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Criminal Law
University of Georgia School of Law
Amann, Diane Marie

CRIM – AMANN – FALL 2015

MPC (1962) -> modified/adopted state-by-state approach

GENERAL V. SPECIFIC INTENT CRIMES

● general = intent to do act that causes harm (punching someone => assault)

● specific = intent to act with additional intent (assault in order to rape)

JUSTIFICATION

1. GENERAL DETERRENCE:, if one is punished, other people/society will be deterred

a. REBUTTAL: 1) do people actually care, 2) are statutes enforced such that people are aware (severity, certainty of punishment)

b. Q TO ASK: balance of severity of punishment and certainty of actual arrest/conviction

2. SPECIFIC DETERRENCES: if one is punish, that particular person will be deterred from committing crimes in future

a. REBUTTAL: high recidivism/repeat offender rates

● INCAPACITATION: prison will stop person from further harm

○ REBUTTAL: what crimes, how long?

● REHABILITATION: convicted person will be cured while in prison/supervision

○ REBUTTAL: has it worked so far? can all crimes be cured?

● RETRIBUTION: severe criminal punishment => “just deserts” and righteous vengeance

○ REBUTTAL: inherently cruel? (SCOTUS says no)

● COMMUNITY VALUES: punishment based on expression of wrongfulness of conduct to educate/create community for moral right/wrong

ACTUS REUS

● PROSECUTION: prove that accused committed a criminal act or failed to perform an act or she was legally required to perform

1. VOLUNTARY: product of person’s free will, manifested by corresponding, external body movement

a. INVOLUNTARY (MPC): reflex/convulsion, unconsciousness or sleep=> unconscious movement, hypnosis conduct, AND “a bodily movement that otherwise is not a product of the effort or determination of the actor, either conscious or habitual.”

b. DEFENSE: if acted involuntary =>no actus reus=>no crime

2. POSSESSION

a. MPC: “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”

b. JOINT: if in a place where more than one person can be shown to have been aware and exercised control over it

● EVEN IF NOT IN IMMEDIATE VICINITY/ON PERSON: if possessor was aware

3. OMISSION: failing to act is NOT a crime, unless legal requirement/duty to act

● MINORITY: failure to give aid is criminal in some jxd

● LEGAL DUTY: exceptions, when statute imposes, ‘status’ relationship (children), contract, CREATION OF PERIL (created harm, therefore duty to victim)

MENS REA

● PROSECUTION: prove that accused acted with a particular culpable mental state required by law

○ NOT “GENERAL WICKEDNESS” => must be specific

● STRICT LIABILITY: crimes that do not require mens rea

○ even if statute does not have an explicit mens rea element, presumption is that legislature meant to =====> decided by legislature

○ ex. public welfare/regulatory offenses

MPC 4 LEVEL APPROACH (2.02(1))

1. PURPOSE: accused’s conscious object was to commit criminal act charged

● 2.02(1)(a) “(i) if the element involves the nature of his conduct or a result thereof, it is his conscious object to engage in conduct of that nature or to cause such a result; and (ii) if the element involves the attendant circumstances, he is aware of the existence of such circumstances or he believes or hopes that they exist.”

● most difficult to satisfy => “intentional” conduct

2. KNOWLEDGE: was aware that nature of conduct was like that charged or was practically certain that is would result

● 2.02(1)(b) “he is aware that his conduct is of that nature or that such circumstances exist; and (ii) if the element involves a result of his conduct, he is aware that it is practically certain that his conduct will cause such a result.”

● PROSECUTION: DOESN’T HAVE TO ESTABLISH ACT = CONSCIOUS OBJECT

3. RECKLESSNESS: accused consciously disregarded substantial & unjustifiable risk of committing or causing act w/ “gross deviation” from what reasonable person would do

● 2.02(1)(c) “person acts recklessly with respect to a material element of an offense when he consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material eleme

dental given the criminal result to justify the imposition of criminal sanctions?

○ REMEMBER: consider both what the actor should have reasonably foreseen as well as any unforeseeable intervening causes

Homicide

AMANN EXAM APPROACH

● Prosecution

○ Felony murder is OK and

■ Great rule and appropriate to give strict liability

■ Underlying evil, unlawfulness of other felony

● 2nd argument: accept as alternative “inherently dangerous felony” rule

○ Conduct at issue -> but all felonies are dangerous

○ Broadest causation rules –> everything D did set in motion eventual death

■ Everything is foreseeable

● Defense:

○ Felony murder is obsolete

■ Comes from time when all felonies were punishable by death

○ Isn’t fair

■ We arent looking if they had intent: against theories of mens rea and good justice

○ Doesn’t work

■ There’s no evidence that it makes a real difference in deterrence

○ No rule should be applied in our jxd

● 2nd argument: even if you adopted it, ADOPT LIMITED VERSION

○ Narrow application –> inherently dangerous felony requirement

■ Only those that are in and of themselves dangerous to themselves

■ FELONY IN THE ABSTRACT THEORY

○ Causation: narrow as possible

■ Didn’t happen in furtherance of crime

■ Foreseeable consequence

○ Agency theory: