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Flashcards in Page 43 Deck (20):

What is excuse?

When the deed is wrong, but the actor is excused because he was suffering from an abnormal condition that rendered him blameless


What is mistake as a defense?

If a mistake negatives a mental state required as a material element of the crime, then it is a defense


If your conduct occurred very soon after a statute was enacted, and before it was generally available or publicized, can that be a defense?



If a statue is later declared invalid, can that affect you?

No because you should be able to rely on the law


Is it a defense to reasonably rely on the lower court decision?

Yes, but not if you knew the decision was on appeal


Is it a defense to rely on an erroneous official statement of law?



What does the MPC say about reliance being a defense?

If you reasonably rely on an interpretation of law provided by someone that is charged with the responsibility for interpreting enforcing or ministering the law, that can be a defense


Can it be a defense if you listened to your lawyer's advice?

No, because that risks collusion and circumvention of the law


Is ignorance of the law ever an excuse?



You don't know there's a statute the prescribed your conduct, can that be an excuse?

No, because ignorance of the law is never an excuse


What are the three exceptions to ignorance of the law not being an excuse?

- statute's language requires knowledge of the law, and D didn't have it
- D's mistake of law causes him to make a critical mistake but the facts in the definition of the crime
- reasonable reliance on an official interpretation of the law from the government


The two major types of mistake?

Mistake of law and mistake of fact


Is mistake of law an excuse if it is made in good faith?



What is mistake of fact?

You make a mistake about a fact found in the basic definition of the crime and negatives the mental state for the crime


Can mistake of fact be a defense?

Yes, only if it negates the mental state for the crime


How does mistake of fact relate to specific intent crimes?

Any mistake of fact is a defense to specific intent crimes, because the defendant didn't have the mental state required


How Does mistake of fact relate to general intent crimes?

Only reasonable mistakes are defenses. If a reasonable person with the same knowledge and in the same position as defendant would've also made the same mistake, then it is a defense


How does mistake of fact relate to malice or reckless crimes?

Mistake must be reasonable, otherwise they are guilty


Is mistake of fact a defense to a strict liability crime?



How Does the MPC treat mistake of fact?

Jury decides if defendant really made a mistake, and if so if he had the mental state necessary. Can be reasonable or unreasonable