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Criminal Law
UMKC School of Law
Eckhardt, William G.

I.                    Criminal Punishment
a.       Features of Punishment
                                                               i.      Must involve pain or other consequences normally considered unpleasant
                                                              ii.      Must be for an offense against legal rules
                                                            iii.      Must be of an actual or supposed offender for his offense
                                                            iv.      Must be imposed and administered by an authority constituted by a legal system against which the offense is committed
b.       Justification of Punishment – Why Punish?
                                                               i.      Retributivist Justification: “Just Deserts”
1.       “it is only fitting and just that one who has caused harm to others should himself suffer for it”
2.       Punishment is justified because people deserve it
3.       Backward-looking rationale
a.       Offender’s past behavior justifies punishment
4.       Criticism of Retributivism
a.       Punishment is senseless and cruel if it does no good
b.       Glorifies anger and hatred
c.        Irrational bc founded on emotion
                                                              ii.      Utilitarian Justification: punish to prevent future harms, rehabilitation, and incapacitation
1.       Deterrence: General Prevention
a.       “sufferings of the criminal for the crime he has committed are supposed to deter others from committing the same crime in the future, lest they suffer the same unfortunate fate”
b.       Most widely accepted rationale
c.        Two types
                                                                                                                                       i.      General deterrence
1.       Deters others in society
                                                                                                                                      ii.      Specific deterrence
1.       Deters the offender from repeating behavior
d.       Determinative factors in deterrence
                                                                                                                                       i.      Certainty of punishment
                                                                                                                                      ii.      Severity of punishment
e.        Crimes where deterrence is ineffective:
                                                                                                                                       i.      White collar
                                                                                                                                      ii.      Drug trafficking
2.       Rehabilitation & Reform
a.       Penology seeks to reform criminal to become a useful member of society
b.       Paradoxical in that the purpose of punishment is to reform the offender, not prevent the offense
c.        Hard to measure if the person is receptive to reformation (too subjective)
3.       Incapacitation: Restraint: Isolation: Disablement
a.       How:
                                                                                                                                       i.      Imprisonment
                                                                                                                                      ii.      Execution
b.       Looks to prevent future criminality by the individual
c.        Segregates offender to protect the rest of society
d.       Appropriate when offender cannot be reformed
e.        2 ways: individualized sentence vs. identical sentence
4.       Criticisms of Utilitarianism
a.       Deterrence: justifies using persons solely as means to an end, punished individual is an instrument for improvement of society, ignores humanity of wrongdoer
b.       Can justify punishment of person who is innocent
c.        Rehabilitation: not effective, takes out the just reward for their bad deed
c.        Punishable Conduct – What to Punish?
                                                               i.      Law seeks to enforce behavior that complies with preferred societal norms
                                                              ii.      Mora crimes vs. not
                                                            iii.      Judicial Discretion but with good reason: Federal Sentencing guidelines
a.       Extraordinary circumstances allow court to depart from normal sentencing guidelines
                                                            iv.      Crime and Sexual Misconduct
1.       Wolfenden Report: not private morals, but only restrict conduct that injuriously affects the rights of others
2.       Bowers v. Hardwick (D challenged the constitutionality of consensual sodomy)
a.       Sodomy does not fall within the fundamental liberties that qualify for heightened protection
b.       The fact that the offense takes place at home does not make it immune from criminal sanction
II.                  The Elements of Just Punishment
a.       Introduction
                                                               i.      Definition of a Crime and Premises
1.       Act or omission that is prohibited by law in order to protect the public
2.       Physical conduct and Mental state
3.       Only harmful conduct criminal that is known in advance (legality)
a.       Ex Post facto: after the fact, retroactive
b.       Strict construction of statute
c.        Void for vagueness doctrine: explicitly and definitely what acts are prohibited, so as to provide fair warning and preclude arbitraryenforcement.
d.       Trend away from open ended common law crimes
4.       Subject to legally prescribed punishment
                                                             ii.      Elements of a Prima Facie Case
1.       Act (Actus Reus)
a.       (Physical) Conduct
b.       Results
c.        Circumstances
2.       Criminal State of Mind (Mens Rea)
3.       Concurrence of act/mental state at same time
4.       Harmful result and  Causation:factual and proximate cause
                                                           iii.      Merger of Crimes
1.       At common law, if the offenses of misdemeanor and felony merged
2.       Ex: every murder consists of assault and battery
3.       Modern Rule:
a.       Most jurisdictions no longer apply the merger doctrine, so that a person can be convicted of several offenses
                                                           iv.      Common Law Rules of Statutory Construction
1.       Placement of mens rea term at beginning may imply modifies every actus reus
2.       If in middle doesn’t apply to terms before it
3.       Modifies result and conduct elements
III.               Culpable Conduct – Actus Reus
a.       Common Law
                                                               i.      Act
1.       Affirmative act
2.       Conduct, results (consequence of D’s action), and circumstances (external conditions that must exist) described in definition of offense
                                                              ii.      Omission (not acting when legally required to)
1.       Does definition of crime punish for omission
2.       Where definition specifies a result must occur:
a.       Doesn’t describe specific affirmative conduct that must result and
b.       Legal duty to act and it is possible for D physically to perform
                                                            iii.      Possession
b.       MPC
                                                               i.      § 2.01(1) Requirement of Voluntary Act
1.        (1) A person is not guilty of an offense unless his liability is based on conduct which includes a voluntary act or the omission to perform an act of which he is physically capable.
2.       (2) The following are not voluntary acts:
a.        Reflex or convulsion
b.        bodily movement during unconsciousness or sleep
c.        conduct during hypnosis or resulting from hypnosis suggestion
d.        a bodily movement that otherwise is not a product of the effort or determination of the actor, either conscious or habitual
3.       (3) Liability for the commission of an offense may not be based on an omission unaccompanied by action unless:
a.        the omission is expressly made sufficient by the law defining the offense or
b.        a duty to perform the omitted act is otherwise imposed by law.
4.       (4) Possession is an act within the meaning of this section, if the possessor knowingly procured or received the thing possessed or was aware of his control thereof for a sufficient period to have been able to terminate his possession.
                                                              ii.      § 1.05(1) All Offenses Defined By Statute
                                                            iii.      § 1.13(9) General Definitions “elements of an offense”: conduct, act
                                                            iv.      § 2.01(4) Possession as an Act: knowingly get or knew of possession
                                                             v.      §1.02 Purposes and principles of construction
c.        Involuntary Acts

tantial and unjustifiable
c.        Jury question: is it gross deviation from standard or care law abiding citizen in actor’s situation
4.       Negligently 1.13(15-16): should be aware to C, R, Cir
a.       Nature of risk: substantial and unjustifiable
b.       Awareness of risk: should be aware
c.        Jury question: gross deviation from SOC that reasonable person
                                                            iii.      § 2.02(3) Culpability Required Unless Otherwise Provided
1.       If the offense is silent, then apply all culpabilities accept negligently
                                                            iv.      § 2.02(4) Prescribed Culpability Applies to All Material Elements
1.       Unless otherwise stated, if one type of culpability applies to one element, it applies to all others
                                                             v.      § 2.02(5) Substitutes for Negligence, Recklessness, and Knowledge
1.       If a crime requires negligence, then purposely, knowingly or recklessly will also suffice
2.       When recklessness is required, then purposely and knowingly suffice
3.       When knowingly is required, then purposely suffices
                                                            vi.      Material Element § 1.13(10)
1.       Conduct, result, and circumstance elements used in
a.       Defining the offense
b.       Establishing its grade or severity
c.        Providing a defense
                                                          vii.      Analytical Roadmap
1.       Start with MPC § 2.01(1)
2.       Define elements of offense MPC § 1.13(9)
3.       Look for material elements MPC § 1.13(10): conduct, result, circumstances element in
a.       Defining the offense
b.       Establishing its grade or severity
c.        Providing a defense
4.       Violations v. Elements MPC 2.05(1)
a.       § 1.04(5)
                                                                                                                                       i.      Violation does not constitute a crime, no imprisonment. Fine only
                                                                                                                                      ii.      Violations result in strict liability
d.       Cases
                                                               i.      Regina v. Cunningham (D tore off gas meter to get money, gas leaked into residence and injured woman)
1.       D is not responsible for every unforeseeable result
2.       Used to decipher between general intent and specific intent
3.       Maliciously requires D to act recklessly with foresight of actual consequence, or intent to do the particular harm
                                                              ii.      Regina v. Faulkner (D steals rums, lights match, burns ship)
1.       Example of recklessly or negligently
2.       D did not willfully start the fire, but if he had known the probable result and still continued on, he is guilty
                                                            iii.      Holloway v. United States (Carjacking, is there mens rea based on conditional intent?)
1.       D may not negate the proscribed intent by demanding the victim comply with a condition that D has no right to impose
                                                            iv.      U.S. v. Jewell (D got caught transporting drugs, said he didn’t know they were there)
1.       Deliberate ignorance and positive knowledge are equally culpable
V.                  Causation
a.       Common Law
                                                               i.      Generally
1.       Did the defendant initiate physical forces that led to a particular result?
a.       Must have result