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Criminal Law
Temple University School of Law
Bocchino, Anthony J.

I.                   General Principles
a.       Burden of proof = beyond a reasonable doubt (BARD)
                                                              i.      Rests w/the prosecution
                                                            ii.      Every fact necessary to convict must be proven BARD
                                                          iii.      Reasons for BARD standard
1.      to justify the loss of liberty
2.      to justify the loss of good name (stigmatization)
3.      necessary to gain public respect and confidence in the system
b.      Common reasons for appeal
                                                              i.      Jury instruction – judge erred in giving or not giving instructions to jury → new trial
                                                            ii.      Evidentiary – error in admission/exclusion of evidence → new trial
                                                          iii.      Prosecutorial misconduct → new trial
                                                          iv.      Sufficiency of evidence – evidence produced is insufficient to justify the conviction; a demurrer; even if all the facts are true, it still does not constitute a crime→ acquittal
c.       Reasons for punishment
                                                              i.      Retribution
                                                            ii.      Deterrence – special and general
                                                          iii.      Rehabilitation
                                                          iv.      Incapacitation
d.      Three principles limit distribution of punishment:
                                                              i.      culpability (to safeguard conduct w/out fault from condemnation as criminal)
                                                            ii.      proportionality (to differentiate on reasonable grounds between serious and minor offenses)
                                                              i.      legality (to give fair warning of the nature of conduct declared to constitute an offense)
II.                Elements of a Crime → Culpability
a.      Identity + Actus Reas + Mens Rea + Causation = Crime (unless justification or excuse)
b.      Actus Reas – evil act; culpable conductPhysical AspectA voluntary act that causes social harm
                                                              i.      AR requires a voluntary and conscious act or an omission if there is a legal duty (by status or by contract)
1.      Δ is NOT guilty if action is involuntary (done during reflex, convulsion, unconsciousness, sleep, hypnosis)
2.      Unconsciousness cannot be self-induced (if you voluntarily drink or do drugs, this will not be a blanket defense)
3.      Exceptions to “No Duty to Act Rule”
a.       Relationship (Parent-child, Spouses)
b.      Contractual
c.       Creation of Risk (You created the risk)
d.      Statutory
e.       Voluntary Assistance (you started helping that person and now they need your help.)
                                                            ii.      Overt Conduct
1.      Martin v. State – D convicted of public intoxication in an instance where the police took D from his home to a public place; AC reversed b/c he did not voluntarily go to public place
2.      People v. Newton – murder suspect claimed he lost consciousness after being shot in abdomen and doesn’t remember shooting police officer thereafter; unconsciousness is a defense when it isn’t voluntary
                                                          iii.      Omission
1.      Pope v. State – witness to child abuse was under no legal duty to act; (mother left baby in Δ’s care, and she let him die from beating); gov’t alleged status relationship. Court finds she has no duty as child’s mother was present. Moral duty ≠ legal duty
2.      Jones v. US– Child was living with Jones when he died of neglect. Issue was whether he was under a legal obligation to care for the child when the child’s mother was also living in the house. Court finds he has not legal duty.Failure to act may constitute a breach of duty when:
a.       statute imposes a duty of care
b.      certain status relationship between parties
c.       one party assumes a contractual duty to another
d.      one party voluntarily assumes the care of another
3.      People v. Oliver – Oliver met Cornejo, at a bar and invited him to her home.   After ingesting heroin he then passed out in her living room. Her daughter found him and called her mom who instructed her to drag him outside and put him behind a shed where he would be seen. When Oliver returned with her boyfriend she found him still there even to the next morning. Afraid he was dead she told her daughter to call the police who found him dead from morphine poisoning.  
Holding: Oliver have a legal duty to Cornejo because she took charge of a person unable to prevent harm to himself. Reasoning: By taking him to her home she took him from a public place where others might have taken care to prevent him from injuring himself to a private place where she alone could provide such care. She should have known that her conduct contributed to creating an unreasonable risk of harm for his death and at that point (when he collapsed) she owed a duty to him to prevent that risk from occurring by calling for help if she hadn’t already realized that her actions would have lead to risk. 
c.       Mens Rea – evil mind. Mental state at the outset of the crime
                                                              i.      4 types of Mens Rea + SL:
1.      Purpose → a conscious intent to bring about a particular result; requires subjective intent to commit the crime
2.      Knowledge → requires subjective awareness of the result; a practical certainty that this will occur
3.      Recklessness → requires conscious disregard of the risk; foresee the possibility but consciously decide to take the risk; subjective awareness
a.       To evaluate recklessness look at:
                                                                                                                                      i.      Nature of the risk
                                                                                                                                    ii.      Awareness of the risk
                                                                                                                                  iii.      Justification for taking the risk
4.      Negligence → substantial, unjustifiable risk that deviates from the reasonable person standard; objective test, Δ should have been aware and failed to exercise reasonable standard of care
5.      Strict liability → absence of a mental state; based on absolute duty. Requires no mens rea just proof of actus reas.

mens rea element of negligence in child abuse statute requires criminal negligence → substantial and unjustifiable risk, gross deviation from the norm. Reasoning: doctrine of lenity – when statute is ambiguous, construed in favor of D – want to punish morally culpable conduct
                                                          ix.      Jewell v. U.S. – case of willful blindness. D enters U.S. w/marijuana, claims he didn’t know it was there. Holding: under mens rea state of “knowingly” all that is required is awareness of high probability of existence or conscious purpose to avoid the truth. Reasoning: “know” doesn’t mean positive knowledge, it means constructive knowledge; takes public policy into consideration – look at Drug Control Act; dissent would argue court uses negligence mens rea (should have known)
d.      Mistake of Fact
                                                              i.      is a defense when it negates the MR necessary
Where D makes an honest and reasonable mistake of fact and his conduct would NOT be criminal if the facts were as he supposed them to be, then his mistake of fact is a defense to a crime requiring specific intent
                                                            ii.      is NOT a defense when
1.      the act is inherently wrong
If mistake of fact pertains to something that is inherently wrong, no MR is required and it cannot be a defense
2.      it is a strict liability offense (no MR included/needed)
reasonable belief is not a defense to SL crimes
                                                          iii.      Ask two questions
1.      What is the mens rea?
2.      Does mistake of fact negate that?
                                                          iv.      Ignorance or mistake is a defense when it negates the mens rea essential to the offense or when it establishes a mens rea that constitutes a defense under a rule of law
                                                            v.      Strict liability for inherently wrong conduct
Regina v. Prince: D took unmarried girl under 16 out of father’s home thinking she was 18; belief was reasonable. Issue: whether mistake of fact negates the crime; does statute require mens rea regarding age? Holding: strict liability under a certain age; act itself was wrong so it doesn’t matter that he was mistaken about age.  Dissent → criminal should be punished only if he is morally culpable; goal of deterrence
People v. Olson: D engaged in deviate sexual conduct w/girl under 14, thought she was over 16; evidence of consensual v. forced is disputed. Holding: reasonable mistake of age is not a defense to statutory rape. Reasoning: strong public policy to protect children of tender years; statute provides probation for mistake of fact