FALL 2013, Criminal Law, Cynthia Lee, UC Hastings
1. Actus Reus
2. Mens Rea
4. Concurrence (the act and the mind meet)
5. Harm/ Injury
1. Case in chief defenses- ∆ attacks an element of the prosecutor’s argument (burden of proof on prosecution)
2. Affirmative defenses- ∆ argues that even if offense was committed, not guilty should be awarded because of some reason or excuse that made ∆ less culpable (burden on defense)
Preponderance of the evidence usually for defense when proving affirmative defenses
1. justification and
Presumption of innocence, innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, state must prove every element
Ways JDX's distinguish between felonies and misdemeanors
Length of incarceration
More than a year=felony
Less than a year= misdemeanor
Place of imprisonment
Justifications for punishment-
(Moral) Consequentialist à utilitarianism, actions are only moral if they benefit the community;
The belief that actions are morally right if and only if they result in the desirable consequence
Utilitarianism- Predictable effects of punishment on the offender and society
Non-consequentialist à retributivism
actions are morally correct within themselves
è Regina v Dudley Stevens: man ate the boy out of necessity, but the law should not be absent from morality so it was murder.
Theories of punishment-
Deterrence; general specific, retribution, rehabilitation, incapacitation
è People v Suitte: Rules that it was not too excessive to impose a 30-day jail sentence to ∆ for not registering his gun because the court wishes to use general deterrence as a tough on gun law approach.
Article Jail Haven or Hell
Expressive punishment- are the punishments sending the right messages, expressive of the communities believes in wrong but the message gets across the wrong way i.e. minimum sentencing for gun holders (making gun holders feel like criminals is not what the community wants) Shaming can be good punishments
Standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt- policy reason huge disadvantage as opposed to civil cases also in dp clause of 5 and 14 amt. proof beyond reasonable doubt of every fact for which the crime is charged.
Jury Nullification- a power (not a right), Penal code 1089: Trial court can discharge a
juror if good cause to believe that s/he is unable to perform his duty
è People v Williams: if the jury has the power to acquit a case even with overwhelming evidence, it is likely that there will be different treatments for different ∆’s. Ruled juror 10 was dismissed lawfully when he sated that he could not follow the rape laws. A juror is allowed to dispute the facts as they relate to the law, but he cannot disregard the law.
® Because Jurors have a strong power that is not reviewed by judges after, but If juries disregard the law, that ruling cannot be checked and the case cannot be re-tried
Chapter 2 Const. Limitations
© Legality- can only punish if it is illegal
© Rule of Lenity- if a doctrine is vague but not vague enough for void for vagueness, rule in favor of the ∆
In US v Eichman defines rule of lenity as
“Courts should decline to interpret a criminal statute to encompass situations which a reasonable layperson could not foresee as being within the ambit of the statute”
Void for Vagueness Doctrines-
A penal stature (violates the 5th + 14thth amd.’s due process clauses) and is voided for its
1. No fair notice (of what conduct is criminal) OR
è Papachristou v City of Jacksonville: Rules that the city ordinance is unconst. Because of V4V; the definitions are too vague (i.e. loafer) and arrests are being made with discriminatory targeting. A crime cannot be charged unless the person knows that it is a crime (i.e. living off of the earnings of others is not one)
2. Encourages arbitrary or discriminatory enforement (enforcement by police)
è Kolendar v Lawson: Cal Penal Code statute struck down for V4V because it violates the 14th dp clause when it does not give any standards to the police to enforce it. There was discriminatory targeting when the same man got stopped several times just because he is black and likes to walk at night. Criminal statute is unconst.
è If it can unfairly enforced and if it does not give individuals fair notice of the type of conduct prohibited by the statue
Voluntary act or omission when there is a legal duty to act, which results in and causes some kind of social harm.
a. A voluntary act or an omission where D had a legal duty to act.
Omission failure to act when you have a legal obligation to act
b. That causes/results in
c. The Social harm
1. Not only thoughts but acts,
® (Cannot be punished for thoughts alone; Hypo- man who wrote a journal about child sex)
2. Act cannot have been committed by the gov,
è Martin v State: “Police took ∆ from his home and brought him onto the street where he committed the unlawful acts, the ∆ was not guilty of breaking the law b/c he was forced by the gov/police to
People v Knoller case- creating risk by your dog hurting V
5. Voluntary assumption of care
If a person helps and deters others from helping is the person who assumes care stops, renders a failure to continue, this can serve for the basis for the actus reus requirement to be met.
® There is no such duty if there are none of these, Beardsley says why a mistress is not within this duty.
è Regina v Instan: Does a niece who lives with and is maintained by her aged aunt who
Suddenly becomes very sick owe a legal sure to feed and care for her sick aunt? Court ruled yes. Took care of aunt when no one else was
è Regina v Nickles: A Grandma took an infant in her charge and did not give the infant food. She was penniless, but there is a rule that if a person chooses to undertake the charge of a human creature helpless from infancy simplicity lunacy or other infirmity they are bound to execute that charge without wicked negligence and if a person who has chosen to take charge of a helpless creature lets it die by wicked negligence that person is guilty of manslaughter.
è State v Noakes: Do the husband and wife owe a legal duty to a baby in their house, just because the baby was born under their roof, the child was a maid servant’s child? No
5. You cannot be punished for status, crimes ∆ only punished for his conduct, not for being a certain kind of person. (status crimes are unconst.)
® Hate Crimes law, some argue punishing based on a “hate” is increasing punishment for bad thoughts in violation of 1st amd.
è Wisconsin v Mitchell: ∆ reenacted a seen from a movie when he beat up the white victim, thus imposing a crime b/c of hate. ∆ 1st amd. rights were not violated when he was imposed a stricter sentence because of the crime.
Ö Because a part of society will be offended and angry by the killing this deems a public policy response, community unrest and upheaval
Ö Bias motivated crimes are more likely to provoke retaliation
Ö Why not in favor? You will always separate people