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Criminal Law Outline - 1L

Criminal Law Outline - 1L

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Published by Eben Tessari
Uploaded from Google Docs
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Published by: Eben Tessari on Dec 11, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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General Intent Crimes
Specific Intent Crimes
Strict Liability
Mistake of Fact and Law
Definition of a Search
Search Procedure, StandingSearch Incident to a Valid Arrest
Consent Searches
Automobile Searches
Regulatory Search
Other Warrantless Searches
Searches Pursuant to a Search Warrant
Fruits of an Illegal Search
Coerced Confessions
Lineups and Other Forms of Identification
Right to Counsel
Public Trial
Fair Conduct by the Prosecutor
Speedy Trial
Jury Trial
SeveranceStandard of Proof Death Penalty
Fair Trial – Post-Trial Stage
Double Jeopardy
Collateral Estoppel
General Intent Crimes
 There must be a coincidence of the intent to accomplish the
actus reus
with theaccomplishment of the required act for a defendant to be guilty of a general intent crime.The definition of intent for purposes of the criminal law is that a person desires a result andthat result occurs. Intent is present even though the person thought the end would be accomplished bydifferent means.
 Specific Intent Crimes
 To be guilty of a specific intent crime, the defendant must have the required specific intent
which is more than an attempt to accomplish the
actus reus
at the time he is accomplishing the
. For example, in the specific intent crime of larceny, the defendant must have the intent to deprivethe possessor of his property at the time he engages in the tresspassory taking.If the statute requires that a defendant must have acted with the specific intent of “knowingly”,the prosecution must prove that the defendant must have been practically certain that his conduct would
cause damage.Ordinarily the mental state of maliciousness is associated with an intentional act, but it can
also be present where the defendant acts recklessly.
Strict Liability
 In the construction of a statute which does not include language requiring fault, a court mayimpose liability without fault (i.e., strict liability) after consideration of a number of factors. Thesefactors include legislative history, the severity of the punishment for the crime, the seriousness of harmto the public created by the criminal activity, a defendant's opportunities to be informed of the factswhich lead to an offense, the difficulty of proving a
mens rea
, and the number of violations and prosecutions likely to occur. No mental state is required for the defendant to be guilty of a strict liability offense. Thedefendant is guilty if he accomplishes the
actus reus
.A principal can be guilty of a strict liability offense for an act performed by his agent which iswithin his scope of authority. Specifically forbidding such agent to perform an illegal act is not adefense.To be guilty of an attempt to commit a strict liability offense as distinguished from guilt of thecrime itself, the defendant must have the specific intent to commit the offense.
Mistake of Fact and law
 Neither a mistake of law nor a mistake of fact whether reasonable or unreasonable is a defenseto a strict liability offense.While a reasonable mistake of fact is a defense to a general intent crime, neither a mistake of law nor an unreasonable mistake of fact are a defense to a general intent crime.Both a reasonable and unreasonable mistake of fact and a mistake of law which prevent thespecific intent from being formed are valid defenses to a specific intent crime.If a crime requires the specific intent of “knowing” and the defendant subjectively does notknow that his actions are criminal because he has relied on the erroneous advice of a lawyer, he is notguilty of the crime.
 An accused is not criminally responsible under the
test if at the time of committing the act he was laboring under such a defect of reason so that he did not know the nature and
quality of the act he was doing of if he did know the nature and quality of the act, he did not know itwas wrong.The
test of insanity does not include the irresistible impulse test.If the accused is laboring under delusions because of a mental defect, the responsibility of the
accused under the appropriate test for insanity is determined as if the insane delusions are true.Under the model penal code test of insanity “ a person is not responsible for criminal conduct
if at the time of such conduct as a result of a mental disease or defect he lacks substantial capacitywither to appreciate the wrongfulness or his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of law..
 As a general principle voluntary intoxication is not a defense to a crime. However, if voluntary intoxication prevents the specific intent necessary for a specific intent crime from beingformed, then the defendant is not guilty of the specific intent crime.If the crime of first-degree murder requires deliberate premeditation and voluntary intoxication prevents the defendant from premeditating, then the defendant is only guilty of second-degree murder.
 To convict the defendant of a homicide crime the prosecution must show that the defendant’sactions were the but for cause and the proximate cause of the victim’s deathIf the defendant sets in motion actions which actually cause the victim’s death, the fact that thevictim would have died sooner if he has not set those actions in motion is not a defense to the homicidecrime.A defendant is not guilty of murder, even though he inflicts serious bodily harm which willeventually result in death, if the victim dies from a totally independent cause.If a defendant inflicts serious bodily harm on the victim but the harm would not cause death if the victim received proper medical treatment, the defendant is guilty of murder if the victim dies fromhis wounds because they were not treated properly. The improper medical treatment is not anindependent cause which will relieve the defendant of liability.
 A police officer is not criminally liable if he uses deadly force to apprehend a person when he
reasonable believes that the person is either committing or escaping from a dangerous felony.A police officer is not justified in using deadly force to arrest a person for a non-dangerous
felony or a misdemeanor.

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