This is an extract of our Completed Crimes Attack document, which we sell as part of our Criminal Law Outlines collection written by the top tier of University Of Virginia 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:
1. Principal of Legality: Is There A Law?
? Legislative will is superior; courts cannot create crimes
2. Does the crime violate the Due Process Clause?
? Vagueness Doctrine: Vague law can be unconstitutional if it: o Creates opportunity for arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement
1. Test: Does law cast net too wide and give cops/courts broad discretion to bring in whoever they want? Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham o Does not pass balancing test: legislative intent, legislative direction on statutory construction, saving construction, ability to enforce evenly, desirability of vague.
1. Saving construction: Judge saves law by constraining it in a way that fulfills due process by eliminating potential for arbitrary enforcement.
? Fair Notice: Law must give people of ordinary intelligence notice of which acts are criminal. o Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville: Vagrancy laws too vague to give fair notice as to who will be prosecuted for what acts; cops could selectively enforce them against minorities.
? Unforeseeable Enlargement: Court/cops may not construe law in a way that extends beyond reasonable interpretation, which is defined by legislative intent (less so post-Scalia) and text of statute. o Ex Post Facto Law: Judicial enlargement of a law that is applied to D. o Legislative Supremacy: responsibility of leg, not courts, to modernize laws
1. Keeler v. Superior Court: If leg didn't think to enlarge statute, it isn't enlarged o Bouie v. City of Columbia: Unforeseeable enlargement violates due process and fair notice. o Rogers v. Tennessee: Reasonable enlargement, although Scalia quibbles on ex post facto element.
? Doctrine of Strict Construction: Courts bound by jurisdictional limitation to construe laws in ways that do not violate standards of fair notice and foreseeability. o Balance "getting justice done in this case" with not creating ex post facto laws.
3. Was there an Actus Reus (Guilty Act)?
? Voluntary Act Doctrine: An actus reus (Action, Omission, Possession) is an exercise of will o Every actus reus defined within the crime must be voluntary
1. Martin v. State: Only intoxication element voluntary, not public element
2. Decina: Voluntary act may include involuntary components (getting in car w/epilepsy)
3. Involuntary acts: physically coerced, reflex, disease-related, or unconscious movement. o Acts are voluntary if done under duress or necessity, but may be excused.
? Omission: Failure to commit an act you have legal duty to perform o Sources of duty: statute, common law (unless statute prohibits), contract, special relationship
1. Assumption of responsibility: found in common law in many statutes a. Duty tolls when D takes person out of public and into care Oliver b. Billingslea: Would have been guilty had statute imposed this duty
2. No liability for moral duties: rescue, care for children w/o relationship, K, or assumption. o MPC SS 2.01 (1): "omission to perform an act of which he is fully capable"
1. 2.01 (3): duty must be imposed by law.
? Possession: Knowing procurement/receipt OR aware of control for sufficient time to have diposed.
4. Is a Mens Rea required? If so, which one?
? Common Law Crimes: Mens rea is always read in. o Specific Intent Actual intention, conscious desire or actual knowledge (e.g. theft crimes)
1. Signaled by word "know" or "purpose," but can be read without this. o General Intent: Anything besides SI, usually equates to negligence but can be recklessness.
1. Default if there's no SI signal, but don't automatically assume. o Negligence (should have foreseen, Faulkner); Recklessness (foresaw and acted anyway)
? Multi-Part Common Law Crimes: An SI crime may have one or more GI elements. o General intent can apply to circumstances, etc. of SI crime (stealing, lying, etc.)
1. Yermian: SI for making false statements, GI for jurisdictional element (feds)
? MPC: SS 2.02, look for four signaling terms o If MPC offense is silent to mens rea: SS 2.02(3), default is recklessness.
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