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Criminal Law
University of California, Hastings School of Law
Little, Rory K.

CRIM LAW
Professor Little
Fall 2005


I) The Nature and Structure of Criminal Law
A)    The Capacity to Obey
i)        Dudley & Stephens(7): Cannibalism/Boat case
a)      Rule: CL Necessity is NOT a defense to Homicide.
b)      Rule: It was murder bc they purposely killed the cabin boy so they could eat him
c)      “Drawing Straws” Defense: Consent is not considered a defense
d)      Sentenced to deathà commuted to 6 months
B)    Standard of Proof: The Due Process Clause of the Constitution has been held to require
i)              in re Winship: MPC 1.11àBoy who got caught stealing from a women’s locker
a)      Rule: Must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt “every fact necessary to constitute the crime” (element) charged.
1.                   Jury must be instructed on all elements of the offense
2.                   (Jones refines this idea of elements as things that increase sentencing)
b)      Possible Defenses:
1.             Consent: IE: “She said it was alright”
2.             Debt: IE: “She owed me money”
3.             Mistake: IE: “I thought this was my locker”
4.             Duress: IE: “Someone made me do it”
5.             Finder: IE: “I found it”
c)      Once established “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” as a constitutional requirement for valid criminal convictions, state court defendants could style their claims of evidentiary sufficiently as claims of constitutional error. This greatly expanded the number of criminal convictions, that could pursue all the way to the SC as presenting a “federal question.”
ii)      Reasons for a Higher Standard and Higher Burden of Proof (Class Nts)
a)      Liberty: Taking someone’s free will away (jail)
b)      Stigma: Hard to get a job after being criminalized. If people trust the criminal system, they will believe that that person is actually guilty. People are concerned with racial disproportions (more A-As, which effect employment, which is already hurting the comm.)
c)      Community Confidence: So community believe that the people they are putting in jail are deserve it, and are confident in their decision
d)      Individual Confidence: Every individual should have the confidence that they should not be convicted unless the gov’t has an extremely higher stander of proof
e)      Margin of Error
iii)     People v. (Glen) Johnson: while using this instruction, also told jurors that reasonable doubt was the same as the basis for “everyday decision making”
iv)    Several Scholars have recently examined the scope and adequacy of the notion of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Corwin argues that the 3rd circuit of appeals has recently defined the standard so expansively that “criminal defendants will have an extremely difficult time establishing due process violations. Solan proposes that the reasonable doubt standard may not be the “best way to promote the values out system of criminal law claims to venerate.”
v)      Jackson v. Virginia: the SC established what the constitutionally required standard of review for evidentiary sufficiency should be for criminal convictions on appeal (4-5)
vi)     Apprendi v. NJ: SC extended Winship to require that the prosecution prove beyond a reasonable          doubt any fat “other than the fact of a prior conviction…that increases the penalty for a crime                   beyond the prescribed statutory maximum.
C)

ng ( =Legality)
i)        Keeler v. Superior Court(41): x-hubby beat up wife in the pregnant belly
a)      Statute: §187 “Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, with malice aforethought”
b)      Rule: to try for the murder of the fetus the stat. must say fetus.
c)      Updated: §187 “Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought”
d)      Since Keeler a number of state legislatures have amended their homicide statutes to include the killing of an unbornchild (9)
e)      People v. Davis: the CA SC refused to require proof of viability in order to sustain a fetal homicide conviction under the murder statute amended in response to Keeler
ii)      Shaw v. Dir of Public Pros.(48): Morals/ Published “Ladies Directory”
a)      Vagueness Doctrine: Statutes are supposed to be written so that a person of reasonable mind can determine what is criminal conduct and that punishment that goes along with it in the statute
b)      Majority: Courts should be able to interpret
c)      Dissent: Court interpretations too broad
E)     Structuring the Study of Criminal Law (61-65)
i)        Basic Elements:
a)      Acts = ACTUS REUS
b)      States of Mind = MENS REA
ii)      Basic Model of Liability and its permutations
a)      The Basic Model
b)      Causation
c)      Attempt
Accomplice Liability