Select Page

Criminal Law
University of Mississippi School of Law
Clancy, Thomas K.

 
Criminal Law – Clancy
 
Social Harm – actus reus fits into one of these categories:
1.      Conduct Crime- crime is complete when the conduct occurs. The act itself results in the social harm. (i.e. carrying a concealed weapon – prohibits carrying a concealed weapon, and once carried, the crime is complete)
2.      Result Crime – the result produces the social harm and that is what is punished. (i.e. murder)
3.      Attendant Circumstances – look at the circumstances that surround the act (i.e. the sale of alcohol to someone who is under 21, driving while intoxicated – don’t normally punish driving – its only when intoxicated that this is a crime)
 
Actus Reus – physical element of a crime (guilty act)
 Must be:
1)      Voluntary
2)      conduct
      -acts
      -omissions
      -possession
 
Both physical and mental elements must occur at same time for criminal liability.
not liable for thoughts alone – must also be a physical act
 (w/o an act there is no crime) MPC 2.01(2)
 
 
the following are involuntary acts MPC 2.01(2):
reflex or convulsion
bodily movement during unconsciousness or sleep (driving while asleep is voluntary)
conduct during hypnosis or resulting from hypnotic suggestion
a bodily movement that otherwise is not a product of the effort or determination of the actor, either conscious or habitual. (catch-all)
 
§   Coerced Act→Voluntary.
§   Determination of choice makes the act voluntary.
 
Possession –
voluntary if:
1. the possessor knowingly procured or received the thing possessed or
2. was aware of his control thereof for a sufficient period of time to have been able to terminate his possession. (not always minimum time is required)
 
            State v. Flaherty – D is charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. D claims
That he had no knowledge that he was in possession of the firearm. Knowledge is a key aspect of possession.      
-MPC requires you know the nature of the item you possess
 
Omission – Failure to act MPC 2.01(3)
Act = Bodily Movement
General rule- people are not liable for omissions.
            Exce

eneral notion of blameworthiness
                 – this approach is less common (wantonness, malicious intent, willfulness, felonious intent, scienter, criminal intent)
            2) Elemental – each crime has a specific mental state that has to be proved as part of the                          crime in order for the crime to be punishable. 
             -5 categories in the elemental approach (MPC definition)
                        a. purpose (sp. Intent)
                        b. knowledge (general Intent)
                        c. recklessness (conscious disregard)
                        d. negligence
                        e. strict liability (no mental state)
 
1. Purpose = Intent
a. Conduct or result– “Conscious object to engage in conduct of that nature or to cause such as result.
   -conscious desire to achieve a goal