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Criminal Law
Villanova University School of Law
Dempsey, Michelle Madden

Fall 2010
Prof. Michelle Dempsey
I.        Special Part
A.     Homicide
1.       Pennsylvania Pattern
a.       Definition
1.                  Killing (causing death)
2.                  Human being
3.                  Malice aforethought
i.                    Express (intent), or
ii.                  Implied (“depraved heart”)
b.      1st degree Murder
1.                  Killing
2.                  Human being
3.                  Intentionally (express malice)
4.                  Deliberate (“cool mind capable of reflection”)
5.                  Premeditated (reflection before killing)
c.       2nd degree Murder
1.                  Killing
2.                  Human being
3.                  Either
i.                    Intentionally (but w/o premed. or delib.), OR
ii.                  With a “depraved heart” (grossly reckless)
d.      Caroll (1963)(man shot his sleeping wife)
1.                  No time is too short for “premeditation”
e.       Anderson (1968)(∆ killed live-in girlfriend’s 10-year-old daughter, sexual in nature, 60 stab wounds)
1.                  Brutality of killing does not itself establish proof of
premeditation and deliberation.
2.                  No evidence of planning activity; evidence of motive;
and the manner of the killing wasn’t “so particular and exacting” that the ∆ must have acted with “preconceived design” to take a life in a particular way.
3.                  Caroll (1st degree) and Anderson (2nd) highlight some
problems of premeditation/deliberation. Why is it worse than impulse killing (cf. mercy killings, suicide pacts)? MPC drafters reject this assumption.
f.       Perez (1992)(∆ kills pregnant acquaintence, multiple stab wounds)
1.                  Retreated from the legal rule established in Anderson.
2.                  Criticized the court for substituting its judgment for the
g.       Knoller (2007)(aggressive dog wasn’t muzzled nor caged): Court applies the Phillips test to determine implied malice, “depraved heart”) –
1.                  Natural consequences of the act are dangerous to life
(high probability of death)
2.                  ∆ deliberately performed the act
3.                  ∆ knew that this conduct endangered life
4.                  ∆ acted with conscious disregard for life
h.      Fleming (1984): The difference between depraved heart murder (implied malice) and involuntary manslaughter is “one of degree rather than kind.”
i.        Voluntary Manslaughter
1.                  Killing
2.                  Human being
3.                  With malice (express or implied)
4.                  Provocation (“passion killing”, a partial defense)
i.                    Adequate provocation
1.                  Mere words usually not enough
2.                  “Reasonable cause” approach
3.                  “Category” approach (common law):
mutual combat, serious assault and battery, injury to ∆’s relative, resisting illegal arrest, discovering cheating spouse)
ii.                  Reasonable person test
1.                  Majority objective test
iii.                Cooling-off
1.                  Actually cool off, or
2.                  Have sufficient time to cool off.
iv.                [A minority requires that victim be the source] j.        Avery (2003)(woman having an affair, victim is harrassing her at night, she gets scared one night and shoots him).
1.                  “He looked mad”
2.                  She was “scared to death”
3.                  Court finds enough evidence to instruct on sudden
passion for voluntary manslaughter.
k.      Intent
1.                  Majority rule: intent to kill.
2.                  Minority rules (common law): intent to cause serious
bodily injury, commit a felony, or resist lawful arrest.
l.        Involuntary (reckless) Manslaughter
1.                  Killing
2.                  Human being
3.                  Recklessness
i.                    Aware [of] ii.                  Substantial and
iii.                Unjustifiable risk (that his conduct will cause
death of a human being), and
iv.                Consciously disregarding that risk
v.                  (Disregard is a “gross deviation” from standard
of care that a “law-abiding” person would observe.)
m.    Feinberg (1969)(∆ sells Sterno, which is toxic, knowing that customers will consume it)
n.      Robertson (2002)(∆ runs from police officer, jumps a gap, a second officer falls off bridge)
1.                  ∆’s wanton disregard of the risks was a but-for and
proximate cause of victim’s death.
2.                  Officer’s pursuit was reasonable.
3.                  Not depraved heart (maybe because of ∆’s own ability to
jump the gap).
o.      Negligent Homicide
1.                  Killing
2.                  Human being
3.                  Negligence
i.                    Should be (but isn’t) aware [of] ii.                  Substantial and
iii.                Unjustifiable risk (

               Court upheld felony murder conviction (∆ was also
charged with depraved heart murder).
B.     Assault (non-sexual)(MPC focus)
1.       Simple Assault: 211.1(1)(a)
a.                   Attempts to cause, or
b.                  Purposely, knowingly, or recklessly causes, or
c.                   (b)Negligently with a deadly weapon causes
d.                  Bodily injury
e.                   To another person
2.       Simple Assault: 211.1(1)(c)
a.                   Attempting
b.                  By physical menace
c.                   To put another in fear
d.                  Of imminent
e.                   Serious bodily injury
3.       Aggravated Assault: 211.1(2)(a)
a.                   Attempting to cause, or
b.                  Causing
1.                  Purposely, knowingly, or recklessly
2.                  under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to
the value of human life
c.                   Serious bodily injury
d.                  To another
4.       Aggravated Assault: 211.1(2)
a.                   (b)Attempting to cause, or
b.                  (a)Causing
1.                  Purposely or knowingly
c.                   Bodily injury
d.                  To another
e.                   With a deadly weapon
5.       Reckless Endangerment
a.                   Placing
b.                  Another person
c.                   In danger of
d.                  Death, or
e.                   Serious bodily injury
f.                   Recklessly (assumed if ∆ points firearm at V, even if ∆ believes
firearm is unloaded)
6.       Terroristic Threat (211.3) – specific intent formulation
a.                   Threatening to commit
b.                  Crime of violence
c.                   With the purpose to…
1.                  Terrorize another, or
2.                  Cause the evacuation of a
i.                    Building
ii.                  Place of assembly, or
iii.                Facility of public transportation