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Criminal Law
Rutgers University, Newark School of Law
Bergelson, Vera

I. Introduction and the purposes of punishment
A.     Regina v. Dudley and Stevens (Queen’s Bench 1884, P135)
1)      Facts: Four men trapped on boat at sea w/ little food. Captain Dudley and his first mate Stevens decided to kill Parker the cabin boy and eat him to save the rest of them. Brooks did not assent. Dudley and Stevens charged w/ murder, but sentences to death are commuted to 6 mos.
2)      Can see major issues of criminal law in this caseà mens rea, actus reus, causation (would boat maker be negligent), parties (accomplice and conspiratorial liability), grading of offenses, category of offenses, sentencing, systemic issues and policy issues
    B. Purposes of punishment:
1) Deterrence- general or specific; from Bentham’s theory of utilitarianism- humans driven by seeking pleasure and avoiding pain; also to channel human desire for revenge and prevent vigilante activity
a.      Need equation where T
90%) (also terrorist and air force one; know will kill other, not purpose, but blow it up anyway)
c.       Recklessness- grossly deviate from standard of care reasonable person would do (> than torts standard); risk must be unjustifiable and substantial (< than practically certain); must have knowledge of risk. You could call this “conscious risk creation.” à - “I know there is a chance that this will poison Mrs. Wade” d.      Negligence- The defendant is not aware of the substantial and unjustified risk, but should be. It is also a gross deviation from the standard of care that a person would normally exercise; **Common law and MPC differ on diff. b/t reckless and negligent; in common law, negligence often involves lower degree of risk; in MPC, only difference is in awareness 3)      Regina v. Faulkner (1877, p 206) a.       Facts- Faulkner Δ was sailor on ship; while trying to steal a bottle of rum, he set fire, destroyed the ship with fire and injured himself. Δ convicted under the Malicious Damage Act. The judge had instructed the jury that did not have to find that he intended to burn the ship. He aid if found tried to steal rum and ship burned as stated, then guilty. b.      Rule- Reversed b/c to find malice court held that intention or least recklessness has to be established.   4)      Santillanes v. New Mexico (New Mexico, 1993, 211) a.       Facts- Δ was involved in altercation w/ 7 yr old nephew and cut his neck. Convicted of child abuse for “negligently causing child” to be placed in situation that may endanger child. Trial court judge refused to instruct of definition of negligence like that in Model Penal Code, but instead said negligence one “A reasonably prudent person [. . .] would not do” b.      Rule- Adopts MPC standard of criminal negligence; diff from CL civil negligence. 5)      Strict Liability in CL crimes and US v. Morissette (Supreme Court 1952, r237) a.       Facts- Morissette snuck on to Air Force base and took bomb casings he claims he thought were abandoned. He then flattened them and sold them for profit. He was convicted of “knowingly converting” govt property. Δ claimed honestly thought abandoned and appealed on grounds that trial judge erroneously instructed jury that no intent necessary. b.      Rule- Reversed. Exceptions to mens rea as element of crime should not be extended to common law crimes such as larceny; Justice Jackson: mens rea not connected to revenge and retaliation but to deterrence and reconciliation (not always true) 6)      Strict Liability in Public Welfare Offenses and US v. Balint (Supreme Court 1922, r236) a.       Facts- Δ was convicted under Narcotic Act of 1914 for selling derivatives opium or coca leaves. Δ appealed on grounds that indictment did not charge that they knew they were selling prohibited narcotics. b.      Rule- Ct allows conviction to stand b/c certain statutes have public policy as purpose and require seller of drugs to ascertain quality of what he is selling. Likely considering difficulty in proving knowledge. 7)      Strict Liability in Public Welfare Offenses and US v. Dotterweich (Supreme Court, 1943, r236) a.       Facts-Δ was president and general mngr of pharmaceuticals co, which distributed drugs manufactured by other cos. Twice manufacturer’s and therefore, co’s labels were incorrect and so co. and Dotterweich charged w/ distributing misbranded products. Co. acquitted. Dotterweich convicted and sentenced to fine and 60 days probation. b.      Rule- Congress meant to impose burden on those w/ at least some opportunity of informing selves as to illicit commerce that may harm public, rather than put burden on completely on totally helpless public c.       Consequences are small and crimes are not infamous; often regulatory offenses; MPC codifies as “offense” separate from “crime” punishable only fine; 8)      Staples v. US : Strict Liability in Public Welfare Offenses a.       Facts- Δ punished under law where possession of unregistered firearm punishable by up to 10 yrs. in prison; “it shall be unlawful to possess….”; firearm defined as “fully automatic weapon”; no mens rea in statute; Δ had filed away bar on rifle to make it fully automatic; claims thought only semi-automatic sawed off shotgun; knew he possessed gun but didn’t know nature of thing; fact: 50% of homes in US have lawfully registered handguns in them; seems to pub welfare but punishment is high b.      Rule- legislation meant to regulate circulation of firearms, therefore public welfare offense, st

ve used omissions doctrine (sequestered, didn’t go to hospital); two reasons for conviction independently sufficient
c.       Ct says like Valade (girl jumped from window of hotel to escape attacker), not like Preslar (where women slept outside after beaten by husband w/o “necessity”)
4)      US v. Hamilton (Supplement 1)
a.      Facts- Δ in a fight on the street w/ John Slye. In course of fight, Slye was knocked to ground and Δ kicked Slye several times w/ boots in face. Slye was brought to hospital and arms were restrained, but restraints later removed. In course on night, Slye convulsed and pulled tubes out. Coroner found cause of death was wounds caused by Δ. Δ argues that not simply failure to seek treatment but positive act of Slye caused death.
b.      Rule- if you cause harm that starts chain of causation (causi causati) and can make links then first actor is responsible; limited by “year and a day” later then cause; used as cutoff before medical advancements
c.       Shows menu of standards CL judge can use; choose on own discretion if not in statute
5)      MPC on Causation §2.03 (Pp1042-3)- Rare b/c staircases by mens rea
a.      (1) Conduct must be antecedent of result—“but for” is necessary but not independently sufficient condition; AND
b.      (2) When purposes or knowledge an element of offense, element not est if actual result not w/in purpose or contemplation of actor unless:
                                                              i.      differs only in target person or property or designed harm is more serious than actual harm (transferred intent) OR
                                                            ii.      actual result involves same kind of injury or harm as designed or contemplated and not too remote or accidental to have just bearing on liability
c.       (3) Same substandard as above for reckless (transferred mens rea + actual result w/in risk of which consciously aware) or negligence (transferred mens rea + actual result one of which should have been aware, i.e. equal to or less severe than probable harm)
(4) When causing result is material element of crime for which law imposes strict liability, ele