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Criminal Procedure
University of Toledo School of Law
Steinbock, Daniel J.

CRIMINAL LAW
I. Introduction
a. Theories of Punishment
i. Deterrence (Utilitarian)- deter actor & society from committing the crime, looking to maximize happiness (utility), cares about consequences/ends not means
1. specific- that a particular Δ will not committee the crime because of cost/benefit analysis or currently in jail
2. general- citizens generally will not commit criminal acts because of the cost/benefit analysis
3. punishment can be justified only if it the good it accomplishes outweighs the harm
ii. “Eye for Eye” (retributive justice)- to teach the Δ a lesson & make them pay their debt to society
1. punishment justified because the person deserves the consequences of their actions
iii. Disgust- exists on the margins
1. ex. “outrageously vile” standard for death penalty case
b. Legality- What limits if any must the legislature & judges observe when writing & interpreting criminal statutes?—must construct narrowly
i. Two Questions
1. Why do we care how judges interpret criminal statues?
2. Does restrained limited judicial discretion lead to effective, outcome with respect to society?
ii. Requirement needs to be Previously Defined Criminal Conduct
1. Not up the judiciary to create a law, only interpret,
2. only the legislature can create a new law declaring something a crime
3. therefore if conduct previously not defined in the books would be unconstitutional to declare this act a crime
c. Limits on Judicial Interpretation
i. Statutory Clarity
1. No vague laws
a. No fair notice & too much discretion to law enforcement officials
i. Ex. Morales – ie loitering statute
ii. Statutory Interpretation
1. Majority’s “tools” used to interpret statutes
a. prior cases- narrow, dictionary definition, legislative intent (legislative history)
b. rule of lenity –proposition that criminal statute must be construed narrowly in favor of the Δ, because if construe too broadly then might be penalizing Δ for conduct the legislature did not intend to make criminal
iii. Purpose of these two concepts along w/ previously defined crime is
1. ensures legislature draft criminal law w/particularity so no overly vague laws exist
2. require judges when interpreting statutory and legislative authority to use the proper tools
3. prohibits judges from going beyond the legislative intent when interpreting statutes

II. Actus Reus- voluntary act/omission (along w/ any possible attendant circumstances), that results in a harm (either to the individual or society), necessary component of ALL crimes, = prosecution must prove
a. Defined – “bad act”, physical or external part of the crime, conduct
i. Interpreted as a comprehensive notion of act, harm & connecting link of causation
1. objective standard
b. Elements
i. Conduct
1. voluntary act or omission
2. all crimes have conduct
ii. Result
1. to be criminal act: must lead to some harmful result that society would like to deter(result that flows from conduct)
2. look at immediate (physical harm to victim) & extended result (less tangible harm to society
3. “conduct crimes” don’t need tangible injury, just harm to society .. putting them in danger
a. e.g. driving while intoxicate
4. “result crimes” = e.g. murder, harm must result, but doesn’t matter “how” it occurs,
iii. Attendant Circumstance/s (A/C)
1. additional element that must be present for something to constitute a crime
2. criminal offense as written requires crime take place under certain circumstances
iv. NOT all elements need to be present, will not always have element 3
v. In some cases element 1 & 2 cannot be distinguished ex. in murder
c. Burden of Prosecution
i. Show Δ committed the crime by proving all elements of the crime using the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt”
d. Voluntary Act Requirement PG 13
i. Must be a voluntary act or omission, ie performance an action which he is physically capable” pg. 123 – Martin
ii. Act- “willed movement or omission of a possible & legally required performance”
iii. Does a condition response negate a voluntary act? –Utter pg. 126
1. automatism – an act over which we have no conscious control is an involuntary act
a. see conditioned response as a form of this, but need sufficient evidence to show this is what occurred
iv. An act committed while unconscious in reality is no act at all so no criminal liability UNLESS unconsciousness is induced voluntarily ie drugs or alcohol
v. Voluntary act is along a continuum – need to look at order of events extremely important in determination
vi. Ex. of involuntary acts that would negate actus reus of a crime under MPC pg. 993 Section 2.01(2)(a)-(d)
1. reflex/convulsion ie epileptic seizure
2. bodily movement during unconsciousness or sleep ie sleep walking
3. conduct during hypnosis or resulting from hypnotic suggestion
4. bodily movement that otherwise is not a product of the effort or determination of the actor, either conscious or habitual
e. Omission- failure to perform a moral duty does not give rise to criminal liability while failure of a legal duty does
i. cannot be held liable for an omission unless a legal duty to act exists
ii. A legal duty to act exists when: pg. 135
1. a statute imposes a legal duty
2. where one stands in a certain status relationship w/ another
a. ie parent-child, doctor-patient
3. when one has assumed a contractual duty to care for another
4. where one has voluntarily assume care of another & secluded this person so no one else can help them
5. when a person creates a risk of harm, creates a dangerous situation

III. Mens Rea- bad mind, what Δ was thinking when act committed, subjective criminal intent, internal feature of the crime
a. Most crimes have to have mens rea proven beyond a reasonable doubt
i. Exception Strict Liability offenses purely based on the conduct, doesn’t matter the intent of the party
1. Public welfare offenses ex. certain vehicular violations & narcotic offenses, inherently dangerous activities
2. statutory rape- someone above the age of consent having sexual relationship w/ someone below the age of consent
b. Broad v. Narrow Definition—class focus is on the narrow def. (Cunningham)
i. Broad- general moral blameworthiness/culpability
1. don’t commit act innocently
ii. Narrow- if statute explicitly sets forth the mens rea level the prosecution needs to prove that level for th

xists(at least) aka recklessness
vii. Mistake of Fact- when prosecution cannot show beyond a reasonable doubt the mens rea to commit the crime, therefore cannot prove case in chief
1. Whether mistake of fact is a defense depends on whether it’s a specific or general intent crime
a. Specific—
i. Wording “w/ intent to …” or “w/ knowledge of ..”
ii. Can be a defense as long as the mistake made in good faith belief
1. = mistake negates specific intent portion of the crime
b. General
i. Defined purely based on conduct w/ no future act
ii. Can be a defense as long as the mistake was
1. made in good faith
2. AND is reasonable
viii. Mistake of Law
1. Usually not a defense, in most cases
a. Ignorance of the law is no excuse
2. Exception
a. Defense when reasonably relied on an official interpretation of the law & it turns out that interpretation was wrong
i. official ie court, mayor, attorney general
1. lawyers not part of this category

IV. Causation
a. Overview
i. Was there a causal link between the conduct & the harm?
ii. Is it a required aspect of all criminal offenses?
1. NO—only pertinent w/ regards to crimes that require the Δ actions cause a specific result*
a. Usually issue when death or injury harmful result – Result crimes
b. Types of Causation
i. Actual Cause or “Cause in Fact” – (but for cause)
1. But for the actions of the Δ would the harmful results have occurred
2. A Δ’s conduct is a cause in fact of the prohibited result if the said result would not have occurred “but for” the Δ’s conduct
a. Usually easy to establish
b. An issue in cases where two or more Δ’s act independently
i. Only small amount of cases
ii. If conspirators both guilty, doesn’t matter who actually cause results
3. Concurrent Sufficient Causes (ie substantial factor test)
a. When both done at same time so don’t know who actually caused the harm & each cause was sufficient to lead to the injury
i. In this case they BOTH are considered under the law “but for” causes of the victims injuries/death
4. Concurrent Causes, Only one Sufficient
a. Ex. D1 stabs V & D2 shoots V. D1 only lethal wound
i. D1 lethal wound – “but for” cause
ii. D2 non-lethal – can’t be charged w/ murder but could be with a lesser offense
5. Aggravation or Combined Effect
a. Two separate non-lethal wounds combined result in the victim dieing
i. Combined effect of both actions is enough to impose criminal liability on both Δ’s
b. Not recognized by all jurisdictions
6. Accelerating the Result (MOST Common)