Select Page

Criminal Law
St. Johns University School of Law
Simons, Michael A.

Course Ouline (P.S.: Remember the course structure, especially Part III, when writing your final exam essays)
I. Introduction
II. Theoretical Underpinnings
            A. Principles of Punishment
            B. Modern Criminal Statutes
III. The General Part
            A. Actus Reus
               1. Voluntary Act
                2. Omissions
                3. Social Harm
          B. Mens Rea
                1. General Issues
                2. Strict Liability
                  3. Mistake
          C. Causation
          D. Concurrence
IV. Specific Offenses
            A. Homicide
                  1. Intentional Killings
                        – Murder
                        – Manslaughter
                  2. Unintentional Killings
a.                    Depraved/Reckless
b.                   Reckless/Negligent
      3. Felony Murder
            B. Rape
I Introduction
Victor and David are roommates. Fed up with Victor’s hygiene habits, David decides to kill Victor. David’s plan is to put rat poison in Victor’s coffee. But avid oversleeps and Victor leaves before David gets a chance to poison the coffee. Unfortunately for Victor, through, he accidentally fills his coffee with the rat poison, drinks it, and dies a horrible death on the kitchen floor. Is David guilty of murder?
àNo, because there is No Act.
David wants to kill his roommate Victor, so David fills Victor’s coffee with rate poison. Victor takes the poisoned coffee and leaves for work. But before he is able to drink, he accidentally dropped the cup.
àNo, because there is No harm
David accidentally puts rat poison instead of sugar in Victor’s coffee.
àNo, because there is no intent
David puts the deadly rat poison in Victor’s coffee. Victor takes the coffee and leaves for work. As he cross the street, he was hit by bus and killed.
àNo, because there is no causation.
General Part:

                                          Principle of Punishment
Crime Prevention & Punishment Minimalization –
Purpose of punishment:
General deterrence    
Specific deterrence
Just Deserts
Negative retributive: Desert allows punishment (you can’t punish somebody unless he just deserts)
Positive Retributive: Desert requires punishment
                                                    Harm: Injury Caused
                                                 Culpability: Choice Made
Another theory of punishment – Expressive (pays attention to the message sent by punishment)