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Flashcards in What is a crime? Deck (18):

What is a crime?

1. Public wrong - it has to be public
2. Mens rea
3. Actus reus
4. Without defence
5. Nullum crimen sine lege


Mens rea - two caveats

1. Act purposefully
2. Act knowingly


Exceptions to mens rea

1. Negligence
2. Where the harm is greater than anticipated
3. Where the victim is not the intended victim
4. Federal murder law


Mens rea

refers to criminal intent. The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the offense with a culpable state of mind. Justice Holmes famously illustrated the concept of intent when he said “even a dog knows the difference between being stumbled over and being kicked.”


Actus reus

The act or omissions that comprise the physical elements of a crime as required by statute. The actus reus includes only the willed bodily movements (i.e. voluntary acts). Thus, if a defendant acted on reflex, then the defendant's conduct does not satisfy the actus reus requirement.


Defences to crime (definition)

a condition that turns what would have been a crime into a legal act


Defences to crime (list)

1. Accident
2. Mistake of fact
3. Self-defence
4. Insanity
5. Ignorance of the law
6. Necessity


Self-defense (basic rules)

a. The force used in self-defense must be proportional to the threat against you.
b. Cannot use lethal force to protect property, only life.
c. To use lethal force in self-defense, your life must be in imminent danger
d. Before using lethal force in self-defense, you must, if possible, flee.


The filed of criminology

1) Law making
2) Law breaking
3) Reactions to crime


Law making (the filed of criminology)

why is it that the very same behavior can be legal at one time/place and illegal at another. We often think that criminal law is an immutable body – not true – they can change easily.


Law breaking (the filed of criminology)

1) Refers to criminal behavior
- The epidemiology of crime – study of the distribution of criminal behavior in time and space. There is no random crime.
- Etiology – the causes of crime


Reactions to crime (the filed of criminology)

a. Legal – the whole machinery of criminal justice in our society
b. Social reactions to crime – ex. Locking our doors up.


Make my day law - Castle doctrine

a legal doctrine that designates a person's abode or any legally occupied place – e.g., a vehicle or home, as a place in which that person has protections and immunities permitting one, in certain circumstances, to use force (up to and including deadly force) to defend oneself against an intruder, free from legal prosecution for the consequences of the force used.


What is a tort?

A tort is a wrongful act that injures or interferes with another's person or property. A tort case is a civil court proceeding. The accused is the "defendant" and the victim is a "plaintiff." The charges are brought by the plaintiff. If the defendant loses, the defendant has to pay damages to the plaintiff.


Roper v. Simmons

Was a landmark decision in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that it is unconstitutional to impose capital punishment for crimes committed while under the age of 18.


Transferred intent

a legal doctrine that holds that, when the intention to harm one individual inadvertently causes a second person to be hurt instead, the perpetrator is still held responsible.


The epidemiology of crime definition

Study of the distribution of criminal behavior in time and space. There is no random crime.


Etiology definition

Etiology – the causes of crime