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Common Law ACTUS REUS Voluntary Act: Requires a voluntary and social harm. An act is voluntary if D willed the action or if she was sufficiently free that she could be blamed for her conduct Exceptions: 1. Omissions: --No crime unless there is a legal duty to act. (Status, statute, contract, special relationship, assumption of care, created risk) 2. Involuntary Act --Can negate the action or serve as an affirmative defense. Done in a state of unconsciousness MENS REA Types Intentionally (willfully) – to consciously cause the result or when one is virtually certain that the object will occur as a result of D’s conduct. MPC ACTUS REUS Voluntary Act: No person may be convicted of a crime in the absence of conduct that includes of which he is physically capable. Exceptions 1. Omissions --Same as CL criminal liability imposed for the omission of an act which D is physically capable 2. Involuntary Acts --Involuntary acts: reflex, convulsion, movements during sleep, movements under or the result of hypnosis, and unconscious movement. MENS REA Types Purpose – Conscious object with conduct & results. Must be aware of the existence or belief or hope that such circumstances do exist. Knowledge – Conscious awareness that results are practically certain to occur Recklessness – Conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk. Negligence – Should have been aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk. (Gross deviation normal standard of care) Difference ACTUS REUS No difference except under involuntary act. MPC extends CL such that acts done under hypnosis and in states of unconsciousness are ―no action.‖
MENS REA - MPC splits intentionally into purpose and knowledge. -MPC clear distinction between negligence and reckless; not on the degree of risk involved, but on D’s knowledge of the risk -MPC provides that when it is not clear which element a mens rea applies to, apply it to all elements of the offense -Where the statute is silent on mens rea, at least recklessness is
it is similar to CL’s malignant heart killings 1 . When MPC uses recklessness as mens rea. not incarceration. required. Created by statute. STRICT LIABILITY Public welfare and traditional crimes. Defined by Crime General Intent – Only require intent to commit the act constituting the crime. STRICT LIABILITY MURDER MPC includes GBH under recklessness. Proof of specific intent is required. Felony Murder Rule – Generally guilty if kills another during commission of felony. Four possible states of mind. but MPC raises a presumption of ―recklessness and indifference to human life‖ if the D during the commission or attempt of certain felonies.public welfare crimes. but need not. Can infer all mens rea from observing conduct.Attendant Circumstances ? Specific Intent/General Intent Applies to mens rea. Intent to kill [express malice] One may. STRICT LIABILITY SL crimes are generally restricted to violations and are punishable by fines. infer the intent to kill from use of deadly weapoon Intent to cause SBI [implied malice] Depraved (malignant heart) = extreme recklessness. Acts in addition to general intent. but it may be circumstancial. -Statutory rape Attendant Circumstances For a crime requiring a mens rea of: (1) Purpose – D must be aware of the existence of ACs or believe or is aware they exist (2) Knowledge – Aware that conduct is of that nature or that such circumstances exist: only require high probability of existence (3) Reckless – Conscious disregard of substantial/unjustified risk (4) Negligence – Should be aware of substantial or unjustified risk. not absolute. Acts in the face of an unusually high risk that conduct will cause death or SBH. -Statutory rape MURDER Purposely (no SBI) Knowing (no SBI) Reckless (with extreme indifference to human life) Felony Murder Rule – No distinguished FM rule. However. MPC’s mens rea is equivalent to CL’s intent. prosecutor must still prove it. Specific Intent/General Intent exclusively a CL issue MURDER w/ MA Homicide with malice aforethought. Specific Intent – Intent to do some further act or cause some additional consequence beyond that which must have been committed or cause in order to complete the crime.
MPC use of EED is a broader form of the CL provocation defense MANSLAUGHTER MANSLAUGHTER Reckless – Unlike reckless M. although reckless. here the conduct. “Heat of passion” – Intentional killing committed in response to legally adequate provocation MANSLAUGHTER 2: INVOLUNTARY Involuntary Manslaughter – Unintended killing. NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE MPC N. does not manifest an extreme indifference to the value of human life. = CL Involuntary MS ATTEMPT Mens Rea For the attempt – Purpose or knowingly engages in conduct which would constitute the crime if ACs were as D ATTEMPT Under MPC. (2) Merger rule – Felony must be independent from murder (3) Causation Limitation *Natural &Probable consequence doctrine PROVOCATION (To mitigate) Must be committed in sudden heat of passion under adequate provocation Heat of passion Adequate Provocation Aggravated assault or battery Mutual combat Serious crime against close relative MANSLAUGHTER 1: VOLUNTARY Voluntary Manslaughter: Homicide without malice aforethought. ATTEMPT Mens Rea For the Attempt – Specific intent to commit the acts or cause the resulting target crime.(1) Inherently dangerous test: felony must be inherently dangerous in many jurisd.H. D may still be held for the attempt even if the target offense is 2 . Criminal Negligence: Killing resulting from gross negligence (This would include MPC recklessness as well) Unlawful Act : ―Misdemeanor manslaughter‖ an unintentional killing that occurs during the commission of an unlawful act. For the Target Crime – Intent PROVOCATION (To mitigate) Extreme Mental or Emotional Disturbance (EED) Homicide committed under the influence of EED – MPC equivalent of provocation PROVOCATION MPC requires that D be aware of the risk being taken (recklessness). (Mens rea = normal MPC mens rea) Extreme mental or emotional disturbance (EED) NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE Negligent – A criminally negligent cilling.
different language. believed them to be. Reckless crimes – Courts generally do not try for attempts of reckless crimes. here too. CL not guilty if just asking to assist with crime. Solicitor must intentionally commit the actus reus of the request with the specific intent that the person commit the target offense. Mens Rea: Same as C. Must ask them to do crime themselves. request. D’s conduct must be corroborative of D’s purpose Attempt is a felony SOLICITATION Actus Reus Consummated when the actor communicates the words or performs the physical act that constitutes an invitation. or encouragement of the other person to commit an offense.necessary for the target crime (Specific or general depending on the offense). command. (See Notes) Attept is a misdemeanor SOLICITATION Actus Reus Consummated when the actor communicates the words or performs the physical act that constitutes an invitation. Defense: Renunciation: If solicitor complete renounces intent and persuades solicited party not to neither committed nor attempted by D or anyone else. (State v. request. MPC has a defense of renunciation. For strict liability. or encouragement of the other person to commit an offense. CL – no definitive Actus Reus test MPC – does not use GI/SI Most states no attempt for Felony Murder SOLICITATION MPC doesn’t recognize unsuccessful solicitation. must show only intent to attempt. the mens rea for attempt is often higher than the one required for the target offense. and negligent crimes legally impossible Actus Reus Tests Proximity test. the required mens rea is purpose. Relationship of Solicitor to Parties: Person is still guilty of solicitation no matter how they ask them to contribute to crime. However. Actus Reus D must perform a substantial step toward committing the crime. For the target crime – D acts with the kind of culpability otherwise required for the commission of the offense. Generally. no target crime mens rea. Mens Rea: Solicitation is a specific intent offense. MPC guilty for that. Unsuccessful Solicitation: A solicitation does not occur unless the words or conduct of the solicitor are successfully communicated to the solicited party. etc. 3 . command. Cotton) Relationship of Solicitor to Parties: A person is NOT guilty of solicitation if they just ask another person to assist them with a crime. A person is not guilty of solicitation unless he acts with the purpose of promoting or facilitating the commission of the solicited offense Unsuccessful Solicitation: One with an unsuccessful attempt to communicate a solicitation is guilty of solicitation.
but required for all other offenses. MPC merges. MPC does not speak on AC’s Object of agreement must be criminal under MPC and unlawful/wrongful in CL MPC is unilateral CL lets D off if state cannot prove that there was another person with requisite MR Overt act requirement differ. usually graded in relation to target offense Pinkerton Test – All members of a conspiracy can be held as accomplices of the crime and of any foreseeable result of it. not guilty of foreseeable crime unless aided and abetted. (Mere knowledge is not usually enough but can be when combined with a stake in the success of target crime). Nature of Agreement ? Act Doctrine: No overt act is required for serious (1st-2nd deg) felonies.commit the offense.Punishment is same for conspiracy as for target crime except first degree. Object of Agreement . Defense Renunciation CONSPIRACY -MPC – knowledge is not enough. Merger – Does not merge into an attempt or the completed offense Mens Rea Specific intent with 2 parts: (1) Intent to agree. leaving court to decide Number of Parties Needed – One with the requisite mens rea (Unilateral) Punishment . Pinkerton Test –Rejected. Number of parties needed – Two or more with the requisite mens rea (Plurality) Punishment – Sometimes misdemeanors. (2) Intent to carry out target crime Some courts allow conviction if the mens rea to target crime is merely knowledge AC’s – Court has held that mens rea is the same as for the substantive crime. Liability holds even if coconspirator did not assist perpetrator CONSPIRACY Actus Reus Agreement to commit a crime. Mens Rea Purpose to promote of facilitate the target crime. aid another in planning or commission of an offense. AC’s – Code is silent here. Merger – Merges unless there are further conspiratorial crimes to be carried out. CL doesn’t MPC heavier punishments MPC rejects Pinkerton CL AC’s is counterintuitive. Object of Agreement – Must be a criminal act. or to accomplish a legal act by unlawful means. If the conspiracy goes beyond intended purpose. even if it is strict liability.Need only be unlawful/wrongful Nature of Agreement – Need not be written or even express Act doctrine – No CL requirement. CONSPIRACY Actus Reus Agreement to commit criminal act or series of acts. solicit another to commit an offense. most jurisdictions now require overt act. attempt to commit a crime. CL – knowledge may be enough. how can you agree to do something when unaware Hearsay evidence may be brought in to prove conspiracy but not the substantive 4 .
Defense Abandonment SELF DEFENSE Necessity Use only amount of force necessary and DF only use to repel Appears to be only option (Belief of threat) Genuine and reasonable belief (even if incorrect) use of force is Necessary and P. castle doctrine. DURESS No immediacy requirement for MPC Coercion to commit a crime Threat Human Forces – Coercion must (1) A person of reasonable be from human forces (threat of firmness would have committed 5 . SBI. Exception. Immediacy Threat must be immediate (not the force) Non-Aggressor Clean hands requirement. Belief of threat Purely subjective Proportionality Response must be proportional Retreat Required If D knows he can retreat to complete safety Exception: at work if not coworker or home. or threat to use. no retreat if in home/place of work BWS BWS DURESS (excuse) Three Elements: An immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury A well-grounded fear that the threat will be carried out No reasonable opportunity to escape DURESS (excuse) Coercion to commit a crime D must show that he committed the offense because he was coerced to do so by another person’s use. unlawful force against him or a third party. Proportionality Response must be proportional. kidnapping. MPC lacks immediacy requirement MPC lacks strict proportionality MPC Retreat requirement: Only retreat if you know there to be complete safety. Actor has to believe use of force is immediately necessary.offense. must not be aggressor. Retreat Required Majority: no retreat (American stand your ground) Minority: Retreat to the wall. SELF DEFENSE MPC is purely subjective rule. MPC Castle Doctrine. BWS SELF DEFENSE Necessity Force must be necessary to protect against death.
Homicide not covered NECESSITY (justification) Elements An actor is justified in committing an offense if the actor is substantially certain that these factors exist: (N-I-P) Necessary . (2) Can’t put himself in the situation Nature of coercion: Unlike common law. NECESSITY MPC doesn’t require ―imminency‖ MPC reasonable belief vs. NECESSITY (justification) Elements (1)Necessary (2)Chose lesser of two evils (3)No other law speaks to situation Reasonable Must have a reasonable belief Mens Rea Can’t do necessity recklessly or negligently if the situation was brought about by the defendant in a reckless or negligent manner. (This is a the offense. Common Law substantial certainty No natural force requirement for MPC (not really anymore for CL either) MPC does not rule out homicide 6 . Imminent . present. Nature of threat: (1)Deadly force is required – lesser threat such as minor physical injury will not excuse (2)Deadly force must be imminent. and (2) She is not at fault for exposing herself to threat.death/SBI) Threat (1)Another person threatened imminently to kill or grievously injure her or another person unless she committed crime. and impending (3)Reasonable belief – the D’s actions must be based on reasonable belief that coercer is serious about threat and has capacity to harm.The harm is imminent Prevention .Actor believes that failing to prevent harm would be worse than offense Substantially Certain – The actor can’t commit an offense because he believes a harm will probably occur if he fails to act. actor can’t use necessity defense. neither deadly threat nor imminancy requirement.Committing the offense is necessary to prevent a harm If any lawful way to prevent harm. or that the harm is probably imminent—he must be sure about the facts.
L. a necessity defense cannot be used to justify a homicide. Product (Durham Test) – D would not have committed offense. MPC lacks the ―impulse‖ language MPC makes it easier to find insanity because of ―appreciate‖ language MPC does not require full cognitive lost. the actor’s defense will fail. or (2) if he did know it. INSANITY Substantial Capacity – One is not responsible for his criminal conduct if. Exceptions Blameworthiness: If DF created harmful situation. INSANITY M’Naghten Rule – D is insane if. partial works! 7 . at the time of the criminal act. at the time of the act. actor doesn’t have to be correct) Proportionality: If committing the offense would create worse situation than allowing the harm to occur. as that her free agency at time destroyed. he was laboring under such a defect of reason. Reasonable Belief: An actor’s belief that he needs to choose lesser of two evils must be reasonable. no necessity Homicide: At C. arising from a disease of the mind that he (1) did not know that nature and quality of the act he was doing. (2) She lost the power to choose between right and wrong and to avoid doing the act in question. but for not being mentally insane. or (3) D’s will destroyed to point beyond her control. INSANITY MPC’s incorporates both a cognitive and volitional test. he did not know that what he was doing was wrong. as a result of mental disease or defect: D lacked substantial capacity to (1) appreciate the wrongfulness/criminality of D’s conduct and (2) conform D’s conduct to the requirement of the law. Irresistable Impulse test – D was insane if (1) She acted from an irresistible and uncontrollable impulse.subjective standard.
you are guilty of attempt. CL = petty larceny and attempted grand larceny Mistake of Law No defense unless there is an express negation. . In gen. but exceptions. Hybrid Legal Impossibility: When an actor’s goal is illegal. IMPOSSIBILITY IMPOSSIBILIITY Legal Impossibility Rule: If not a crime. D steals glass believing it’s diamonds. --If there IS a law and you don’t break it. can be unreasonable General Intent Crimes – N/G if mistake of fact was REASONABLE and in good faith. MoL CL and MPC approaches similar. . unless falling into unrecognized exception. OR (2) Lambert Principle = If omission and crime with no notice. but you think you do. MISTAKE Mistake of Fact Must negate the mental state required to establish any element of the offense Legal Wrong Exception – Will hold D for a lesser offense when he believed he was committing crime. but commission of the offense is impossible due to a mistake by the actor regarding the legal status of some factual circumstances relevant to her conduct. even if DF believes it is. it is impossible to commit and qualifies for the defense. Specific Intent Crimes – N/G if mistake of fact was in good faith. but was a lesser crime. MPC = petty larceny. there can be no crime. Strict Liability – Like CL. MISTAKE Examples MoF 1. Exceptions – (1)Authorized Reliance Doctrine = Must have reasonably relied on official authorized statement that was defected. --If there is no law. punish for morally-wrong conduct Legal Wrong Test – If believes was committing lesser illegal crime. Specification in Statute that knowledge of law is required. will be guilty of higher/real offense Mistake of Law No defense. no MoF for strict liability. Factual Impossibility Same as CL 8 .MISTAKE Mistake of Fact Must negate mens rea of crime charged. ignorance of law is no defense. CL = grand larceny 2. D steals Diamonds believing they’re glass. MPC = petty larceny and attempted grand larceny. Violates due process. Moral Wrong Test – Some CL jurisd. IMPOSSIBILITY Legal Impossibility (A Defense) Pure Legal Impossibilty: When an actor engages in lawful conduct that she incorrectly believes constitutes a crime.
but he fails to complete the offense because of factual circumstances unknown to him.Factual Impossibility (No Defense) when an actor’s intended end constitutes a crime. 9 .
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