Criminal Law Outline
1) Justifications for Crim. Law
ii) Defense of Norms/Morals of the public
iii) Preventing Ind. from committing future crimes
2) Defining the Line
i) Institutional Sanctions v. Civil Law v. Criminal Law
(1) Posner – Civil Law keeps rich in check, crim. keeps poor in check
(2) Rich can just pay off damages in civil law
ii) If Criminal Law is too vague
(1) Everyone is a criminal waiting to be prosecute
(2) Prosecutorial Overreach
(3) Groups unpopular at the moment are targeted
(4) If no act or omission req’d then unconstitutional
iii) If Criminal Law is too strict
(1) Law is a straight jacket, and crimes go unpunished
Act and Omission
Policy: Crim. Law should not reach into thoughts, or to those who overcome them
1) Common Law crimes require act or omission plus a bad state of mind
i) Voluntary bodily movement
(1) Manifestation of the will
ii) Possession is considered an act (MPC) if Possessor
(a) Knowingly procured the item –or–
(b) Was aware of his control thereof long enough to terminate his possession of it
iii) Not voluntary if:
(1) Reflex or convulsion
(2) Unconsciousness or sleep (sleep walker murderer case)
(a) Exception: failure to take precaution
iv) Class examples of acts sufficient to constitute a crime
(1) No crime can be committed by thought, but ill will + non criminal acts may constitute a crime
(a) E.g. a nod or taking a picture of the bank
(2) Spoken words are acts
(a) Encouraging one to engage in criminal act, even if not causally related (X would’ve done it anyways)
i) Omission to act constitutes a crime when and only if there is a duty to act
(1) A duty to act may be based on:
(i) Vt. Criminalizes the failure to act when there is no peril, no interference with important duties to give reasonable assistance
(ii) Failure to Report when a person has reasonable cause to suspect another has committed a violent or sexual assault on someone under 12- is a crime.
(iii) Taking affirmative acts to conceal a crime is illegal
(b) Voluntary Assumption of Aid
(c) Special Relationships
(i) Includes parent and child
1. Walden – Held: A Parent who watches friend beat their baby is aiding and abetting the assault, and constitutes a crime of omission.
2. Henson- parents have a duty to provide their children medical care
(ii) May not include siblings
(d) Contractual Obligations
(e) Duty to Control 3P
(i) Tarasoff, children, employees
(f) Defendant’s Creation of the peril
(g) MPC- Duty under civil law ought to suffice to make duty to act arise under criminal law
Def: A trespassory taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with intent to deprive permanently.
a) Wrongful, unconsented
i) A taking can be wrongful even though the owner consented to give D possession, but not title. [see larceny by trick] [If title is given see false pretenses.] 2) Taking
a) Taking is the severance of the goods from the possession of the owner, even if only for an instant.
i) Requires Control and Possession of item
(1) Hypo: Guy takes a coat from a manikin and runs for it. Coat chained, not larceny.
(a) This shows that Asportation does not always equal a taking.
3) Carrying Away
(1) Moving an air conditioner only a few inches is sufficient Asportation
(2) Pie v. Doughnut Distinction- if some part stays still, then no Asportation.
i) No Asportation
(1) So you can take something without moving it, like building a fence around it.
4) Personal Property
a) Traditional v. Modern Split
i) C.L Traditional View
(1) Limited Personal Property (also limited by Asportation req’) Property is:
(a) Not Vegetables Attached to the Land
(i) Exception: If veggies are no longer attached to the land, then act is not contiguous and it can be larceny.
(b) Not Intangible Things
(c) Not Dogs or Cats, but domesticated livestock included.
(d) Not Use of Property or Services
(i) There is no property in the information on a test that constitutes personal property for larceny (Oxford).
(ii) Lund – Computer use time cannot constitute property.
ii) Modern Statutory Expansion of Property
(1) Wider Definition Property is:
(a) Dogs and Cats, Services, Energy, Water, Power
(i) Not about tangibility, about whether it’s capable of being appropriated
(b) Unauthorized access to computer systems (Cal. Pen. Code)
(c) Data (can steal your own data)
(i) Exception E.E in scope of employment where less than 100$
1. Policy: prevents speech, prevents E.E. mobility v. I.P. Economy.
(d) Trade Secrets
(1) Property means anything of value including real estate, contract rights, claims to wealth, tickets, food, electricity.
b) Value of Personal Property Determines:
i) Grand v. Petty Larceny
(1) Difference is the dollar amount of property.
(a) Lund- Computer printout as valuable as scrap of paper.
ii) Methods Used to Determine Value
(1) Market Value, fair and reasonable
(a) Free newspapers did not constitute personal property when Police Chief took them all.
(2) Cost to Create Property
(a) The Scrap of Computer Paper in Lund, if this method was used, would be worth 26k. Cost of creation of the misuse of Wi-Fi.
(3) Subjective Value of Owner
(a) Somebody cleans up garbage scattered on another’s lawn. If owner says expensive art work, its value is sufficient
5) Of another
a) C.L Of Another
(1) If one steals property in which another has a vested Possessory Interest, req’ met.
(a) Henry – D broke into house in which he had boarded, and stole property that he had provided as collateral which he had left in the house after skipping out on the right.
(i) Although the property was never delivered, the use of items as collateral was enough to make it property of another.
(2) Partnership or Marriage property is not of another.
(1) Can steal stuff mutually owned in a partnership or a marriage.
i) Attempt – one may be able to ATTEMPT steal their own coat [jurisdiction dependent].
6) W/ Intent to deprive another of property permanently (mens rea element)
i) Specific Intent
(1) Can be proven by:
(a) It may be inferred based on the circumstances.
(b) Evidence from a sale of the stolen item to another person.
(2) Negate this requirement by:
(i) One can unreasonably think that the property is their own
(i) If you just are borrowing the item, and intend to return it, it’s not larceny
1. A person who takes property intending to borrow it and then return it within a reasonable time does not have specific intent to deprive permanently
a. Brown – A took bike to get even intending to return i
is parked on store's private property. Storeowner took hubcaps until the car's owner could prove that he was a customer
1) Extensions of Larceny [continuous taking fiction no longer applies] a) Lost or Mislaid Property (6 normal elements + additional elements.)
(1) Two additional elements at the time of taking
(a) Initial Intent to Deprive Permanently (at the time of taking)
(i) So, if you initially intend to return it, but end up keeping it- okay
(ii) So, if you initially intend on keeping it, but return it or get caught- larceny.
(b) Clue to Ownership [at the time of taking] (i) A clue sufficient that if you acted without great effort you would be able to find true owner
1. Look at the thing
2. Look at the location where it is found
a. Is it a valuable item in a organized society?
(a) In small town, laborer finds huge amount of money. He sneaked the money into his pocket. He did not admit that he found the money. Held: Larceny b/c such a valuable thing in a small town is clue, and hiding shows intent to deprive permanently.
(3) Exceptions: Lost or Mislaid rule does not apply to abandoned property.
(1) A person who comes under control of mislaid or mistakenly delivered property is guilty of theft if
(2) with purpose to deprive the owner
(3) he fails to make reasonable measures to restore the property to the T.O.
(i) Requires an Affirmative Act – reasonable measures
(ii) Does not require clue to ownership, or initial or original intent to steal
1. Policy Honors People Who Return Within Reasonable Time
2. More about ultimate action that counts
(i) More about ultimate act to return the item.
(1) Watch Hypo
(a) A picks up watch with a name on it and phone number, at first A wants to keep the item without returning it, but then has a change of heart and returns it
(i) Under C.L. – Larceny
(ii) Under MPC – No Crime
b) Mistaken Delivery
(1) In addition to the normal larceny requirements the prosecution must prove:
(i) D knew about the mistake as to the nature or amount of the property was made at the time of taking
(ii) that the defendant had the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property, at the time of taking
a. At the time of delivery: did they know about the mistake, and attempt to make it theirs?
i. If the mistake was mutual, there is no intent to deprive permanently.
ii. If they learned about mistake later, then it is not at the time of discovery.
iii. If one learns about the mistake at delivery, but then plans on returning it, they lacked intent to deprive permanently.
But if one learns about mistake and does not intend to return it but does this is larceny.