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MBE Subjects II_CrimLaw Outline

MBE Subjects II_CrimLaw Outline

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Published by Lal Legal
MBE bar exam lecture notes for Criminal Law
MBE bar exam lecture notes for Criminal Law

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: Lal Legal on Jun 11, 2014
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 Look for the guilty hand, moved by the guilty mind, sometimes causing a bad result, in the absence of a  justification or excuse.
A.Elements Of Crimes
1.Generally, the prosecution must prove the following elements
beyond a reasonable doubt.
Be alert to a problem where the evidence fails to prove one of these essential elements!emember" a missing element # not guilty.a.
 Actus Reus
" $he act %
& that produces the criminally prohibited result %
&.%1&$his element may be met by"%a&a voluntary conscious act that causes an unlawful result. 'asiest way to remember" physical act ( volition # legal act. 1&
a&!eflex actions and sleepwalking" lack volition and not legal actsb&)abitual acts conditioned responses %conditioned reaction&" volitional and legal acts.c&*cts performed under duress" volitional act, but duress may end up being defense. +here the defendant causes the criminal harm while sleepwalking, hypnotied, or during an epileptic seiure there is no criminal act and no crime.
 * defendant kills his son by stabbing him after his son surprises him from behind. -efendant claims his act was a conditioned response from his military training and from his experience as a jungle
fighter during +orld +ar . $his evidence is irrelevant because even if his
reaction was a conditioned response, it satisfied the volition re/uirement and is a voluntary act. )ad he killed his son while sleepwalking, or during an epileptic seiure, there would be no voluntary act.%b&an omission to act where defendant is under a legal duty to act satisfies the act re/uirement. omission ( legal duty where the defendant could have acted # act. 1&0ormally, failure to act, even when morally reprehensible, is not a criminal act. )owever, where the law imposes upon a person in the defendants position a duty to act, the failure to act is a criminal act. 2&Look for one of the following legal duties"a&3tatutory duties %a law enforcement officer&b&Legal duty by contract %a life guard&c&3tatus relationship %husband4wife5 parent4child&d&6oluntary undertaking to rescue that is abandoned %telling others to stay back so you can rescue someone, and then abandoning the effort&e&7ailing to help after creating the risk of peril %hit and run&
 0ursing home employees who abandoned elderly residents during '8*9 $:
'8*9 $:
'8*9 $:
hurricane ;atrina committed a criminal omission5 however, individuals who drove out of the city with plenty of room for passengers and ignored the pleas for evacuation by others on foot did not commit a criminal omission, even though if it was obvious they were about to be engulfed by rising waters.b.
Mens Rea
 %guilty mind&%1&7or almost all crimes, a defendants guilt will depend upon the culpable state of mind that actuated the criminal act or omission. $his
mens rea
 element of crime is normally defined by statute, and generally falls into one of the following categories"%a&
" -efendant acts with the conscious objective to bring about a prohibited result %e.g., shooting at someone with the objective to cause his death&
-efendant engages in conduct that he knows, with almost absolute certainty, will produce a prohibited result %e.g., - plants a bomb with the purpose of killing one person, but with knowledge it will kill 1< others&.%c&
 -efendant acts intentionally when he acts with purpose or knowledge. 7or inchoate offenses, intent almost always means purpose only.%d&
 +illful is often used as a synonym for intent" * defendant acts willfully when"
a!ting wit" purpose or #nowledge$ and moral turpitude.
 * defendant acts recklessly when" he is aware that his conduct creates a risk that is unjustifiable, but he ignores that risk and engages in the conduct anyway. 1&!ecklessness is easily understood as, =- knew the risk but didnt care.>2&!ecklessness is distinguished from knowledge because - is aware he is creating a risk, but does not have substantial certainty that the harm produced by the risk will occur. ;nowledge re/uires an almost absolute certainty that a criminal act will occur %f&
Criminal &egligen!e:
 * defendant acts with criminal %sometimes called culpable negligence& when" he created an unjustifiable risk without subjective awareness he is doing so, but where a reasonable person would have realied the risk.1&?riminal negligence re/uires a gross deviation from the normal reasonable standard of care, a deviation greater than that re/uired for civil negligence.2&?riminal negligence is distinguished from recklessness because - was not subjectively aware of the risk creation@A- did not realie he created the risk but he should have because a reasonable person in that situation would have.
'pe!ifi! intent ( re)uires proof t"at t"e * intended to produ!e spe!ifi!ally pro"ibited "arm$ and normally in!ludes purpose or #nowledge i.e. lar!eny re)uires spe!ifi! intent to permanently depri+e.
+henever a crime includes the term
,wit" intent to$-
 that is a specific intent element.%b&
eneral intent
 only re/uires a desire or state of mind to do the prohibited act and generally includes reckless or negligent state of mind.
" -efendant is charged with *ssault with ntent to ?ommit 9urder. $he state of mind related to committing the assault only is a general intent element %placing the victim in fear of an imminent battery or attempting to commit a battery&. n contrast, the intent to murder the victim is a specific intent element, re/uiring proof that -efendant acted with the purpose of killing his victim when he committed the assault. 3pecific intent may be nullified by an
"onest but unreasonable mista#e of fa!t
, and by voluntary intoxication5 only an
"onest and reasonable mista#e of fa!t
 will nullify general intent.%C&
" 9alice is the essential
mens rea
 element for murder at common law. $here are numerous ways to prove malice.%a&
E/press Mali!e
" is established by proving - intended to kill another human being. ntent to kill is established by proving"1&- acted with purpose to kill5 !2&- acted with knowledge to kill another5 !C&- acted with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm%b&
Implied Mali!e
" is established by proving that the defendant caused a death as the result of extreme reckless or criminally negligent conduct that manifested a wanton disregard for the value of human life.1&mplied malice may be established even where" the killing was unintentional if there was wanton disregard for human life. 2&9alice is also implied for a felony murder conviction, although felony murder will be analyed as a distinct category. !emember, any
unlawful #illing 0 mali!e 1 murder 
, even if the defendant did not set out to kill someone or didnt even expect his conduct would cause death.%D&
'tri!t liability !rimes
 re/uire no
mens rea
" %a&*ct ( !esult # Guilt. %b&*s a result, mistake of fact is never a defense %e.g., for statutory rape, where - mistakenly believes the victim was of legal age&.%E&$ransferred intent" +here the - intends to produce a criminal result against one victim, but instead inadvertently harms another victim, the intent to harm first victim transfers to the other victim.%a&t is not a defense that" you hurt the wrong victimc.
" n order to prove guilt, the :rosecution must prove that the act that causes the criminal result was actuated %set in motion& by the re/uisite criminal state of mind. $his is called concurrence.%1&t is not only necessary that" the mens rea %state of mind& and criminal act concur precisely in time. +hat is necessary is that the mental state must actuate the conduct that produces the criminal result.
 ?ommon law burglary is the unlawful breaking and entering of the dwelling of another '8*9 $:
'8*9 $:'8*9 $:

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