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Criminal Principles


What are "GENERAL PRINCIPLES" of criminal law? Basic rules that all of criminal law builds upon; foundation blocks for the specific criminal laws and they relate to all crimes.
Discuss BURDEN OF PROOF. Common Law Definition: The State must prove EACH element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. (95% sure). Prove each element to a jury with admissable evidence.
Where can we find the ELEMENTS of a crime. The elements can be found in the definition of the crime.
Discuss DUE PROCESS OF LAW. The conduct of legal proceeding according to establish rules and principles for the protection of private rights. A right to a fair hearing before a tribunal with the power to decide the case. A MINIMUM STANDARD OF FAIRNESS IN A FREE SOCIETY!!!
Discuss a criminal's right to a trial by jury. For serious crimes this right is applicable. If the potential punishment in punishable by more that 6 mons. in jail. Defendant has a constitutional right.
Is the jury verdict of "not guilty" final? YES
Is the jury verdict of "GUILTY" final? NO, the defendant may appeal to a higher court.
What is the PRINCIPLE OF LEGALITY? This principle states that BEFORE there can be criminal condemnation and punishment 1) there should be a law that is clear and told in advance what is a crime; 2) Plus must state what the poss. punishments are.
What are the reasons that the "principle of legality" is important? Encourages people to obey the criminal law; lets police know in advance what they make arrest for; gives judges/juries clear guidelines in advance as to what is criminal; to avoid the chilling effect; and, its not fair to condemn without advance notice.
Define Ex Post Facto. Legislation cannot punish an act when an act took place before the legislation law passed indicating the conduct was criminal.
Discuss the VOID FOR VAGUENESS DOCTRINE. Deems a criminal law unconstitutional because of its lack of clarity. The law must be reasonably clear and provide fair warning.
List the roles of the courts. Interpret the legislature; determine if legislation is constitutional; and, determines sentencing in accordance within range supplied by legislature.
What is LEGISLATIVE INTENT? The court's design or plan in reviewing legislation to determine what legislature intended at the time of enacting the statute. (Cts. look at lang. of the statute; dictionary, common law definitions; common sense; how other states interpret similar lang.
What happens during Stare Decisis (Let the record stand)? The courts look at case law in that jurisdiction and compare the facts to their case in assisting in decision making. "Let the record stand."
There are 2 different possible interpretations of a statute. What are they? The court generally will interpret the statute in a narrow way. A) Condemns less behavior as criminal and B) Use this out of tradition.
Define STRICT LIABILITY CRIMES. This is the 1% of crimes that do not require an unlawful mental state of mind. Prohibits engaging in the criminal behavior causinf a particular result, AND the Def. is GUILTY if he engages in the behavior regardless of his mental state. (statutory rape)
Why doe we have strict liability crimes? A) The culpable mental state may be impossible to prove B) The law is to make everyone CAREFUL C) The behavior may cause harm to loys of people...make people more careful.
What are the disadvantages to strict liability crimes? Leads to a conviction of people who are morally and mental blameless. These people have tried to comply with the law. Also, can charge people with unavoidable accidents.
How do we identify Strict Liability Statutes under common law (traditional Approach)? If the statute doe NOT mention the mental state it is looking at STRICT LIABILITY. Courts make the determination by seeking legislative intent. "Whoever does. . .whoever. . . IS GUILTY."
How do we identify Strict Liability Statutes under common law (M.P.C. APPROACH)? If the statute says it's STRICT LIABILITY it IS strict liability. If the statute is SILENT on a mental state requirement we read in 'RECKLESSNESS" or anything worse will suffice (Sec. 2.02) Required for each elemtn of a crime.
What are the four factors courts reference in determining legislative intent of strict liability crimes? Penalty; Traditional crime or brand new crime; Difficulty for DA to estab. mental state; and, Society's desire and need to make people careful.
Define MENS REA ("guilty mind." before a Def. can be found guilty of a crime, the State must establish an unlawful mental state. The mental state is an element of a crime and must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. (Blameful, Culpable mental state and criminal mental state).
Discuss Mental State Requirement (Traditional approach) 1/3 of the states. If no mental state was listed in a criminal definition “Reckless” would be sufficient. If the word “INTENT” is in the definition then we look at a SPECIFIC INTENT CRIME and the actual intent to commit said crime must be established.
Discuss Mental State Requirement for Criminal Liability This requirement changes from crime to crime. Doe not exist in a vacuum. The Defendant must do more that just intend in the abstract. "He must in tend to do...."
How do we determine the Mental State? We look at the definition of the crime. Here, it is usually sets out the metal state required.
Name the 4 traditional common law mental states? Intentionally, Knowingly, Maliciously and recklessly.
Define SPECIFIC INTENT. Required an actual intent of the Defendant to do the act or cause the harm set out in the definition of the crime.
Define GENERAL INTENT. Requires an actual intent to act but NOT the result or harm.
Define Actus Rea. This is the 2nd element required for criminal liability with respect to every criminal charge. It is the actual "GUILTY ACT." Look at this objectively.
Discuss the requirement of an unlawful act. Before criminal liability can be attached the Def. must engage in that criminal behavior or cause the harm prohibited by the statute.
How do we DETERMINE the unlawful act for criminal liability? Read the definition of the crime; Will always tell you directly/indirectly the act that must be established before Def. can be found guilty. Sometimes prohibit bringing about a particular result. (Any at that causes...)
Discuss the requirement of a VOLUNTARY ACT. Defendant must engage n a volitional (voluntary) act.Must be some willed bodily movement on behalf of Def. Some behavior over which Def. has some control or IT WILL NOT BE VOLUNTARY.
Name some common NON-VOLITIONAL (VOLUNTARY) ACT situations. Acts that happen during an epileptic seizure; A person who is physically force into the behavior by another; The actor was unconscious and had no control over their behavior.
Discuss OMISSION CASES-a person held criminally liable for doing nothing. Def. is being punished for doing nothing (failure to act). A) If the criminal stat. by its terms requires action-the Stat. punishes someone for failure to act. B) If Def. failure to act contributes to the criminal result.
When does the law impose a legal duty to act? If he starts to help-he MUST compete the task; There is a close personal relationship between the parties (parent:child); There is a contract that req. assistance; or A non-criminal stat. in some other part of code requires the person act.
Discuss MISTAKE OF LAW. If Def. is ignorant or mistaken to the law-It DOES NOT knock out the mental state requirement; There are no additional defenses provided by the law that gets the Def. off the hook because he was ignorant of the law.
What are the 3 EXCEPTIONS to Mistake of Law principle? Crim. Stat. req. knowledge of the law before Def. can be found; Def. makes a mistake of law but that causes Def. to make a critical mistake as to the facts and Reliance on official interpretation of the law from gov't official (MPC only).
How many definition of substantial MAJOR offenses are we required to know? 12
Define Negligent Homicide (unknown to common law) The actor cause a death and the actor’s behavior was a gross deviation from reasonable behavior but did not meet the standard of recklessness.
What is meant by “A HUMAN BEING?” The fetus must be born alive (living human being) before any homicide conviction can take place.
What are the possible interpretations of premeditation/deliberation?
Are dangerous felonies required for 1st degree murder?
If Defendant had the intent to kill can he be tried for Murder in the 2nd degree?
Who has the burden of proof regarding the “HEAT OF PASSION PROVOCATION?”
What is depraved indifferences?
What is negligence?
What is recklessness?
What is the difference between depraved indifference, negligence and recklessness?
What limits does the US Constitution place on the use of CAPITAL PUNISHMENT?
Define Murder (Common law)? The unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. (Common Law)
Name the 4 ways to establish Malice Aforethought. (Common Law) A) Intent to Kill; B) Intent to cause Serious Bodily Harm; C) Depraved of Wicked Heart Killing; and, D) Felony Murder (involved in a felony and a murder occurs).
Murder in the 1st degree can be committed in what two ways? A) The premeditated and deliberate killing of a living human being B) The killing that took place during the commission of a dangerous felony.
Murder in the 2nd degree can be committed in what two ways? A) Committed by the intent to do serious bodily injury; B) Committed with a depraved or wicked heart killing (indifference to human life).
Define MANSLAUGHTER (Common Law). The unlawful killing of a living human being WITHOUT malice aforethought
What are the 3 types of manslaughter cases? Voluntary, Involuntary and misdemeanor manslaughter.
What is Voluntary Manslaughter? An intentional killing that takes place in the “HEAT OF PASSION,” right after legal provocation.
What is INVOLUNTARY Manslaughter? The reckless killing of a human being. Requires a gross of major deviation from ordinary behavior.
What is the Misdemeanor Manslaughter rule about? If during the commission of a misdemeanor a death was caused, the Def. committed manslaughter. (Most statutes no longer recognize this rule)
Receiving Stolen Property A person may be found guilty of receiving stolen property if they receive the personal property of another which they know has been taken illegally and intend to deprive the rightful owner permanently.
Felony Murder Rule holds that if the actor kills another human being while they are engaged in the commission of an inherently dangerous felony, the homicide is held as 1st degree murder.
Pinkerton’s Rule one member of a conspiracy is liable for all crimes of other conspiracy members that are committed in furtherance of the agreed upon crime.
Legal Duty to act where there is a contractual duty, a statutory duty, a relation (ie: parent/child), a creation of the peril, or a rendering of aid, and the D has the ability and the knowledge of the legal duty.
What is the chilling effect? The term used to describe the inhibition or discouragement of the legitimate exercise of a constitutional right by the threat of legal sanction.
4 basic types of crimes that require fault 1. Crimes requiring intention to do the forbidden act. 2. Crimes requiring knowledge of the act. 3. Those requiring recklessness in doing the act. 4. Those requiring negligence.
Types of criminal defense to liability Insanity, infancy, intoxication, coercion, necessity, consent, self-defense, entrapment and the like.
Inchoate Crimes Incomplete crimes which must be connected to a substantive crime to obtain a conviction. criminal conspiracy, criminal solicitation, and attempt to commit a crime, when the crime has not been completed.
Name the 4 types of mental state for murder. Intent to kill murder; depraved heart murder; felony murder; and, intent to do serious bodily harm murder.
What is the BORN ALIVE REQUIREMENT? Requirement that the fetus must be fully brought forth and establish an "independent circulation" before it can be considered a human being.
Discuss the CHAVEZ THEORY. Holds that a fetus killed duirng the course of birth would be considered a human being under the homicide test IF in the natural course of events the birth would be successfully completed.
Discuss the "YEAR AND A DAY" concept. The victim's death must occur within a "year and a day" after the fatal blow was delivered to constitute murder.
What are the elements of MURDER? There must be some conduct (affirmative or ommission; Def. mus have a malicious state of mind; conduct must legally cause the death of a human; and death ust occur within a year and a day after fatal injury.
What is the DEADLY WEAPON DOCTRINE? A special application of the presumption that one intends to produce the natural results of his actions. (intentionally ises a deadly weapon, express the idea in terms of a permissive inference; must be an intent to kill w a weapon.
What is ACTUS REA? This is the 2nd element of a crime to be established. The requirement of an unlawful act.
What are the 4 basic types of mental state per the MPC crimes requiring, intention/purpose; knowledge of the nature of the act; recklessness in doing the act; and, requiring only negligence in so doing or causing.
What is partial responsibility? If a def. has been suffering from an abnormal mental condition that DID NOT afford him a successful insanity defense under (right/wrong test) his mental abnormality may still be relevant in determination of whether he is guilty of the crime charged.
Doctrine of Partial responsibility or Diminished Responsibility (Partial insanity) 1)Looks to see if def. had required mental state under the offense charged. 2)considers if def. had the mental state for a lesser offense. 3)Evidence concerning the defs. mental condition is admissible.
Where intoxication is not an element of the crime. 1) Def. claims his conduct was the result of his intoxication (not a defense) 2)Def. claims that while intoxicated his state of mind was equivalent to that of an insane person (didnt know right from wrong)
Created by: Rochelle28nm
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