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Criminal Law
South Texas College of Law Houston
Stevenson, Dru

I. Sources of Criminal Law
A. Judge Made Law

B. Purpose of Criminal Law
a. To Punish

C. Purpose of Civil Law
a. Make Π whole again

II. Theories of Punishment
A. Retribution
i. Δ gets what he deserves
ii. Δ pays back debt to society
iii. Humans have free will
B. Utilitarianism
i. Punish people only if it
Equates to a reduction in crime
to the whole society.
A. General Deterrence
a. Punish Δ to deter the Community
B. Specific Deterrence
a. Punish the Δ to deter himself
i. Incapacitation
1. Incararate Δ
ii. Rehabilitation
1. Fixing Δ while incarcerated by providing work force skills
iii. Educate
1. Make Δ more knowledgeable A/T societies norms
III. Criminal Law& Public Policy
A. Influences court’s Interpretation of law when Ambiguous
B. Effects the Mens Rea
C. Determines the outcome of a Crime in terms of length of Sentence and types of Punishment
D. Non Harmful Acts may be Criminalized in order to Prevent Real Crimes

IV. Principles of Legality:
A. The Legislature has to define a Crime in Advance before a person can be Punished

B. The Δs arguments
i. The statutory Interpretation of the statute is wrong
ii. If Knowingly is in the statute it is a General Intent Crime B/C the Δ can argue Negligence on his behalf
A. Principle of Lenity
a. If statue errs on the side of Ambiguity it errors on behalf of the Δ
B. Void for Vagueness
a. The statue is so Obscure that Men of Ordinary Intelligence have to Guess to the Meaning of the Statute
C. Void for Overbroad Statue
a. The statue is so Overbroad it burdens or punishes Activities which are Constitutionally protected. It Criminalizes protected. It criminalizes innocent people.
D. Ex – Post – Facto Laws
a. An Attempt to Criminalize something that has already happened
E. Bill of Attainder
a. Prevents punishment without a Trial
F. State of Being
a. You cannot Criminalize A State of Being
i. (EX) Being an Alcoholic, or Drug Addict
C. Sentencing Discretion
i. Higher Court will evaluate if a Judge did something Outrageous & Arbitrary in evaluation of overturning Statue or Not
A. Judges actions = outrageous for court to overturn

D. Possible Bases for Overturning Sentences
i. Exceeds the Statutory Maximum
ii. So Disproportionate that it Violates Due Process 5th/8th Amendment
iii. Judge
A. Abuse Discretion
B. Failure to Pre-Read sentence report
C. Refuse to listen to what Δ & Lawyer say
D. Neglected to carefully fix the Proper Sentence

E. Principles of Statutory Interpretation
i. Legislature omits elements in a statute because (1) disliked element (2) Pointed Reader into the Direction they wanted

F. Fair Warning:
i. A statue must give a Reasonable person fair warning that his conduct is forbidden by statue

G. Arbitrary & Discriminatory Enforcement must be Avoided
i. A statue must not Encourage Arbitrarily and Erratic Arrests and Convictions

H. Legislative History
i. Defines What the Legislature means by the Elements of a Statue

I. Resistance in Mobility/Interstate Commerce are Unconstitutional

V. Burden on parties
A. Burden of Proof
i. The State must prove very element of the Crime Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
ii. Shifts the Burden on Δ “Preponderance of the Evidence” standard for Δ “Clear & Convincing Evidence”
B. Burden of Production
i. Must Show Evidence on a subject or you will lose it
VI. Elements of a Crime
A. Actus Reus
i. Voluntary Act
A. In rare Circumstances a failure to act where there is a duty to act (Omission)
B. At Common Law a willed Muscular Contraction (Movement)

ii. Voluntary Criminal Act
A. Being Coerced into Walking across a street by a Gun point at head
B. Δs conduct must include a Voluntary Act, not every act of Δ is Voluntary
C. The Relevant Conduct contributing to the Criminal Act must be Voluntary
a. (EX) Person gets into car turns on ignition and during the drive has an Epileptic Seizure they are Guilty of Driving Negligently killing a pedestrian
i. The Voluntary Act must be the conduct that led to the crime
iii. Involuntary Act
A. Movement of body during an Epileptic Seizure
B. Reflex Action
C. Bodily Movement while person is Unconscio

Criminal Liability
4. Not A criminal Act/Cannot Criminalize a State of Being
v. Willful Blindness
1. CL: Under Def of Intent: Intent = Proof and Knowledge with Substantial Certainty
2. MPC: Knowledge Knowingly: Actual Awareness and Substantial Certainty
(EX) Δ Deliberately Closed His Eyes to what otherwise would be Obvious to him. If Δ actually Believed that the fact did not exist, Δ cannot be convicted.
vi. Mental State of Actor
1. Must be a Mental State proven to Convict a person
2. Δ knew he was committing a crime, knowledge that it was illegal is not Relevant

C. Common Law Mens Rea
i. A particularly Guilty State of Mind
ii. Sometimes Specified In the Crime; if not it is Usually GI; if Public Welfare Crime SL
A. Specific Intent Crimes
a. In the Statue Knowingly / Purposefully / Intentionally
b. Carries a Higher Punishment B/C more Culpability Intent
i. Exceptions: Inchoate Crimes
c. Δ hopes a Specific Result
d. Δ Plans conduct not actually Undertaken
e. Δ already knew Conduct has occurred
f. Δ Going beyond harm Defined in Definition
g. Specified Specific Motive
i. Proof Knowledge, Actual Knowledge (Recieves Stolen Goods)
h. Defenses
i. Mistake of Fact
ii. Intoxication
iii. B,E,F,F,F,C,A,A,L,S
B. General Intent Crimes
a. Default for Common Law: Can Mean Recklessness OR Gross Negligence
b. Requires Mens Rea
c. Volitional Doing of A Specific Act
i. Not enough for Specific Intent but Negligence is not sufficient
ii. Not specifically proven but inferred from the facts Δ engaged in
iii. Along with GI, some crimes require that Δ had knowledge (scienter) requirement (EX)Rape , Murder
(Every Crime has a Mens Rea Requirement