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Flashcards in Criminal Law Deck (127)
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When will a state have jurisdiction over a crime?

1. Element committed in state
2. Out-of-state act caused in-state result
3. Crime involved neglect of duty imposed by statute within state
4. Attempt/conspiracy out of state plus in-state act
5. In-state conspiracy to commit out-of-state crime


May a jury be instructed to presume mental state?

No - prosecution carries BOP as to each element, including mental state.


What is prosecution's burden of proof?

Beyond reasonable doubt


In general, what are hallmarks of crime classified as felony?

Punishable by death or imprisonment for more than one year.


In general, what are hallmarks of crime classified as misdemeanor?

Punishable by fine or imprisonment for a year or less.


What due process requirements apply to statutes?

1. Must be fair warning (person of ordinary intelligence must be able to understand prohibited conduct AND
2. No arbitrary/discriminatory enforcement.


If two statutes address same subject matter but dictate different conclusions, which statute will be followed?

More specific one.


What was common law merger rule?

If person engaged in conduct hat could constitute both felony and misdemeanor, could only be convicted of felony and the merger fell within.


What is modern law merger rule?

No merger anymore, except that
- solicitation and completed crime merge
- attempt and completed crime merge

Conspiracy does not merge.


MPC treatment of inchoate offenses and merger

Under MPC, D may not be convicted of more than 1 inchoate crime (solicitation, conspiracy, ottempt) when conduct was designed to culminate in the same offense


When does jeopardy attach in jury trial?

When jury is sworn in


When does jeopardy attach in bench trial?

When witness is sworn in


When does jeopardy attach in guilty plea?

When court unconditionally accepts the plea.


Does double jeopardy apply to civil proceedings?



When are statutes sufficiently different such that the prosecution for both will not constitute double jeopardy?

When the statutes each contain an element that the other does not, but NOT if only one statute requires an element that the other does not (b/c that would mean that one is a lesser included offense)


What is actus reus?

Bodily act. Must be voluntary.

Examples of non-voluntary acts that will not constitute actus reus:
- Being pushed
- Epilepsy/seizure
- Unconscious (unless knew would become unconscious and commit act)


When can an omission constitute an act, such that it meets actus reus requirement?

1. Legal duty
2. D has knowledge of facts giving knowledge to legal duty, AND
3. Reasonably possible to perform duty.


What creates legal duty for actus reus omission requirement?

1. Parent/spouse- special relationship
2. Voluntary assumption of care
3. Creation of peril for V by D
4. By statute
5. By contractual duty to render care


When can possession constitute an act (actus reus requirement)?

Generally, only need to show that D had control for item long enough to have opportunity to terminate possession.

- multiple people can concurrently possess
- may be constructive (if located in area within D control/dominion)
- re: state of mind (need not be aware of illegality, unless statute includes mind element (knowingly) - then must know identity/nature, but can't consciously avoid learning true nature, and knowledge can be inferred from suspicion + indifference)


What are the specific intent crimes? (11) [common law]

Intent to commit the act itself.

Crimes against person
- Assault
- 1st degree premeditated murder

Crimes against property
- Larceny
- Embezzlement
- False pretenses
- Robbery
- Forgery
- Burglary

Inchoate offenses
- Solicitation
- Attempt
- Conspiracy

If defendant makes mistake w/r/t critical fact, it doesn't matter whether reasonable or unreasonable. He is not guilty.

Voluntary intoxication is a defense, but must have been so drunk he didn't know what he was doing.


What are general intent crimes? (4) [common law]

Battery, rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment

Awareness of all factors constituting the crime (aware acting, aware that any required attendant circumstances exist)


What are common law mens rea categories?

Specific intent, general intent, malice, strict liability


What is mens rea of malice? TO which crimes does it apply?

Common law murder and arson, OR statutory offense where malice/maliciously appears in definition.

Requires either
(1) intent or
(2) extremely reckless behavior; reckless disregard of obvious or high risk that particular harmful result will occur.

The malice to commit an underlying felony can be evidence of malice for murder if results in death.

Voluntary intoxication or unreasonable mistake of fact defenses DO NOT apply. Reasonable mistake of fact IS a recognized offense.


What are the two defenses that only apply to specific intent crimes?

Voluntary intoxication and unreasonable mistake of fact

Note: voluntary intoxication doesn't count if you form the requisite intent before getting drunk to work up the courage; can still be charged with attempted murder.


Can general intent be inferred?

Yes, jury may infer merely from doing the act.


What are strict liability offenses under common law and MPC?

Doesn't require awareness of all factors constituting crimes; act alone is enough.

Ex. selling liquor to minors, statutory rape.
Ex. public welfare offenses (contaminated foods, transferring unregistered firearms, shipping adulterated drugs in commerce)

Defenses that negate state of mind are not available.


What are MPC categorizations of mens rea?

1. Purposely
2. Knowingly
3. Recklessly
4. Negligently


What is MPC mens rea - purposely?

When "conscious object" is to engage in certain conduct or cause certain result. This is what D wants to do.


What is MPC mens rea - knowingly?

When D is aware that conduct is of particular nature, or that certain circumstances exist.

Knows, believes, or substantially certain that something will exist.

Knowledge can be inferred when aware of "high probability that circumstances exist and deliberately avoids learning the truth" OR when knows that conduct will "necessarily or very likely" result in result?
[ in short - when it's practically certain]


What is MPC mens rea - recklessly?

Ex. manslaughter, battery.

Conscious disregard of substantial and unjustifiable risk that circumstances exist or that result will follow, constituting a gross deviation from standard of care that reasonable person would exercise?

Note both subjective (awareness) and objective (unjustifiable risk, gross deviation) elements

Voluntary intoxication is not a recognized defense.

If D made mistake critical to element of a crime, the mistake must be reasonable (didn't mean to shoot person, meant to shoot deer)