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Criminal Law
University of Mississippi School of Law
Hall, Matthew R.

                                                           Criminal Law
                               Spring 2011 Hall
I.                    Introduction
a.      The Legality Principle
b.      Theories of Punishment
II.                 Offense Requirements
a.      Culpability Requirements
b.      Culpability and Mistake
III.               Homicide and Related Issues
a.      Homicide: Doctrines of Aggravation
b.      Homicide: Doctrines of Mitigation
c.      Causation
IV.              Inchoate Liability
a.      Attempt Liability
b.      Impossibility
c.      Conspiracy
V.                Doctrines of Imputation
a.      Voluntary Intoxication
b.      Complicity
c.      The Act Requirement and Liability for an Omission
d.      Corporate Criminality
VI.              Justification Defenses
a.      Lesser Evils Defense
b.      Public Authority Justifications
c.      Defensive Force Justifications
d.      Mistake as to a Justification
VII.           Excuse Defenses
a.      Mistake Excuses
b.      Insanity
c.      Disability Excuses
Theories of Punishment
Punishment vs. Harm
What Is the Harm?
Society / Community / Social Fabric
Victim’s Community
Offender’s Community
Offender’s Character, Identity, Soul
Offender’s Relationship to Society
Status of the Harm?
Likely to Recur
Influence / Encouraging Others
Traditional Theories of Punishment
1- Retribution- deserve punishment for wrong doing/past conduct
Punishment – society wants to punish you
Desert – punishment for the good of the D
2- Utilitarian- beneficial consequence of avoiding future crime- good to
Specific Deterrence- discourage the offender at hand
General Deterrence-discourage society and other potential offenders
Incapacitation- incarcerating, executing or making impossible
Rehabilitation- taking away desire or need to engage in crim activity
            Deontological- only if blameworthy-moral – Doing this for your own good
            Empirical- community shared intuition- social norms
Daughter’s Mustard: a willingness to kill a mother out of love means that she probably won’t be a habitual offender, whereas a willingness to kill someone for money means they might be a repeat offender
Deterrence as a Legal Fiction – is it really effective?
·        It’s hard to specifically deter, teaching the offender not to get caught, not to not commit the crime.
·        ONLY works if offender is worried about conviction
·        Can’t deter fools, specific deterrence assumes that the offender is a rational person
·        Many Crimes are also committed in a moment of passion
Calculus Regarding Apprehension / Conviction
Hypothetical Replay of Decision to Offend
Cost / Benefit
Presumption of Repeat
Rational Actor
Calculus Regarding Apprehension / Conviction
Cost / Benefit
Presume Knowledge of Law and Punishments
Rational Actor
Potential Offenders Like the Defendant
Critique of Utilitarian Theory
Too Much Focus on Benefits of Punishment-Lack of Full Cost Benefit Analysis

on result (w/ attempted murder, the person has the same mental state as if they had actually committed the murder)
MPC Mental States
-Conscious Object to Cause Result
– Intentionally
-Aware of Virtually Certain Result
-or Knowledge of High Probability
= Willful Blindness
Conscious Disregard of Substantial and Unjustifiable Risk
Should Have Known of Substantial and Unjustifiable Risk (knowledge?)
Strict Liability
-Liability Without Regard to Mental State / Culpability (ex. statutory rape) – this conduct is so bad that you shouldn’t come anywhere near it. Society cares a lot about preventing this kind of conduct
-Mental State as to Each Element (MPC Approach) vs. Select Elements (Some States)
-Knowledge of Illegality / Criminal Prohibition
Not Required-Ignorance of the Law Is No Defense
-No Mental State Listed – can prosecute if D acted Recklessly (minuinum)- Negligence Requires Explicit Statement
A person who commits the following acts knowingly:
1) converts
2) government property
A person who knowingly converts government property . . . .
Application of MPC Mental States Differs Depending on:
Attendant Circumstances