Glossary of Criminal Law Basics
Other Decks By This User
- Any social harm defined and made punishable by law.
- An INFORMATION?
- An INFORMATION is a document that sets out the formal charges against the accused and the basic facts relating to them
- In most states and federal system, even if a preliminary hearing judge believed arrest was justified, accused may not be brought to trial until?
- ...she is indicted by a grand jury (GJ determines whether adequate evidence exists to prosecute the accused). If there is sufficient evidence, GJ issues an indictment
- Voir dire?
- In order to discover possible bias prior to trial, the judge and the attorneys examine prospective jurors regarding their attitudes and beliefs. The defense and prosecutor are allowed peremptory challenges during voir dire (cannot be based on race or gender)
- Do the following instructions make it easier/harder to convict?
1. The MORAL CERTAINTY instruction
2. The FIRMLY CONVINCED instruction
3. The NO WAVER OF VACILLATION instruction
4. The NO HESITATION instruction
- 1. (easier to convict)
2. (harder to convict)
3. (harder to convict)
4. (harder to convict)
- Owens v. State (Md. App. 1992)
- Language was not invoked: “A conviction upon circumstantial evidence alone is not sustained unless the circumstances are inconsistent with any reasonable hypothesis of innocence." In this case (drunk guy in car in driveway), the totality of the circumstances are inconsistent with a reasonable hypo of innocence- GUILT IS AFFIRMED
- JURY NULLIFICATION?
- In certain circumstances, the jury may ignore the facts and the judge’s instructions on the law and acquit the defendant…If it does so, it is called a jury nullification
- UTILITARIAN JUSTIFICATIONS for punishment: Jeremy Bentham
- All punishment in itself is evil- only should be admitted to exclude some greater evil. Punishment should not be admitted if it's: groundless, inefficacious, unprofitable, or needless.
- Utilitarian Justifications for punishment: Kent Grenawalt
- Possible Utilitarian Benefits of Punishment: General Deterrence (the greater the temptation to commit a particular crime and the smaller chance of detection, the more severe the penalty should be), Individual Deterrence, Incapacitation and other forms of risk management, Reform
- Reributive Justifications for punishment: Michael Moore
- The moral desert of an offender is a sufficient reason to punish him. We are justified in punishing because and only because offenders deserve it. Moral culpability gives society the duty to punish.
- Retributive Justifications for punishment: Immanuel Kant
- Right of administering punishment is the right of the sovereign as supreme power to inflict pain upon a subject on account of crime committed by him.
The last murderer lying in the prison ought to be executed
- Retributive Justifications for punishment: James Fitzjames Stephan
- The criminal law proceeds upon the principle that it is morally right to hate criminals, and it confirms and justifies that sentiment by inflicting upon criminals punishments which express it
- Retributive Justifications for punishment: Herbert Morris
- All have a right to punishment. Right derives from fundamental right to be treated as a person. This right is a natural . . . inalienable right. Denial of this right implies denial of all moral rights.
- Retributive Justifications for punishment: Jeffrie G. Murphy & Jean Hampton
- Forgiveness and Mercy; Retributive Idea 1: Punishment as a Defeat
- The Queen v. Dudley and Stephans
- Two prisoners, D and S, were indicted for murder of boy whom they killed to eat? Boy probably would have died anyway? Dudley killed boy - Stephans agreed to have boy killed. Both Guilty?
- Reasonable Doubt standard
- -Jury must "feel an abiding conviction, to a moral certainty, of the truth of the charge.”
-Jury must be “firmly convinced” of guilt, and should not convict if there is a “real possibility” of innocence.
-Jury must have an “abiding conviction of guilt” which does not “waver or vacillate”
-Jury should convict if the proof is “of such a convincing character that you would be willing to rely and act upon it without hesitation in the most important of your own affairs.”
- General Conditions for Just Punishment
- -The punisher should have “authority” to punish.
-There must be a wrong that justifies the punishment.
-The punishment should be proportionate to the offense and not cruel.
-The punishment should be inflicted only against an actual wrongdoer.
-The wrongdoer must have committed the wrong voluntarily and intentionally.
- Justifications for Punishment
- Retributivism:“just deserts”, “social contract”, God, Hatred,
Utilitarianism – punishment is justified if, and only if, it increases the overall level of social “happiness” or “pleasure”, Deterrence, Incapacitation/risk-management, rehabilitation
- Commonwealth v. Mochan
- Common law permits prosecution of “any act which directly injures or tends to injure the public to such an extent as to require the state to interfere and punish the wrongdoer, as in the case of acts which injuriously affect public morality, or obstruct, or pervert public justice.”
- -Legislature, not court, should define which injuries to the public are criminal.
-Statute should be sufficiently specific so as to give “fair warning” to defendant.
-Statute should not be so vague as to give rise to arbitrary or discriminatory enforcement.
-Rule of lenity
- Rule of lenity
- Where statute susceptible of two interpretations, adopt the more lenient.
- More Principles
- -Language of statute should be interpreted according to its “fair import.”
-Statute should be construed “with regard to the evil which it is intended to suppress.”
-Look at common law meaning, legislative history and prior judicial interpretations to limit application.
-Don’t invalidate for overbreadth when limiting construction available.
- Embodied in U.S. Constitution
- Prohibition on Ex Post Facto laws.
Prohibition on Bills of Attainder.
Due Process clause of 5th and 14th Amendments.
- Mens Rea – Culpability v. Elemental
- “culpability” definition: guilty mind, vicious will, immorality of motive, morally culpable state of mind.
“elemental” definition: the mental state the defendant must have with respect to the “social harm” elements set out in the definition of the offense.
- Model Penal Code § 2.02 (1)
- (1) Minimum Requirements of Culpability: Except as provided in Section 2.05, a person is not guilty of an offense unless he acted purposely, knowingly, recklessly or negligently, as the law may require, with respect to each material element of the offense.
- Model Penal Code § 2.02 (2)(a)
- (2) Kinds of Culpability Defined.
A person acts purposely with respect to a material element of an offense when:
(i) if the element involves the nature of his conduct or a result thereof, it is his conscious object to engage in conduct of that nature or to cause such a result; and
(ii) if the element involves the attendant circumstances, he is aware of the existence of such circumstances or he believes or hopes that they exist.
- Model Penal Code § 2.02 (2)(b)
- (b) Knowingly.
A person acts knowingly with respect to a material element of an offense when:(i) if the element involves the nature of his conduct or the attendant circumstances, he is aware that his conduct is of that nature or that such circumstances exist; and
(ii) if the element involves a result of his conduct, he is aware that it is practically certain that his conduct will cause such a result.
- Model Penal Code § 2.02 (2)(c)
- (c) Recklessly.
A person acts recklessly with respect to a material element of an offense when he consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material element exists or will result from his conduct. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that, considering the nature and purpose of the actor's conduct and the circumstances known to him, its disregard involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a law-abiding person would observe in the actor's situation.
- Model Penal Code § 2.02 (2)(d)
- d) Negligently.
A person acts negligently with respect to a material element of an offense when he should be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material element exists or will result from his conduct. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the actor's failure to perceive it, considering the nature and purpose of his conduct and the circumstances known to him, involves a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the actor's situation.
- Model Penal Code § 2.02 (3) Culpability Required Unless Otherwise Provided.
- When the culpability sufficient to establish a material element of an offense is not prescribed by law, such element is established if a person acts purposely, knowingly or recklessly with respect thereto.
- § 2.02 (4) Prescribed Culpability Requirement Applies to All Material Elements.
- When the law defining an offense prescribes the kind of culpability that is sufficient for the commission of an offense, without distinguishing among the material elements thereof, such provision shall apply to all the material elements of the offense, unless a contrary purpose plainly appears.
- § 2.02 (5) Substitutes for Negligence, Recklessness and Knowledge.
- When the law provides that negligence suffices to establish an element of an offense, such element also is established if a person acts purposely, knowingly or recklessly. When recklessness suffices to establish an element, such element also is established if a person acts purposely or knowingly. When acting knowingly suffices to establish an element, such element also is established if a person acts purposely.
- § 2.02 (6)
§ 2.02 (7)
§ 2.02 (8)
- (6) Requirement of Purpose Satisfied if Purpose Is Conditional. When a particular purpose is an element of an offense, the element is established although such purpose is conditional, unless the condition negatives the harm or evil sought to be prevented by the law defining the offense.
(7) Requirement of Knowledge Satisfied by Knowledge of High Probability. When knowledge of the existence of a particular fact is an element of an offense, such knowledge is established if a person is aware of a high probability of its existence, unless he actually believes that it does not exist.
(8) Requirement of Wilfulness Satisfied by Acting Knowingly. A requirement that an offense be committed wilfully is satisfied if a person acts knowingly with respect to the material elements of the offense, unless a purpose to impose further requirements appears.
- § 2.02 (9)
§ 2.02 (10)
- (9) Culpability as to Illegality of Conduct. Neither knowledge nor recklessness or negligence as to whether conduct constitutes an offense or as to the existence, meaning or application of the law determining the elements of an offense is an element of such offense, unless the definition of the offense or the Code so provides.
(10) Culpability as Determinant of Grade of Offense. When the grade or degree of an offense depends on whether the offense is committed purposely, knowingly, recklessly or negligently, its grade or degree shall be the lowest for which the determinative kind of culpability is established with respect to any material element of the offense.
- Model Penal Code § 2.03
- (2) When purposely or knowingly causing a particular result is an element of an offense, the element is not established if the actual result is not within the purpose or the contemplation of the actor unless:(a) the actual result differs from that designed or contemplated, as the case may be, only in the respect that a different person or different property is injured or affected or that the injury or harm designed or contemplated would have been more serious or more extensive than that caused;
- Specific intent crime
- Larceny: “trespassory taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with the intent to steal the property.”
- General intent crime
- Common law definition of rape: “sexual intercourse by a male with a female not his wife, without her consent.”
- If specific intent crime:
- mistake that negates the specific intent element exculpates defendant. No reasonableness requirement.
- If general intent crime:
- mistake must be reasonable in order to exculpate. If your mistake is unreasonable, you are morally culpable and can be punished.
- Moral wrong doctrine:
- even a reasonable mistake will not exculpate if the conduct you intended to commit is immoral.
- Legal wrong doctrine:
- reasonable mistake will not exculpate if intended conduct constitutes a crime.
- Model Penal Code § 2.04
(1) Ignorance or mistake as to a matter of fact or law is a defense if:
- (a) the ignorance or mistake negatives the purpose, knowledge, belief, recklessness or negligence required to establish a material element of the offense; or
(b) the law provides that the state of mind established by such ignorance or mistake constitutes a defense.
- Model Penal Code § 2.04 (2)
- (2) Although ignorance or mistake would otherwise afford a defense to the offense charged, the defense is not available if the defendant would be guilty of another offense had the situation been as he supposed. In such case, however, the ignorance or mistake of the defendant shall reduce the grade and degree of the offense of which he may be convicted to those of the offense of which he would be guilty had the situation been as he supposed.
- Model Penal Code § 2.04(3) A belief that conduct does not legally constitute an offense is a defense to a prosecution for that offense based upon such conduct when:
- (a) the statute or other enactment defining the offense is not known to the actor and has not been published or otherwise reasonably made available prior to the conduct alleged; or
(b) he acts in reasonable reliance upon an official statement of the law, afterward determined to be invalid or erroneous, contained in (i) a statute or other enactment; (ii) a judicial decision, opinion or judgment; (iii) an administrative order or grant of permission; or (iv) an official interpretation of the public officer or body charged by law with responsibility for the interpretation, administration or enforcement of the law defining the offense.
- Model Penal Code § 2.04 (4)
- (4) The defendant must prove a defense arising under Subsection (3) of this Section by a preponderance of evidence.
- Actus Reus
- The comprehensive notion of act, harm, and its connecting link, causation.
- Martin v. State
- “Any person who, while intoxicated or drunk, appears in any public place where one or more persons are present, . . . And manifests a drunken condition by boisterous or indecent conduct, or loud and profane discourse, shall, on conviction, be fined. . .”
- Actus Reus Requirements
- Act (no liability for mere “thought” crimes).
Voluntary (no liability for “spasms,” etc.)
No liability for omissions (in the absence of some specific legal duty to act).
- Actus Reus – subparts
- Liability for omissions
- One can only be liable for an omission where there is a duty to act, based either on the legal status or the contractual relationship of the parties, or on the fact that the defendant has exposed the victim to a “risk” of harm.
“Status” examples: parent/child, spouse/spouse, master/servant.
“Contractual duty” examples: doctor/patient, nursing home/resident, nanny/child.
“Risk” example: motorist strikes person in the street and injures them.
- Model Penal Code § 2.01 (1)
- (1) A person is not guilty of an offense unless his liability is based on conduct that includes a voluntary act or the omission to perform an act of which he is physically capable.
- Model Penal Code § 2.01 (3) Liability for the commission of an offense may not be based on an omission unaccompanied by action unless:
- (a) the omission is expressly made sufficient by the law defining the offense; or
(b) a duty to perform the omitted act is otherwise imposed by law.
- Model Penal Code § 2.01 (4)
- (4) Possession is an act, within the meaning of this Section, if the possessor knowingly procured or received the thing possessed or was aware of his control thereof for a sufficient period to have been able to terminate his possession.
- Model Penal Code § 2.01 (2) The following are not voluntary acts within the meaning of this Section:
- (2) The following are not voluntary acts within the meaning of this Section:
(a) a reflex or convulsion;
(b) a bodily movement during unconsciousness or sleep;
(c) conduct during hypnosis or resulting from hypnotic suggestion;
(d) a bodily movement that otherwise is not a product of the effort or determination of the actor, either conscious or habitual.
- Duty to Rescue Statutes
- Minn. Stat. Ann. § 604A.01
Subdivision 1. Duty to assist. A person at the scene of an emergency who knows that another person is exposed to or has suffered grave physical harm shall, to the extent that the person can do so without danger or peril to self or others, give reasonable assistance to the exposed person. Reasonable assistance may include obtaining or attempting to obtain aid from law enforcement or medical personnel. A person who violates this subdivision is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.
- “But-for” cause
Concurrent Sufficient Causes.
- "But for cause"
- necessary, but not necessarily sufficient. (i.e. two simultaneous, non-mortal knife wounds which together result in death)
- Proximate Cause -- factors
- 1. Foreseeability of intervening cause.
a. Coincidental: relieves Δ of liability unless foreseeable.
b. Responsive: does not relieve Δ of liability unless truly abnormal or bizarre.
2. Omissions do not relieve Δ of liability.
3. Intended Consequences doctrine.
4. Apparent-Safety Doctrine
5. V Intervenes in Free, Deliberate, Informed Manner.
- Apparent-Safety Doctrine
- applies where “defendant’s active force has come to rest in a position of apparent safety.”
- MPC § 2.03 (1) Conduct is the cause of a result when:
MPC § 2.03(2) When purposely or knowingly causing a particular result is an element of an offense, the element is not established if the actual result is not within the purpose or the co
- (a) it is an antecedent but for which the result in question would not have occurred; and(b) the relationship between the conduct and result satisfies any additional causal requirements imposed by the Code or by the law defining the offense.
(2)(a) the actual result differs from that designed or contemplated, as the case may be, only in the respect that a different person or different property is injured or affected or that the injury or harm designed or contemplated would have been more serious or more extensive than that caused; or(b) the actual result involves the same kind of injury or harm as that designed or contemplated and is not too remote or accidental in its occurrence to have a [just] bearing on the actor's liability or on the gravity of his offense.
- MPC § 2.03(3) When recklessly or negligently causing a particular result is an element of an offense, the element is not established if the actual result is not within the risk of which the actor is aware or, in the case of negligence, of which he shoul
- (a) the actual result differs from the probable result only in the respect that a different person or different property is injured or affected or that the probable injury or harm would have been more serious or more extensive than that caused; or
(b) the actual result involves the same kind of injury or harm as the probable result and is not too remote or accidental in its occurrence to have a [just] bearing on the actor's liability or on the gravity of his offense.
- MPC § 2.03 (4)
- (4) When causing a particular result is a material element of an offense for which absolute liability is imposed by law, the element is not established unless the actual result is a probable consequence of the actor's conduct.
- Common Law Murder
- Killing of one human being by another human being with malice aforethought, and without justification or excuse.
- Common Law Manslaughter
- Killing of one human being by another human being without malice aforethought, and without justification or excuse.
- Malice Aforethought Defined
- “Malice” cover four states of mind:
1 - The purpose/desire to kill, or knowledge that one’s actions will result in death.
2 - Purpose/desire or knowledge that one’s actions will result in grievous bodily harm.
3 - “Depraved Heart” / Extreme Recklessness: Proceeding in the face of a known, grave risk that one’s actions will result in the death of another.
4 - Intent to commit a felony.
- Meaning of “willful, deliberate and premeditated”
- (a) “willful”: specific intent to kill
(b) 2 approaches to “deliberate”:
Synonymous with “willful.”
To measure and evaluate major facets of a choice or problem.
(c) 2 approaches to “premeditated”:
“No time is too short for a wicked man to frame in his mind the scheme of murder.”
“Some appreciable time” – i.e. at least enough time to give the matter a second thought.
- “Heat of Passion” Manslaughter --Provocation Rule
- Adequate Provocation
In heat of passion
No reasonable time to cool off
Causal connection between the provocation, the passion, and the fatal act.
- Questions to ask in analyzing whether the “provocation rule” has been met.
- 1. Has there been adequate provocation?
A. Does the provocation fall within the traditional rule?
- 1A. Does the provocation fall within the traditional rule?
- i. Extreme assault or battery?
ii. Mutual combat (so that Δ cannot be fairly characterized as aggressor)? iii.Injury or serious abuse of Δ’s close relative?
iv.Sudden discovery of spouse’s adultery?
- 1B. Would the provocation cause a “reasonable person” to lose control of her temper under the circumstances?
- i. Who is “reasonable person”?
ii. What circumstances or characteristics can be considered?
(a) Circumstances affecting gravity of offense?
(b) Circumstances affecting Δ’s self-control?
iii. Does the provocation consist of words?
(a) Are the words informational or insulting?
(b) Are the words accompanied by conduct or threat of conduct? --prior assault or battery? --threat of future assault or battery?
--Did V have actual or apparent ability to do harm to Δ?
- 1C. Is V the provoker or a third-party?
- i. If third-party, what is Δ’s state of mind with respect to V’s killing?
(b) extremely reckless? (c) reckless/negligent?
- 2. Did the Δ actually act in the heat of passion?
- A. Did the provocation actually cause Δ to feel anger, jealousy, fear or other strong emotion?
B. Was the emotion strong enough to cause Δ to lose self-control?
C. Was Δ in grip of this emotion at time of killing, or had Δ cooled off?
- 3. Has there been reasonable time to cool off?
- A. How much time elapsed between provocation and killing?
B. Would a reasonable person have cooled off during that time period?
C. Did V take any subsequent actions to rekindle the provocation?
- "Adequate" provocation (traditional rule)
- “traditional” rule: extreme assault or battery on defendant; mutual combat; defendant’s illegal arrest; injury or serious abuse of defendant’s close relative; sudden discovery of spouse’s adultery.
- "Adequate" provocation (modern rule)
- “modern” rule: provocation is such that “might render ordinary men, of fair, average disposition, liable to act rashly or without due deliberation or reflection, and from passion, rather than judgment.”
- "Justification-like" component
- Victim’s actions inherently wrongful (or even criminal). Society wants you to feel provoked in these circumstances.
- majority rule
- Thus, majority rule is provocation only mitigates intentional killing of provoker, not third party (although it might mitigate the accidental killing of third party while trying to kill provoker).
- "Excuse-like" component
- Society does not want you to lose control and kill the victim, but understands why you might lose control.
- PEOPLE v. SUPERIOR COURT (CA 1992)(DU shot Latasha Harkins)
- How Much Punishment should be Imposed? RULE: Voluntary Manslaughter is intentional with no defense and the defendant should be sent to state prison.
By convicting defendant, jury impliedly found defendant had intent to kill and that the killing was unlawful (neither excusable or justifiable)
- PEOPLE v. DU (CA 1991)
Three reasons why this is a unusual case:
- 1.Statute is aimed at criminals who arm themselves when they go out and commit other crimes
2.Defendant has no prior record
3.Defendant participated in the crime under circumstances of great provocation, coercion, and duress.
- PEOPLE v. DU (CA 1991)
REASONING: In issuing a sentence, must consider objectives of sentencing:
- 1.To protect society
2.To punish the defendant for committing a crime
3.To encourage the defendant to lead a law-abiding life
4.To deter others
5.To isolate the defendant so she can’t commit other crimes
6.To secure restitution
7.To seek uniformity in sentencing
- UNITED STATES v. JACKSON (US SC 7TH CIRCUIT 1987)
- Jackson was clearly a career criminal. Specific deterrence had failed and the court was entitled to use general deterrence and incapacitation. Concurring opinion: is it necessary to hold him well into old age . . . until the “day he dies?” A civilized society locks up bank robbers until age makes them harmless but it does not keep them in prison until they die.
- Proportionality of punishment:
Immanuel Kant's "Right of Retaliation"
- “If you slander another, you slander yourself” means “If you ____ another, you ____ yourself”
- Propertionality of Punishment:
The general object of all laws is to prevent mischief:
- a.No offense whatsoever may be committed
b.Commit an offense less mischievous rather than the one more mischievous
c.Do no more mischief than is necessary to his purpose
d.Prevent mischief at cheap a rate as possible
- 8th Amendment
- Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.
Beginning in 1910- “cruel and unusual punishment” could mean excessive length or severity disproportionate to the offense charged
- COKER v. GEORGIA (1977)
- Whether the death penalty is a cruel and unusual form of punishment? A punishment is “excessive” and unconstitutional if it (1) makes no measurable contribution to acceptable goals of punishment hence is nothing more than the purposeless and needless imposition of pain and suffering OR (2) is grossly out of proportion to the severity of the crime.
Death is disproportionate penalty for the crime of raping an adult woman - Excessive penalty because rapist does not take human life
- EWING v. CALIFORNIA (2003)
- Whether 8th Amendment prohibits a prison term of 25 to life under State’s “Three Strikes and You’re Out” law? Ewing’s sentence is justified by the State’s public-safety interest in incapacitating and deterring recidivist felons. Three strikes laws share a common goal of protecting the public safety by providing lengthy prison terms for habitual felons.
- KEELER v. SUPERIOR COURT (1970)
- Bastard kneed pregnant ex-wife.
Issue: Whether an unborn but viable fetus is a “human being” within the meaning of the CA statute defining murder?
Reasoning: According to common law of abortional homicide, an infant could not be the subject of homicide at common law unless it had been born alive. Operates like an ‘ex post facto law’ (US S.Ct.)
- IN RE BANKS (SC NC 1978)
- “Peeping Tom” statute vague? Criminal statutes must be strictly construed. Held statute Isn'T UNCONSTITUTIONAL FOR OVERBREADTH. A statute should be judged in the light of its common law meaning, its statutory history and the prior judicial interpretation of its particular terms.
- City of Chicago v. Morales (SC 1999)
- Chicago City Council enacted Gang Congregation Ordinance
The ordinance does not provide sufficiently specific limits on the enforcement discretion of police “to meet constitutional standards for definiteness and clarity.”
- State v. Utter (WA 1971)
- Vietnam Dad stabbed son after he got drunk. Whether there was NO ACT committed within the definition of homicide? HOWEVER- When the state of unconsciousness is voluntarily introduced through the use of alcohol or drugs, then that state of unconsciousness does not attain the stature of a complete defense.
- People v. Beardsley (MI 1907)
- Didn't take suicidal lover to hospital. Was there a legal duty? Rule: There is no legal duty created based on a mere moral obligation.
- Jones v. US : 4 situations in which the failure to act may constitute a breach of legal duty:
- 1.Statute imposes a duty
2.Where one stands in a certain status relationship to another
3.Where one has assumed a contractual duty to care for another
4.Where one has voluntarily assumed the care of another
5.*When a person creates a risk of harm to another
- Barber v. Superior Court (CA Ct. Appeal 1983)
- Doctors removed intravenous tubes providing hydration and nourishment. Duty to provide nourishment etc.? Holding: Petitioners’ omission to continue treatment under the circumstances, though intentional and with knowledge that the patient would die, was not an unlawful failure to perform a legal duty.
- attendant circumstance
- A condition that must be present, in conjunction with the prohibited conduct or result, in order to constitute the crime.
Ex// In an “intoxicated condition” for drunk driving
- Positive retributivist
- when a wrong is done, punishment must be exacted (there is a duty to punish)
- Negative retributivist
- an innocent person MUST never be punished
- Culpability retributivist
- Even an attempt at murder can be punished as murder
- Harm retributivist
- punishment has to fit harm (if don’t kill then you shouldn’t be killed)
- “Desert” retributivist
- if you intend to kill then you are equally deserving of being killed (focuses on moral blame-worthiness of defendant)
- Principle of Legality
- The concept that the courts can’t punish individual without a law against the crime
- United States v. Cordoba-Hincapie (1993)
- “Mens rea” – a guilty mind; a guilty or wrongful purpose; a criminal intent. It is not significant whether she caused the social harm intentionally or with some other blameworthy mental state (e.g wantonly, willfully, or recklessly).
- Regina v. Cunningham (1957)
- Exposed neighbor to coal gas. Whether it was malicious? “Malice” must be taken not in the old vague sense of “wickedness” in general, but as requiring either (1) an actual intention to do the particular kind of harm that in fact was done, or (2) recklessness as to whether such harm should occur or not.
- People v. Conley (IL Appellate Court 1989)
- Aggravated battery at party. Whether the defendant intended to inflict permanent disability? It is not necessary that the defendant intended to bring about the particular injuries that resulted. Burden is met by showing that the defendant intentionally struck Sean.
- State v. Nations
- Knowledge of Attendant circumstances (the "wilfull blindness" problem) 16 year old dancing for tips.
- US v. Morris
- Morris let out the "worm" virus. Court found that the “intentionally” standard applies only to the “accesses” phrase of §1030(a)(5)(A) and not to the “damages” phrase.
- United States v. Cordoba-Hincapie
- Strict liability allowed in “public welfare offenses”
Statutory Rape is also a strict liability offense.
- Staples v. US
- Unlawful possession of an unregistered machinegun. This is a public welfare offense - strict liability
- Garnett v. State
- Mentally challenged man had sex with 13 year old (had baby!). This is a strict liability offense.
- People v. Navarro
- Stole wooden beams he thought were abandoned. Defendant lacked the specific intent required to commit the crime (People v. Wetmore). One cannot steal property which one thinks is his own (People v. Devine). An honest mistake of fact or law is a defense when it negates a required element of the crime.
- People v. Marrero
- D thought he was legally entitled to carry a gun w/o license. Court concludes that the better and correctly construed view is that the defense should not be recognized, except where the mis-relied-upon law has later been properly adjudicated as wrong. Any broader view fosters lawlessness.
- Cheek v. US (1991)
- Pilot stopped paying federal income tax. Held that a defendant’s views about the validity of the tax statutes are irrelevant to the issue of willfulness, need not be heard by the jury. Makes no difference whether the claims of invalidity are frivolous or have substance.
- Velazquez v. State
- Drag racer dies. Court concluded that it would be unjust to hold defendant criminally responsible for the passenger’s death because the passenger killed himself by his own reckless conduct.
- Oxendine v. State (1987)
- GF pushes boy into tub and father beats him (boy dies. But for his infliction of the second injury, would the victim had died when he died? A defendant who causes the death of another is not relieved of responsibility for causing the death if another later injury accelerates, that is, hastens the death of the other person. Both gf and father guilty of abuse.
- Kibbe v. Henderson (1976)
- Stole from Stafford and left him by side of road where he was struck by truck and killed. Who caused Stafford’s death? Whether the ultimate result was foreseeable to the original actor?
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