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Criminal Law
University of San Diego School of Law
Alexander, Lawrence A.

Criminal Law in General2
In General2
Statutory Clarity/Interpretation.. 3
Theories on Criminalization.. 4
Punishment defined.. 4
Utilitarianism… 6
Retributivisim… 7
Proportionality. 9
Utilitarianism and proportionality. 9
Retributivisim and proportionality. 9
Rehabilitation.. 9
Constitutionality. 9
Burden of Proof9
Presumptions. 10
Mandatory presumptions. 11
Permissive Presumptions (Inferences)11
Elements. 12
Actus Reus. 12
Attendant Circumstances. 13
Mens Rea.. 13
Concurrence.. 17
Causation.. 19
Strict Liability. 22
Mistake of Fact. 24
Mistake of Law… 25
Defenses. 28
Failure of proof28
Justification.. 28
Excuse.. 29
Specialized defenses. 31
Extrinsic defenses. 31
Self-Defense.. 31
Defense of others. 35
Defense of property. 35
Law enforcement. 35
Necessity/Lesser evil35
Duress. 37
Intoxication.. 38
Insanity. 39
Diminished Capacity. 42
Inchoate Crimes. 43
Attempt. 43
Solicitation.. 45
Conspiracy. 46
Complicity (liability for the acts of others)51
Homicide.. 55
I.       Definitions 55
II.       Murder55
III.           Manslaughter56
IV.           Negligent Homicide.. 57
Criminal Law in General
In General
·        Crime Defined
o       A crime is an act or omission prohibited by law for the protection of the public, the violation of which is prosecuted by the state in its own name, and punishable by fine, incarceration, other restrictions upon liberty, or some combination of these [MPC 1.04(1)] o       Sources of criminal law
§         English common law
·        CL is a major source of criminal law. Definitions of the basic crimes and defenses were developed in the decisions of the English courts and became part of the common law adopted in early America. Even where criminal law matters are now covered by statute, the meaning given these statutes is often determined by reference to the CL
§         Statutory codes
·        Crim law matters are now largely governed by statute. Most jurisdictions have compre

certain period. [MPC 1.04(2) – offense punishable by imprisonment for more than one year is felony] or by imprisonment in a state prison vs. a local jail [Cal. Penal Code section 17].
Statutory Clarity/Interpretation
·        Norms
o       A rule is a norm the terms of which give the same specific guidance to everyone despite differing values (ex. stop sign)
§         Clear and specific, everyone can agree
·        rules give fair warning
·        they deter ppl
·        they avoid chilling peoples rights
·        they control official discretion
·        they allow for predictability and coordination
o       disadvantages
§         rules are rigid and do not bend
§         rules can be maneuvered around through loopholes and technicalities
rules will have mistaken applications