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Criminal Law
University of Mississippi School of Law
Hoffheimer, Michael

CRIMINAL LAW, Spring 07
Hoffheimer, § 1
 
Introduction
·         Trial by Jury
o        Sixth Amendment Right to Trial By Jury
§         Providing the accused a trial by a jury of his peers gives him a safeguard against a corrupt or overzealous prosecutor and against the compliant, biased or eccentric judge
o        The Jury
§         Federal system: 12 jurors and unanimous verdict needed for conviction
§         Juries as small as 6 are constitutionally permissible.
·         Some states allow for non-unanimous verdicts
o        Voir Dire (to speak the truth)
§         A preliminary examination of a prospective juror by a judge or lawyer to decide whether the prospect is qualified and suitable to serve on a jury.
·         Cause Challenge-when a party strikes a juror and provides a reason why he shouldn’t be on the jury; a party has an unlimited number of challenges for cause as long as a valid reason.
·         Peremptory Challenge-each party gets to strike a certain number of jurors whom they believe are biased, but whose partiality was not adequately proven through the voir dire.
o        Batson Challenge-a party cannot make a peremptory strike based on race and gender.
·         Proof of Guilt at Trial
o        Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
§         See In re Winship: far worse to convict one innocent man than to let free 10 guilty men
§         Due Process Clause (Fifth Amendment)
o        Presumption of Innocence
§         Innocent until proven Guilty
§         See Owens v. State: drunken man found asleep in a car: had he been driving while intoxicated.
·         Jury Nullification
o        Deliberate knowing and rejection of the evidence or refusal to apply the law; maybe the jury doesn’t like the law, or the prosecutor, or they really like the D.
§         Jury appeals to itself rather than the law
 
Principles of Punishment
·         Theories of Punishment
o        Deterrence
§         General: knowledge that punishment will follow crime deters people from committing crimes. 
§         Specific: actual imposition of punishment creates fear in the offender that if he repeats his act will be punished
o        Incapacitation
§         Preventing persons with criminal dispositions from acting upon their tendencies.
·         Jail time
·         Parole
·         Prohibitions
o        Reform of Rehabilitation
§         Punishment may help to reform the criminal
o        Retribution
§         Moral culpability; the offender deserves
·         Choice of Evils
o        Defense Necessity
§         See Queen v. Dudley & Stephens: D claimed necessity in the killing of a young boy while adrift in an escape boat. Necessity Defense failed
§         See Knight v. State: MS case; black D ran over a white child in a white neighborhood; a crowd formed and he was told to get out of there; charged with fleeing the scene. Necessity defense granted.
§         Claim by the actor that his cond

o punish someone for something that didn’t require a purposeful act
o        An act involves an exercise of will and signifies something done voluntarily
§         See State v. Utter: D claims that his killing of his son was a reflex action due to his combined intoxication and military training. Found guilty.
·         An act committed while unconscious in no act al all (no liability)
·         However, if the state of unconsciousness is voluntarily induced, no defense
o        MPC § 2.01. Requirement of Voluntary Act; Omission as Basis of Liability; Possession as an Act.
·         Omissions (Negative Acts)
o        Exception to the voluntary act requirement
o        Omission is a failure to act, but only if a duty to act exists.
§         See People v .Beardsley: no legal duty to protect mistress
o        See Jones v. US:
o        Examples
§         Status relationship
§         Statutory obligation
§         Contractual duty
§         Voluntarily assumed
§         Created the risk
 
Mens Rea
·         Nature
o        Guilty mind or criminal intent
o        Morally culpable state of mind
Mental state of the D with regard to the social harm element