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Criminal Law Outline

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This is an extract of our Criminal Law document, which we sell as part of our Criminal Law Outlines collection written by the top tier of Thomas Jefferson School Of Law students.

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CRIMINAL LAW FINAL REVIEW RECURRING THEMES:

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REASONABLE DOUBT/ ASSUMPTION OF INNOCENCE

* don't have to eliminate all doubt, just unreasonable doubt THEORIES OF PUNISHMENT o RETRIBUTION (backward looking)

* Desert Culpability

* Ppl. deserve punishment (no convicting innocent) o DETERRENCE (forward looking)

* Specific Deterrence

* Offender is afraid to re-offend

* General

* Everyone is afraid to re-offend (could convict innocent)

* Moral Influence Theory

* No fear - instilling morals/values in society

* Assumes all people are rational actors - think about actions first

* Education Model - punishment influences or shapes attitudes of people in society o REHABILITATION

* "fix the offender" for good of themselves and society

* Criticisms - $, doesn't work, once you start to fix someone, where does it stop?
(paternalistic theory) o INCAPACITATION

* "a thug in prison can't shoot your sister"

* Ok to punish b/c society protected as a whole

* Prison - can come out more violent

ELEMENTS OF CRIMES:

1. THE ACT REQUIREMENT *

VOLUNTARY versus INVOLUNTARY ACT

* Act must be voluntary - willed bodily movement

* Voluntary even if ordered to move (case w/drunk moved by police)

* Involuntary - someone moving you, spasm, reflex, convulsion or seizure (unless it is a preexisting known condition), unconscious, asleep, hypnosis (MPC only)

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OMISSION BASED ON DUTIES: (C/L & MPC - no distinction)
- An omission is not an act unless physically and capable of acting and duty exists: o STATUTORY

* Some statutes impose a duty to take affirmative action in certain situations o STATUS RELATIONSHIP

* Parent to minor child, step-parents, spouse o CONTRACTUAL

* Paid caretaker, babysitter, lifeguards, etc. o OMISSION AFTER ACT

* CREATION OF RISK

* Danger was caused by the defendant

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ASSUMPTION OF CARE

* If first under no duty, but then offers assistance to person under distress, cannot leave victim worse off than they were originally

2. CAUSATION - (part of act requirement) (must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt)

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CAUSATION FLOWCHART

1. Determine if action is "but for cause"

2. Then, see if there is an I.H.A.

3. If there is, chain of causation is broken Exception:

4. I.H.A. normally breaks chain ... unless human is irresponsible

5. If irresponsible, go to proximate cause analysis BUT FOR CAUSATION (ACTUAL CAUSE)
? "But for the defendant's act would the injury have occurred?"
? If yes => but for cause
? If no => no causation
? Note: only eliminates actors (necessary but not sufficient alone for causation) o INTERVENING HUMAN ACT (I.H.A.)?
? Person can cause a "physical event" to occur
? But generally cannot cause another person's voluntary acts
? So, intervening human action can break the chain of causation
? To break chain, responsible I.H.A. must be: o "free, deliberate, and informed"
? Irresponsible: o Emergency situation caused by D (Acosta), fear and shame, insanity, duty for job, self-defense PROXIMATE CAUSATION
? Foreseeability Test:
? To exclude extraordinary results
? Ask: "Was it reasonably foreseeable that conduct would lead to result?
SPECIAL RULES ON ACTUAL CAUSE:

1. Accelerating the result - multiple actors can be actual cause of a harm; but for voluntary act of (D), would the harm have occurred when it did?

2. Concurrent sufficient causes - each act alone is sufficient to cause the result that occurred when it did SPECIAL RULES ON FORESEEABILITY:

1. Eggshell Skull Rule - take your victim as you find them

2. Medical Malpractice - "mere" malpractice is foreseeable ("gross" is not) MPC CAUSATION
? Cause = antecedent but for which the result in question would have occurred
? Proximate cause & culpability
? No required culpability if result is too remote or accidental

3. MENTAL STATE REQUIREMENT*

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COMMON LAW MENS REA o Intent
? Desire or known certainty o Knowingly
? Awareness/belief o Willfully
? Intentional o Negligence
? Inadvertent risk taking, gross deviation from reasonable person o Recklessness
? Early C/L, same as negligence
? Now, conscious disregard of risk MPC MENS REA: o PURPOSELY (C/L Intent)
? Conscious object to engage in conduct or cause result o KNOWINGLY (C/L Intent)
? Practically certain/aware
? Know that certain circumstances exist o RECKLESSLY (Old C/L equated with Negligence)
? Conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustified risk o NEGLIGENTLY (C/L Negligence)
? Substantial and unjustified risk (not conscious disregard - but a reasonable person should have been aware) C/L & MPC DISTINCTIONS o Intent includes purpose & knowledge o Early Common Law, recklessness was really lower standard of negligence STATUTORY INTERPRETATION o C/L
? Plain meaning based on structure /grammar
? If statute is unclear, look to legislative intent
? Presumption that Mens Rea term applies to each element that criminalizes otherwise innocent conduct (unless S/L) o MPC
? If statute does not distinguish between various elements, then single Mens Rea term applies to every element

* Unless a contrary purpose is clear
? If the statue is silent, must show at least recklessness (no S/L) STRICT LIABILITY o C/L
? Presumption against S/L
? Exceptions for public welfare offenses
? Require mens rea for each element that criminalizes otherwise innocent conduct o MPC DISTINCTION
? No S/L
? Separate, lesser violations, fines

HOMICIDE CATEGORIES OF HOMICIDE:

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TYPICAL COMMON LAW CATEGORIES: o 1ST, 2ND, 3RD DEGREE MURDER o VOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER o INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER o NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE MPC CATEGORIES OF HOMICIDE: o MURDER
? Committed purposely or knowingly OR
? Recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life o MANSLAUGHTER
? Committed recklessly OR
? A murder done under influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance for which there is reasonable explanation or excuse o NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE
? Negligently causes the death of another human being

CHECKLISTS FOR ANALYSIS OF HOMICIDES: UNINTENTIONAL HOMICIDE

* RECKLESS + EXTREME INDIFFERENCE TO HUMAN LIFE

* MANSLAUGHTER o COMMON LAW APPROACHES:
? TRADITIONAL INVOLUNTARY

* Recklessness OR Negligence
? MODERN INVOLUNTARY

* Recklessness o MPC APPROACH
? Recklessness

* NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE o No conscious disregard o Negligently causing the death of another
? Substantial and unjustified risk?
? Of which (D) should have been aware?

* C/L v. MPC o Difference in terms & classification, not substance INTENTIONAL HOMICIDE

* COMMON LAW MURDER o Murder by extreme/depraved indifference
? e.g. "all other kinds of murder"
? e.g. "Under circumstances evincing a depraved inference to human life

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o FIRST-DEGREE (premeditated killing, more culpability than other killers)
? CARROLL JURISDICTION

* Premeditation = Intent (conscious purpose)
? GUTHRIE JURISDICTION

* Premeditation = more than intent

* Premeditation factors: time, reflection or planning, relationship of victim/killer, manner of killing o SECOND DEGREE MURDER (GUTHRIE JURISDICTION)

* Intent, but not premeditation MPC MURDER o Committed purposely or knowingly OR o Recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life
[VOLN'Y] MANSLAUGHTER o Mitigating Murder
? In some circumstances, an intentional killing that would be murder can be reduced to manslaughter:

* Common Law heat of passion/provocation

* MPC extreme emotional disturbance o COMMON LAW HEAT OF PASSION / PROVOCATION DEFENSE
? Elements:

* State of passion

* Adequate provocation o Common Law Categories (outdated)
? Aggravated assault or battery
? Mutual combat
? Serious crime against close relative
? Illegal arrest
? Observation of wife committing adultery o Reasonable Ordinary Person Standard (used)
? Would an ordinary person have been provoked during those circumstances?

* Insufficient cooling time o No defense if:
? enough time has passed between the provocation and the killing for an ordinary person to cool down

* Causal link between provocation, passion and killing o MPC EXTREME EMOTIONAL DISTURBANCE
? Test for mitigation of murder to manslaughter under MPC: (Casassa)

1. (D) acted under influence of extreme (mental or) emotional disturbance

2. For which there was a reasonable explanation or excuse

3. From the viewpoint of a person in the actor's situation under the circumstances as he believes them to be

FELONY MURDER

* BASIC RULE o If you commit a felony, and o in the course of the felony you cause a death, then o you are guilty of murder

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o Cause of death during course of felony o Mental state doesn't matter LIMITATIONS o Inherently dangerous Felonies
? Abstract Approach

* Look at the offense as it is defined by statute

* Whether the crime, "by its very nature, ... cannot be committed without creating a substantial risk that someone will be killed."

* Is it likely that someone would get killed?
? Actual Conduct Approach

* Look at actual facts

* The way the crime was carried out - was it inherently dangerous?
o Independent (Collateral) Felonies
? The underlying felony must be independent of the homicide:

* Independent purpose other than inflicting injury that led to death
? I.E., if the underlying felony merges, it does not qualify as a felony that creates a felony murder
? Felony-murder rule only applies if the predicate felony is independent or, or collateral to, the homicide
? If the felony is not independent, then the felony "merges" with the homicide and cannot serve as the basis for a felony-murder conviction

* What crimes do not merge? (i.e. are independent?) o Robbery: taking of property from the victim's person by force or threat of force, with the intent to deprive
? Purpose is to take something o Burglary: breaking and entering with the intent to commit a crime therein
? Depends on the crime
? Does not Merge: Larceny - yes, independent (want to take something)
? Does Merge: Burglary with intent to commit assault w/deadly weapon - then no independent purpose, assault leads to death o Res gestae requirement
? Time and Distance Requirements

* Relatively close proximity in terms of time and distance btwn. felony and the homicide

* Is the killing close enough to the killing so that it will be all part of one transaction?
? Causation Requirement:

* Actual (but-for) Cause AND

* Proximate cause o Death must be a foreseeable result of the felony o Felony made it more likely for the death to occur MPC DISTINCTION o Rejects idea that we can find you responsible for a killing w/out showing mental culpability o Murder if... reckless + extreme indifference to human life o Does not have felony murder, has this presumption of reckless indifference

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