Criminal Law

60 cards

Crimn Law Final Not Cards

Preview Flashcards

Front Back
Extract elements set forth in statute and compare facts to those elements
Discern purpose, intent or function of statute and apply it consistently 
Utilitarianism (theory of punishment)
Uses punishment as a means to protect the community - greatest happiness to greatest number
Deterrence (utilitarianism)

Also - general deterrence v. specific deterrence
Justificatin of practice or policy depends on its consequences (moral ramifications unimportant)

- General deterrence: deterring public from committing same crime again
- Specific deterrence: deterring D from committing same crime again
Incapacitation (utilitarianism)
Removing person from society to prevent them from comitting another crime
Rehabilitation (utilitarianism)
Give criminal the tools that will allow him to make better decisions in the future
Retribution (theory of punishment)
"just deserts"

- if someone did something wrong, must pay for it
- focus on amount of harm person caused
- criminal has harmed society, society harms criminal back
- gets at moral equilibrium in society (if everyone follows the rules)
Denunciation (theories of punishment)
- What offender did was wrong, caused pain, society doesn't like it
- Way to channel victim's pain through social values - offender needs to be punished
- Method of reaffirming victim's value
Homicide - Pennsylvania Pattern
- First degree murder (purposefully): malice aforethought, deliberate, premeditated killing
- Second degree murder (knowingly): malice aforethought only... depraved heart
- Voluntary manslaughter (recklessness): passion killing (no malice aforethought)
- Involuntary manslaughter: misdemeanor-manslaughter or gross negligence
- Vehicular manslaughter: grossly negligent and unlawful driving (intoxication etc.)
Model Penal Code Homicide
- Murder
    * When committed purposely or knowingly
    * Recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme      indifference to human life
    * Malice aforethought not required
- Manslaughter
    * includes what would be voluntary and involuntary under Penn. pattern
    * Covers murder under extreme mental or emotional disturbance for which there is reasonable explanation or excuse (reasonableness is viewed subjectively)
    * Reckless killings
- Negligent homicide
    * when committed negligently
    * felony to the third degree
Texas Homicide Pattern (following MPC)
Murder (only one degree, 3 ways to commit)
    * intentional or knowing killings
    * killing with intent to cause serious bodily injury
    * felony murder
Murder with sentence range-reduction
    * passion killing, akin to voluntary manslaughter but not a separate offense
Involuntary manslaughter
    * reckless killing
    * awareness of unacceptable risk to human life
Criminally negligent homicide
    * gross negligence
    * lack of awareness in situation where D should have been aware
Malice Aforethought (i.e. Penn. Code)
- May be express or implied
    * express when there is manifested a deliberate intention unlawfully to take away the life of a fellow creature
    * implied when no considerable provocation appears, or when the circumstances attending the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart
Manslaughter: voluntary, involuntary and vehicular (i.e. Penn. Code)
    * upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion (passion must be an adequate one)
    * knew about risk and consciously disregarded
    * typically need some sort of triggering event
    * "reasonable person test" sometimes used
    * in commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony; or
    * in commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection
    * should've known about risk, but didn't
    * covers various vehicular homicides, including by driving grossly negligent while performing an unlawful act, as well as driving while under influence of intoxicants
Depraved Heart Murder
Malice may be implied where D acts with depraved heart (depends on indifference to life)
Felony Murder 
- 1st degree murder that occurs when there is accidental or intentional killing during course of committing a felony
- Felony of specific type + causation of death = felony murder
- Intent to commit underlying felony substitutes for malice (state relieved of proving intent)
Deciding whether felony qualifes as predicate offense for felony murder
2 Tests
- Felony must be "inherently dangerous"
    * Elements of felony viewed in abstract, not weighed against particular fats of case
- "Totality of circumstances" or "dangerous act approach"
    * Examines the facts of particular case, including circumstances in which felony was committed
Justifications for felony murder
Provides additional retribution
easier for prosecution to prove malice in difficult cases
Merger doctrine (felony murder)
- Excludes felonies that are presupposed by a murder charge
- Must be separate purpose for punishing the underlying felony to get felony-murder punishment
Mens rea
Mental state - no criminal liability for guilty mind alone (CL rule)
    * proven by D's words and/or infer intent from circumstantial evidence
    * every statutory offense includes a mental component that must be proven with respect to every element of offense
4 Levels of (Mens Rea) Culpability
Purposefully - D's goal or purpose is to engage in particular conduct to achieve a particular result
    * Intent is defined subjectively

Knowingly - D is virtually or practically certain that conduct will lead to a certain result (subjective)
    * Willful ignorance - if aware of high probability of fact in question and deliberately fails to investigate it, that's same as knowing fact exists

Recklessly - D realizes there is substantial and unjustifiable risk that her conduct will cause harm but consciously disregards that risk (both objective and subjective)
    * Objective - reasonably prudent person standard
    * Subjective - D aware of the risk

Negligently - unjustifiable deviation from standard of care that reasonable person would have taken
    * should be aware of risk, but isn't
Actus Reus
Physical act
- MPC says act must be voluntary
- Must have actus reus for every element of crime
Possession as actus reus (MPC)
Possession is an act if possessor knowingly received the thing possessed or was aware that his control thereof for a sufficeint period, and thus should have been able to terminate possession
MPC Culpability (substituted for mens rea)
Intentionally - intent to cause particular result or engage in specific conduct
Knowingly - aware of fact, correctly believe fact exists
Negligence - unjustifiable deviation from standard of care reasonable person would've taken
Recklessness - Conscious disregard of substantial and unjustifiable risk (objective and subjective)
Why require proof beyond a reasonable doubt?
- Comport with due process
- Worse to convict innocent man than to let guilty man go free
- Reduce risk of convictions resting on factual error
- Maintain confidence in courts (convictions were sound)
Burden of proof standard for proving defenses?
Preponderance of the evidence
Direct Evidence
Any evidence that directly links the defendant to the crime committed (DNA, fingerprints, etc)
Circumstantial evidnce
indirectly helps to establish guilt or innocence of defendant through logic (requires inference from jurors)
2 ways to commit assault
1. D can attempt to batter the ictim
2. D can put victim in fear of imminent battery
-substantial step towards completino of the crime
- when D crosses line between mere perpetration and sufficient preparation to warrant punishment (need more than mens rea)
MPC Assault (simple)
Person is guilty of assault if he:
(a) attempts to cause purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or
(b) negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
(c) attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent bodily injury
MPC Assault (aggravated)
Person is guilty of aggravated assault if he:
(a) attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury purposely, knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to value of human life; or
(b) attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon
MPC Recklessly Endangering Another Person
if person engages in conduct which places or may place another person in danger of death or serious bodily injury. Presumed when a person knowingly points a firearm at or in the direction of another, whether or not the actor believed the firearm to be loaded
MPC Terroristic threats
If he threatens to commit any crime of violence with purpose to terrorize another ot cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation, or otherwise to cause such public inconvenience, or in reckless disregard of causing such terror or inconvenience
General Intent
Objective standard
Specific Intent
Subjective standard
MPC Burglary
Guilty if:
(1) D
(2) Entered building or occupied structure
(3) With purpose to commit a crime therein
(4) Building wasn't open to public or actor wasn't licensed to enter
(5) Building wasn't abandoned
knowing or intentional course of conduct involving repeated harassment of another person that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, etc, and that actually causes victim to feel terrorized, frightened etc (objective and subjective)
MPC Rape
Guilty of rape if acting purposely, knwoingly, or recklessly regarding each material elements of the offense, he has sexual intercourse with a female under any of following circumstances:
(1) less than 10 yrs old
(2) female is unconscious
(3) compels female to submit by force or by threat, grievous bodily harm, extreme pain or kidnapping
Modern rape law
- Most use gender neutral language
- Most have criminalized spousal rape
- Most have abolished corroboration requirement
- Most don't allow defense based on victim's promiscuity
- "Force requirement being phased out"
Failure of Proof (defense)
 - not a real "defense" - refers to prosecutor's failure to prove each element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt
- rebuttal fits into this category
Justification (defense)
- When behaviors are criminalized, can't anticipate all circumstances, and that crime may have been committed in justifiable manner (under the circumstances)
- D must show elements of defense by preponderance of the evidence (not required to disprove each element)
- Types:
    * necessity (choice of two evils)
    * self-defense
    * defense of others, protection of property
Excuse (defense)
- "I committed the eleemtns of the offense, but I wasn't responsible for my actions" - something has lowered the culpability or eliminated it all together
- D must show elements of defense by preponderance of evidence
MPC Approach to affirmative defenses
Prosecution is either required to disprove the defense or defendant must prove it to satisfaction of jury
- Introduces contradictory theory or rebuttal (places D away from crime scene, attempts to raise reasonable doubt)
- Some jurisdictions require pretrial notice of an alibi
Self-Defense (Illinois)
Person is justified in use of force against another when and to the extent he reasoanbly believes such conduct is necessary to defend himself against such other's imminent use of unlawful force
Self-defense (common law)
1. Honest and reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm
2. from an imminent and unlawful threat
3. proportional response to the threat
4. D not initial aggressor
(some states impose duty to retreat)
MPC self-defense
Use of force upon another preson is justifiable when actor believes such foce is immediately necessary for purpose of protecting himself against use of unalwful foce by such other person 
Battered Spouse Syndrome
- not a free standing defense, can be used to boost the defense of something
- Meant to help jury look at elements of self-defense and determine what was reasonable (subjective)
- Justification
Duress/Coercion (common law)
- Threat of death or serious bodily harm
- Imminently posed
- Against D or close friend or relative
- That creates such fear that an ordinary person would yield
- Can't be raised as defense to homicide & D can't have put himself in the situation
Duress/Coercion MPC
- Coereced by use of, or threat to use, unlawful force against his person or person of another
- person of reasonable firmness in this situation would have been unable to resist
Entrapment (excuse)
- Full defense to a crime
- Requirements: D must demonstrate she was induced by a government official or informant to commit a crime
Objective test (MPC) law abiding person would've been induced by police conduct to commit crime
Subjective test (federal) considers D - whether he was predisposed to commit the crime, past behaviors/convictions etc
Insanity (M'Naughten test)
"Must be clearly proved at the time of commiting the act, the party accused was laboring under such defect of reason, from disease of mid, as not to know the nature and qualify of the act he was doing, or if he did know it, he didn't know what he was doing was wrong"

 - Many jurisdictions limit this by making it an affirmative defense
Attempt (Indiana)
A person attempts to commit a crime when, acting with the culpability required for commission of the crime, he engages in conduct that constitutes a substantial step towards commission of the crime
MPC Attempt
Guilty of attempt to commit a crime if, acting with the kind of culpability otherwise required for commission of the crime, he takes a substantial step strongly corroborative of the actor's criminal purpose
Legal Impossibility
Lawful act with a guilty conscience (full defense to attempt under common law)
Factual impossibility
D misperceives the facts, but if facts were as D believed them to be, D could accompslih the object crime
- Shooting a dead person
MPC on impossibility
- No defense of impossibility
- Guilty of attempt of he purposely engages in conduct which would constitute crime if attendant circumstances were as he believed them to be
MPC "escape hatch"
So inherently unlikely that D would've caused harm that it makes no sense to convict him of the crime
MPC abandonment
1. Complete renunciation
2. Abandoned efforts before crime is complete
3. Efforts voluntarily abandoned
MPC solicitation
Guilty of solicitation if with the purpose of promoting or facilitating its commission he commands, encourages or requets another person to engage in specific conduct that would constitute such crime