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Criminal Law Outline Fall 08

Criminal Law Outline Fall 08



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Published by crlstinaaa
Criminal Law Outline Fall 2008

Hofstra University School of Law, Professor Burke

Criminal Law: Cases and Materials, Kaplan, Weisberg, Binder, 6th Edition.
Criminal Law Outline Fall 2008

Hofstra University School of Law, Professor Burke

Criminal Law: Cases and Materials, Kaplan, Weisberg, Binder, 6th Edition.

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Published by: crlstinaaa on Jan 12, 2009
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CRIMINAL LAW OUTLINEHofstra Law, Professor Burke, Fall 2008
a.Basic Principlesi.Purpose of laws is to maximize net happiness of societyii.Punishment justified only if it is expected to reduce crimeiii.Punishment deters crime - ppl act to please themselves, but only to the extent that their actions will benefit, not harm them b.Forms of Utilitarianismi.General deterrence – punish something to convince the general community to not do it in the futureii.Specific (or individual) deterrence - Δ's conduct is punished to deter future bad conduct by Δiii.Incapacitation - Δ's imprisonment prevents him from committing crime.iv.Intimidation – remind Δ that if he commits crime again, he will experience more pain.v.Rehabilitation (or reform) - reform the wrongdoer rather than threatening or punishing themc.Criticismsi.Deterrence - using ppl as a means to an end, and ignores the rights of the wrongdoer. Also, you can justify punishment of an innocent person (b/c it still works to deter; or still works to placate society's personal vengeance)ii.Rehabilitation - There is doubt that criminals can be reformed.
a.Basic Principlesi.Punishment justified when deserved; deserved when wrongdoer chooses to violate society’s rules.ii.Always should be punished whether or not will deter future misconduct b.Forms of Retributivismi.Assaultive retribution - it is morally right to hate criminals. Criminals hurt society, so ok to hurt him back. Deters private revengeii.Protective retribution - punishment inflicted as means of seeking a moral balance in society.iii.Victim vindication – punishment evens the score
c.Used as a limit for utilitarian view. Main goal is to deter, but there are limits. Can’t punish for somethingnot deserved, etc.i.Consistency - same crime, should be same punishmentii.Most utilitarians will accept retribution as a limit for punishmentd.Criticismsi.There's no future benefitii.Glorifies anger and legitimizes hatrediii.Irrational, founded on emotions like anger, rather than reason
I.The Need for Actus Reus
a.Causation by conduct of a harmful consequence. The act required by statute (element of the offense).i.Must be an act; something more than a guilty mind. b.
Purpose of the act requirement
:i.Person possesses free will – even if they desire to act they may notii.Guilty mind may be a poor predictor of future crimeiii.The person hasn’t actually inflicted any harmiv.Investigations become too intrusive – may start criminalizing associationsv.Hard to prove intent. We would start looking at all conduct and other circumstances to determineintent.c.
 Proctor v. State
 – Δ charged with “keeping a place” with the intent to sell/give liquor. Statute heldunconstitutional. Needs to be both actus reus & mens rea. Mens rea is intent to sell liquor. But there’s noovert act; the only act is “keeping a place,” which is a lawful act. There needs to be a rational basis for associating the act with the mens rea (closer relationship between act & mens rea).d.
MPC § 2.01 (1)
– A person is not guilty of an offense unless his conduct is based on conduct that includes avoluntary act or omission.
PastVoluntaryActSpecifiedIn AdvanceBy statute
 No statusoffensesAffirmative actSpecificityProspectivityLegislativityCulpableomissionStatute notvague No retroactivelawmaking No judge-madelaw
a.An omission is a criminal act when there is a failure to perform a legal duty (culpable omission)i.
MPC § 2.01 (3)
– Liability for offense based on omission only if either the statute says omission isenough or a duty to perform is imposed by law
 Jones v. U.S.
– Δ took in a friend’s baby & baby dies of malnutrition (neglect). Court says an omission isculpable when there is a legal duty, not just a moral one. Court identifies 4 situations where a failure to actis a breach of duty:i.Where a statute imposes a duty to care for another ii.Where one stands in a certain status relationship to another iii.Where one has assumed a contractual duty to care for another iv.Where one has voluntarily assumed the care of another and so secluded the helpless person as to prevent others from rendering aid.
MPC § 2.01 (4)
– Possession is an act if the possessor knowingly procured or received, or was aware of hiscontrol of it for enough time in which he could terminate his possession.i.
Constructive possession
 – the power and intention to exercise control, or dominion and control,over an object not in one's "actual" possession1.Elements are (1) effective power over the thing possessed, and (2) the intention to control it.2.
United States v. Maldonado
– Drug delivery supposed to go to Palestino, but he wasn’t there.So Δ tells deliverer to come to his room, and tries to reach Palestino. Cocaine left in room,and Δ & deliverer went for a soda. Δ then arrested for possession. Court says possession notonly immediate physical possession, but also constructive possession. Cocaine left in room Δwas occupying & could easily return at will.
a.A person cannot be guilty of a crime in the absence of voluntary conducti.
 Martin v. State
– Δ arrested from home, taken onto public highway, and charged for being drunk in public. Court holds that the act element in the statute, that he appear in public, must be voluntary.Here, Δ was involuntarily taken into public by police.1.
– if you go far enough back, you can find voluntariness. He voluntarily gotdrunk in his home – probably not enough. But if he did something that would reasonablycause him to be in public, he voluntarily created that situation. b.Purpose of Voluntariness Requirementi.Utilitarian - Criminal law cannot hope to deter involuntary behavior.ii.Retributive - Not fair to make someone liable for actions beyond their controlc.
Involuntary Acts
MPC § 2.01 (2)
– Enumerates which acts are not voluntary (& only these): (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 theeffort or determination of the actor, either conscious or habitual.ii.
 People v. Grant 
 – Δ assaults a police officer; his defense is that he suffers from epilepsy/seizure. If the conscious mind loses control over the body's acts, then the act was not voluntary (unless theinvoluntariness was anticipated – Δ acted to cause a situation where it would happen).1.
Anticipating Involuntariness
- If there is adequate prior notice of the person's susceptibilityto engage in involuntary conduct, and still acts consciously to cause that behavior, then thoseactions are voluntary (widen the "time-frame").a.
 People v. Decina
– Δ knew he was prone to seizures, and while driving, has a seizure& kills 4 ppl. The voluntary act is the choice to drive, knowing you’re prone toseizures. (diff if first time condition – like a heart attack, no warning).2.Insanity – still voluntary because you’re making a choice to move your body.

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