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Criminal Law
South Texas College of Law Houston
Gershowitz, Adam M.

Crim Law Outline

**TEST – 100 MC Qs like multistate bar, curved. Over C.L. & TX handling of crimes

I. Introduction

A. Criminalization
People v. Kohrig – State may enact laws it feels benefit the public welfare when those laws are not arbitrary or discriminating.
Police power is wide – encompassing health, safety, welfare & morals

B. Definition
Palmer V. City of Euclid, OH – no one should be held criminally responsible for conduct he cannot reasonably understand to be proscribed.
It’s a crime if the government says it is; however, can’t make crimes w/o making it clear what the crime is (possible use of oppression of minorities).
Statutes cannot be… (BOTH are due process issues)
vague,d or
overbroad (i.e., a statute banning obscentity states “no talk about sex” – that encompasses too much and is overbroad).

C. Classification (determinant is penalty imposed; type of institution/length of term)
– Felony
o Capital
o Non-capital
– Misdemeanor
– Infamous/Non-Infamous
– White Collar Crime – 1) nonviolent crime 2) for financial gain 3) committed by deception
– U.S. Constitution – impeachment for 1) treason 2) bribery 3) other high crimes & misdemeanors (must be a high crime in line w/treason…)

Ejustem Generis Rule – (i.e., “other high crimes & misdemeanors), when there’s a list of qualifications w/a phrase “& other” the final “other” must be of like kind to previous listing

Texas – uses penal code to determine penalties

U.S. v. Moreland (1922, U.S. Supreme Court) – no person to be held for capital/infamous crime w/o indictment by grand jury; infamous crime = hard labor; type of work in incarceration (dissent – it is not hard labor but imprisonment in penitentiary that connotes infamy….)


II. Crimes Against the Person

A. Homicide

Common Law


– unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought
– includes reckless killing
– depraved heart murder (when death occurs from D’s wanton indifference to human life & conscious disregard of risk of death or SBI; has to be extremely negligent conduct, i.e., driving 100 mph in busy city streets at lunchtime & kill pedestrian)

Murder & Capital Murder – 1st°/capital fel.
– intentionally causing death or serious bodily harm resulting in death to another, or when death occurs during commission of a felony


viation from SOC of ROPP.

Vehicular Manslaughter
– a.k.a. Intoxication Manslaughter; causing death of another through operating a car, boat, etc. while intoxicated.

B. Rape

Common Law – felony

Texas – 2nd degree felony

Rape – unlawful sexual intercourse with a woman against her will; couldn’t rape wife

Sexual Assault – intention/knowingly causing penetration of another’s organ/anus/mouth w/o consent (man or woman, wife); or forcing others to do so

Statutory Rape – 12 yrs

17 yrs. Dnse if actor is no more than 3 yrs older (indecency w/a child, exposure w/intent to arouse). Not able to introduce evid of prior promiscuity