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Criminal Law
UMKC School of Law
Berger, Mark

Actus Reus – Culpable Conduct
 
Culpable Conduct – wrongful deed that comprises the physical component of a crime.
 
1. Voluntary Acts
 
MPC 2.01 (1)
a. 2.01 (1)
 A person is not guilty unless conduct includes a voluntary act.
            i. Conduct element of crime
                        – pure physical movements that a person engages in
            ii.Concept of voluntariness
                        – helps to ensure there’s fault in the defendant’s action.
 
Common Law
a. Definitions:
            i. a voluntary act can also be the result of habit or even inadvertence as long as the         individual could have behaved differently.
 
b. Martin v State
i.Accused was involuntarily carried to the highway while intoxicated so he cannot be found guilty because there was not voluntary act.         
ii.Hypotheticals (Different levels of culpability)
Cops call defendant and tell him they’re coming to arrest him. While waiting he gets drunk.
 
Defendant is arrested and cops put him in the back of the car. While in the car he gets drunk.
 
Defendant is voluntarily drunk, but he’s never been drunk before so he does not know what effects it will have on you. Defendant decides to drive.
 
c. People v Decina (driving epileptic)
i. If there’s a voluntary action that makes involuntary action foreseeable satisfies voluntary action.
ii. As long as there’s one voluntary act in D’s course of conduct, he may be criminally responsible.
 
2. Involuntary Acts
 
MPC 2.01 (2)
a. Not voluntary acts:
            i.Reflexes or convulsions
            ii.Movement during unconsciousness or sleep
            iii.Conduct during hypnosis.
            iv. Bodily movement that otherwise is not the product of the effort or  

rocesses.
 
3. Omissions
 
 MPC
a. 2.01 (3)
Liability for the commission of an offense may not be based on an omission unaccompanied by action unless:
            i. the omission is expressly made sufficient by the law defining the offense
            ii. D has a duty to act imposed by civil law.
 
Common Law
a. Good Samaritan
            i. Pope v State
                        –  For omission to be a crime you must have a legal duty to act.
                        –  Legal duty is often provided by statute.
            ii. “good Samaritan” statutes – make it criminal offense to refuse to help those          known to be in serious peril when aid could be provided without danger.