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Criminal Law
University of Mississippi School of Law
Hoffheimer, Michael

Professor Michael Hoffheimer
Spring 2006

I. Procedural Aspects of the Criminal Law

A. Amendments
B. History and Rationale
C. Verdicts
D. Jury Selection
E. Proof of Guilt at a Trial
F. Circumstantial Evidence
Owens v. State
G. Jury Nullification
State v. Ragland
II. Principles of Punishment

A. Theories of Punishment:
1. Retribution
2. Deterrence
a. Specific
b. General
3. Incapacitation
4. Reform
B. Tensions b/w these reasons
C. Defense of Extreme Temptation
The Queen v. Dudley and Stephens
D. Defense of Necessity (choice of evils):
1. MPC §3.02 – Justification Generally: Choice of Evils
2. MPC §3.01 – Justification an Affirmative Defense; Civil Remedies Unaffected

III. Actus reus
A. Definition
1. Voluntary Act
2. Negative Acts or Omissions:
a. MPC §2.01 – Requirement of Voluntary Act; Omission as Bases of Liability;
Possession as an Act
B. Defenses

IV. Mens rea
A. Definition
B. Malice
1. Intent
a. General
b. Specific
c. Transfer
2. Mens Rea under MPC
a. Purposely
b. Knowingly
c. Recklessly
d. Negligently
C. Strict Liability
D. Mistake and Mens Rea
1. Mistake of Fact
2. Mistake of Law

V. Causation
A. Actual Causation
B. Proximate Causation
C. Concurrence of the Elements

VI. Criminal Homicide
A. Murder
B. Manslaughter
C. Negligence
Drunk Driving Homicide Rundown
1. FMR Limitations
E. Capital Murder
VII. Rape
VIII. Larceny
IX. Attempt
X. Assault
XI. Solicitation
XII. Conspiracy
XIII. Accomplice Liability
XIV. Defenses

I. Procedural Aspects of the Criminal Law

A. Amendments:
4 – Unreasonable searches and seizures
5 – Capital crime must be indicted by a Grand Jury – no double jeopardy – can’t be forced to witness against self, Due Process for federal government.
6 – Speedy and public trial; right to trial by an impartial jury, rather than a judge;
right to have counsel (must have at least 6 jurors and a substantial majority to
8 – excessive fines + bails is not required, nor is cruel and unusual punishment
9 – enumerated rights can’t be interpreted to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people.

B. History and Rationale:

Prevents oppression
Protects against unfounded criminal charges
Safeguards against corrupt or overzealous prosecutors
Safeguards against compliant, biased, or eccentric judges

C. Verdicts

Most states require 12 person juries with unanimous verdicts
Some states allow juries with only 6 people (Min. Constitutional)
Some states do not require unanimous verdicts, but a majority

D. Jury Selection

Right to an impartial trial – 6th Amendment
Examination – voir dire
Preemptory challenges – Can’t be based on race or gender
Entitled to a jury form a cross-section of the community

E. Proof of Guilt at a Trial

Proof beyond a reasonable doubt à Due Process

o Instruction on reasonable doubt not required, but if o

xtreme Temptation

· Not recognized (4 men in boat, eat one to stay alive)
· Common law duty to sacrifice and not preserve man has no right to use extreme temptation as an excuse
*General Duty: to preserve your life w/in legal rules.

D. Defense of Necessity (choice of evils):

Common Law

MPC (§3.02)

Mississippi (case-by-case)

No Defense

1. Actor must believe necessity (subjective)
2. Harm avoided greater than harm caused (objective)

1. reasonable belief of
2. imminent danger
3. no reasonable alternative
4. balancing harms

1. MPC §3.02 – Justification Generally: Choice of Evils
(1) Conduct that the actor believes to be necessary (subjective) to avoid a harm or evil to himself or
to another is justifiable, provided that (objective standard):
(a) the harm or evil sought to be avoided by such conduct is greater than that sought to be