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Flashcards in Criminal Law Deck (26)
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Murder in the Second Degree

Second-degree murder is the unlawful killing of a person with malice aforethought.


Felony Murder Rule

Under the Felony Murder Rule, ALL participants are guilty for murder if a person is killed while the participants are committing/attempting to commit an inherently dangerous felony (burglary, arson, rape, robbery, or kidnapping).


Voluntary Manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter is an
(1) intentional killing,
(2) of a person,
(3) with adequate provocation


Involuntary Manslaughter

Involuntary manslaughter is an unintentional killing of a person committed:
(a) recklessly – conscious disregard of an unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily injury;
(b) under the misdemeanor-murder rule – a killing that results during the commission of a misdemeanor);
(c) during a nondangerous felony – a felony not included under the felony murder rule); OR
(d) criminal negligence



Battery is the
(1) unlawful application of force,
(2) directly or indirectly upon another person, their clothes, or close personal belongings,
(3) that results in injury or offensive contact.



• Kidnapping is
(1) either moving, confining, or restraining,
(2) of another person,
(3) against that person’s will (using fear or threats of force is sufficient).



Larceny is the
(1) trespassory taking,
(2) and carrying away,
(3) of the personal property of another,
(4) with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property.

The intent to permanently deprive MUST exist at the time of the taking.



Embezzlement is
(1) the fraudulent or wrongful,
(2) conversion,
(3) of personal property of another,
(4) by a person with lawful possession of the property


Receipt of Stolen Goods

Receiving Stolen Goods is a crime when a person
(1) receives possession of stolen property,
(2) who knows the property is stolen at the time of receiving it,
(3) with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property



Robbery is the
(1) trespassory taking and carrying away,
(2) of the personal property of another person,
(3) in their presence,
(4) by the use of force or threat of immediate physical harm,
(5) with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property.
• Armed robbery requires the elements above plus the use of a dangerous weapon (i.e. gun, knife)



Burglary is
(1) the breaking and entering (entry without consent, through an unlocked door/window, or even partial entry is sufficient),
(2) of a dwelling,
(3) of another,
(4) at night,
(5) for the purpose of committing a felony inside.

Most jurisdictions have extended burglary to include any structure at any time



Extortion is
(1) illegally obtaining property,
(2) either by (a) force or (b) threats of violence, property damage, or exposing information


Continuing Trespass Doctrine

Under the continuing trespass doctrine, a trespass is continued until the intent to permanently deprive arises. This means one is still liable for larceny (for taking and carrying away the personal property of another) EVEN THOUGH the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property did not arise until after the taking



In most states, a person is guilty of attempt if the person: (1) had the specific intent to commit a crime; AND
(2) took an overt act sufficiently beyond mere preparation (most states and the MPC require a “substantial step” toward the completion of the crime).



Conspiracy is a specific intent crime, and requires:
(1) an express or implied agreement between two or more people;
(2) intent to enter into the agreement;
(3) intent to pursue an unlawful objective (a majority of jurisdictions require this element to be met by ALL parties of the agreement, while a minority of jurisdictions only require it to be met by one party), AND
(4) the commission of an overt act in furtherance of the unlawful objective (under common law no overt act was required). The overt act DOES NOT need to be criminal in nature; any act (including preparation) taken by a co-conspirator in furtherance of the unlawful objective is sufficient.



A person is guilty of solicitation if:
(1) he requests another person to commit a crime (or join in the commission of a crime);
(2) with the specific intent that the crime be committed; AND
(3) the other person receives the request. Solicitation merges with the substantive offense.


Accomplice Liability

• An accomplice is one who: (1) aids, abets, or facilitates the commission of a crime; AND (2) has dual intent (intent to assist the primary party, and intent that the crime is committed).


Accessory After the Fact

• A person is liable as an accessory after the fact if that person knowingly aids a felon in escape from arrest, trial, conviction, and/or punishment


Legal & Factual Impossibility

• Legal impossibility IS A DEFENSE to a crime. Legal impossibility occurs when the defendant’s acts would not have constituted a crime, even if the acts were as the defendant assumed.


Mistake of Fact or Law

• A mistake of fact is a defense to a crime if it negates the state of mind required for the offense. For specific intent crimes, the mistake of fact may be unreasonable. For general intent, negligent, or reckless crimes, the mistake must be reasonable.


Insanity Defense

• A defense of insanity for a severe mental defect or disease will be analyzed under one of four tests, all of which consider the defendant’s mental state at the time of the offense.



• Voluntary intoxication (the ingestion of an intoxicating substance by the defendant’s own free will) is ONLY a defense to specific intent crimes if it negates the state of mind required to commit the offense.


Self-Defense & Defense of Others

• Self-defense is a complete defense to a crime. o The use of non-deadly force is justified when (1) the defendant reasonably believes, (2) that he is in imminent danger of being harmed. o The use of deadly force is justified when (1) the defendant kills another based on a reasonable belief, (2) that he was in imminent danger of being killed or suffering great bodily injury, AND (3) the use of deadly force was necessary to defend against the danger.

• The same rules for self-defense apply to the defense of others


Imperfect Self-Defense

• Imperfect self-defense is a mitigating defense to murder that can reduce a murder charge to voluntary manslaughter. Imperfect self-defense is applicable when the defendant kills another based on a good faith belief that
(1) she was in imminent danger of being killed or suffering great bodily injury; AND
(2) the use of deadly force was necessary to defend against the danger; BUT
(3) at least one of those beliefs was unreasonable.
Only some courts allow imperfect self-defense to be applied to situations where the defendant was defending another person



• Entrapment is an affirmative defense, in which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence. To succeed with the defense, the defendant must prove that: (1) the police created the criminal environment; AND (2) the defendant was not predisposed to commit the crime. o A lack of predisposition occurs when the defendant was not otherwise intending to commit the crime, but only did so because the police applied pressure or some sort of other unfair deceit.



• In determining the viability of the defense, courts look to the conduct of the defendant, including prior conduct that reflects on the credibility of his assertion that he was entrapped. Generally, entrapment is an extremely difficult defense to establish