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Mens Rea Non Mpc Jurisdictions Outline

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This is an extract of our Mens Rea Non Mpc Jurisdictions document, which we sell as part of our Criminal Law Outlines collection written by the top tier of New York University School Of Law students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Criminal Law Outlines. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Mens Rea: Basic Conceptions and Applications In Non-MPC Jurisdictions

Requirement of a certain mental state (awareness/intent) during the criminal act
Underlying idea that conscious choice is party of culpability/blameworthiness
Common Law - subjective culpability is bedrock principle of common law MR approach o
Term: "maliciously"

Subjective awareness

Cunningham - malice is not wickedness, but foresight of consequences of the act (and subsequent disregard of risk by committing the act)

In MPC, this is the "recklessness" definition

Faulkner: intended to set rum but accidently set ship on fire; conviction quashed because jury did not inquire into malice

Policy (why using subjective standard is good)

Retributivist concern: should not punish person if no conscious wrongdoing

Ex. Cunningham genuinely did not know that removal of gas meter would cause a gas leak that endangered life > not punish o
Term: "negligently"

Objective standard of reasonable person: reasonable person under circumstances should/would have been aware of the risk (even though defendant was actually not aware)


Utilitarian concern: this standard would incentive people to take extra steps to raise their behavior to the level of reasonable person's exercise of due care

Criminal VS. Civil Negligence (ordinary vs. gross deviation)

Both involves failure to perceive a substantial/unjustifiable risk that a result will occur

Criminal: requires a greater risk, the failure to perceive of which is a gross deviation from the behavior and standard of care a reasonable person would exercise under the circumstances [grossly unreasonable]


Policy: Retributive justice requires moral culpability

Civil: lesser showing of carelessness required, deviation from standard of care a reasonable person would exercise under the circumstances


Policy: utilitarian justification in encouraging reasonable care when conduct can be deterred

How to decide which to use if statute says "negligence"?


(retributive justice requires moral culpability) The higher penalties of the crime, the higher the standard of proof should be, not use a civil negligence standard

Possibility of deterrence?

(utilitarian encouragement of due care) Are the targets of crime sophisticated actor who is informed of punishment and can

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