the person or his presence
b. threats for extortion are future harms
- Excuse defenses
- 1. Insane
4. Mistake of Law
6. Dimished Capacity
7. Coercion or duress
- Justification defenses
- 1. Defense of Others
3. Law Enforcement
4. Necessity (choice of evils)
5. Protection of Property
- Mitigation of Murder to Voluntary Manslaughter
- 1. Heat of Passion
2. Adequate Legal Provocation
3. Causal conntect between provocation and fatal act.
4. No cool down period
- Adequate Provocation
- 1. Mutual Quarrel or Combat
2. Battery: hard blow inflicting considerable pain or injury
3. WORDS OR MERE GESTURES ARE NEVER Adequate Provocation
4. Gestures indicating in intent to attack with deadly force
5. MERE TRESPASS IS NOT Sufficient
6. Catching spouse in act of adultry
- The unlawful application of force to another person resulting in either bodily injury or an offensive touching.
- Co-Conspirator Liability
- Co-Conspirator is guilty of all crimes perpetrated in the commission of the intended crime.
Accomplice Liability for all criminal acts in furtherance of the intended crime including those that are foreseeable and natural consequences.
- Extortion - Common Law
- The corrupt collection of an unlawful fee by an officer under the color of office.
(No prrof of threat, force or duress needed)
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