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Flashcards in Mens rea and causality quiz COPY Deck (32):
1

MPC Purposefully
§ 2.02. General Requirements of Culpability.

(a) Purposely.
A person acts purposely with respect to a material element of an offense when:
(i) if the element involves the nature of his conduct or a result thereof, it is his conscious object to engage in conduct of that nature or to cause such a result; and
(ii) if the element involves the attendant circumstances, he is aware of the existence of such circumstances or he believes or hopes that they exist.

2

MPC Knowledge
§ 2.02. General Requirements of Culpability.

b) Knowingly.
A person acts knowingly with respect to a material element of an offense when:
(i) if the element involves the nature of his conduct or the attendant circumstances, he is aware that his conduct is of that nature or that such circumstances exist; and
(ii) if the element involves a result of his conduct, he is aware that it is practically certain that his conduct will cause such a result.

3

MPC Recklessly
§ 2.02. General Requirements of Culpability.

(c) Recklessly.
A person acts recklessly with respect to a material element of an offense when he consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material element exists or will result from his conduct. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that, considering the nature and purpose of the actor's conduct and the circumstances known to him, its disregard involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a law-abiding person would observe in the actor's situation.

4

MPC Negligently
§ 2.02. General Requirements of Culpability.

(d) Negligently.
A person acts negligently with respect to a material element of an offense when he should be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material element exists or will result from his conduct. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the actor's failure to perceive it, considering the nature and purpose of his conduct and the circumstances known to him, involves a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the actor's situation.

5

NYPL Intentionally

1. "Intentionally." A person acts intentionally with respect to a result or to conduct described by a statute defining an offense when his conscious objective is to cause such result or to engage in such conduct.

6

NYPL Knowledge

2. "Knowingly." A person acts knowingly with respect to conduct or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense when he is aware that his conduct is of such nature or that such circumstance
exists.

7

NYPL Recklessly

3. "Recklessly." A person acts recklessly with respect to a result or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense when he is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such result will occur or that such circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregard thereof constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation. A person who creates such a risk but is unaware thereof solely by reason of voluntary intoxication also acts recklessly with respect thereto.

8

NYPL Negligently

4. "Criminal negligence." A person acts with criminal negligence with respect to a result or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense when he fails to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such result will occur or that such circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.

9

Presumption of application of mens rea elements (MPC V NYPL)

Material elements requirement Vs no material elements requirement

10

Definition of Material Element in MPC

(10) “material element of an offense” means an element that does not relate exclusively to the statute of limitations, jurisdiction, venue, or to any other matter similarly unconnected with (i) the harm or evil, incident to conduct, sought to be prevented by the law defining the offense, or (ii) the existence of a justification or excuse for such conduct;

11

Factors for statute interpration

• the whole, the phraseology, the words,
• the law as it prevailed before the statute,
• the mischief to be remedied,
• the remedy,
• the end to be accomplished,
• the statute in pari material (preamble, title, etc.).
• the legislative history, earlier statutes on the same subject, common law at the time of the statute and interpretations of similar statutes.
• Words are not presumed to be redundant.

12

Strict liability and its factors

- Courts generally do not like strict liability; they feel there should always be a mens rea component;
- Weakness of strict liability: does not necessarily deter, most are smaller crimes with less harsh sentences;

Factors for analyzing strict liability:
- Omits mention of mens rea
- policy
- Standard is reasonable and proper to expect people to follow
- Penalty is relatively small
- Crime does not carry a heavy stigma
- Common law treatment of crime
- Statutory interpretation of principles

13

Mens rea in common law

Specific Intent:
- Intent
- Knowledge

General intent:
- Recklessness
- Negligence

14

Transferred Intent rule (People V Conley)

When a person intends to commit a crime harming one person, but the harm is accidentally conferred on another person, intent is satisfied.

(person smashes bottle on face of other person after missing the intended victim)

A statute might already include the transfer intent doctrine e.g:
"NYPL 125.25 Murder in the second degree.
A person is guilty of murder in the second degree when: With intent to cause the death of another person, he causes the death of such person or of a third person

15

Presumption

A legal mechanism to allocate the burden of proof to a particular party

16

Inferring intent from the surrounding circumstances

A jury may infer intent from the surrounding circumstances (the ordinary consequences of a person's actions).
There is no "presumption" of intent - that would be transferring the burden of proof from the prosecution to the defense, in violation of the due process clause.

17

Rule for acceleration

Once an injury occurs that will bring about a prohibited result, if the second actor simultaneously or later causes a non-lethal injury that accelerates the prohibited result, the second actor is an actual cause.

18

But-for test

If the harm would no have occurred but for the defendant's conduct, the defendant is an actual cause

19

Substantial factor test

When two actors acting independently, commit two separate acts, each of which alone is sufficient to cause the prohibited result

20

Proximate cause rule

x

21

Willfull Blindness

Knowledge of a high probability of something satisfies knowledge of that thing

22

MPC 2.01 1

Minimum Requirements of Culpability. Except as provided in Section 2.05, a person is not guilty of an offense unless he acted purposely, knowingly, recklessly or negligently, as the law may require, with respect to each material element of the offense.

23

MPC 2.02 4

(4) Prescribed Culpability Requirement Applies to All Material Elements. When the law defining an offense prescribes the kind of culpability that is sufficient for the commission of an offense, without distinguishing among the material elements thereof, such provision shall apply to all the material elements of the offense, unless a contrary purpose plainly appears.

24

NYPL 15.15 2

2. Although no culpable mental state is expressly designated in a
statute defining an offense, a culpable mental state may nevertheless be
required for the commission of such offense, or with respect to some or
all of the material elements thereof

25

Requirements for mistake of fact

Specific intent (Intent & Knowledge)
- Must be in good faith

General intent (Reckless & Negligence)
- Must be in good faith and reasonable

26

What mens term could be read into the a statute when none is provided?

MPC 2.03
Purposefully, knowingly, recklessly (not negligently)

NYPL 15.15.1
Intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, negligently

27

Differences between NYPL and MPL

- Mens rea applies only to material in MPC Vs in NYPL applies to all elements
- In NYPL court can read in all 4 mens rea Vs MPC cannot read in negligence
- Transferred intent: In
- Willfull Blindness

28

Mistake of Law

3 Defenses:
1) Due process violation (felon has to be registered the moment he arrives in the city limits)
-- malum prohibition Vs malum in se? (should be conduct
-- omission crime
-- ordinary law abiding citizen
2) When relying on a government official's interpretation who has a jurisdiction over the that law
3) If the statute requires the knowledge of the statute (e.g. tax law)

29

Match type of elements to mens rea terms

NYPL:
Intentionally: conduct or result
Knowingly: conduct or circumstance
Recklessly: result or circumstance
Negligently: result or circumstance

30

Analysis steps

x

31

Rule for mens rea

The legal concept of mens rea refers to the culpability of the actor’s mental state. A fundamental notion of criminal culpability is that, in addition to engaging in prohibited conduct or result, the person must be mentally “blameworthy”. Thus, courts normally presuppose the existence of mens rea in a criminal statute unless there are strong indications that it should be treated under “strict liability”. 1) There are a number of factors that courts have recognized to favor a strict liability reading of a statute or part of it. One such factor is a complete lack of mens rea terms in the statute. However, even just a single mens rea term in the statute will normally apply to all the elements (under the NYPL), or all material elements (under the MPC). The MPC and NYPL define similar, but slightly different, 4 mens lea levels. In Common law however, there are 3 different ways that courts applied mens reas with little consistency across jurisdictions. Just as with actus reus and result (for result crimes) elements, 2) the prosecution has the burden to prove beyond reasonable doubt the satisfaction of any mens reas elements.

32

Rule for causation

Proving causation beyond a reasonable doubt is a requirement for any result crime, establishing the defendant as the cause of the prohibited result. To prove causation the prosecution must prove that the defendant is both the 1) actual cause and 2) proximate cause of the prohibited result. There are three theories to establish actual cause. These are a) but-for, b) substantial factor and c) acceleration. If the but-for test is not successful then the two others may be used thus expanding the prosecution's options for obtaining convictions. Proximate causation is a policy question that asks whether the defendant is so attenuated from the prohibited result that it is unfair to hold him responsible. An intervening event that breaks the causative link between the defendant’s act and the prohibited result is called a superseding event. d) A coincidental intervening event is superseding if it is unforeseeable. e) A responsive intervening event is superseding if it is unforeseeable and abnormal.