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Criminal Law
Wayne State University Law School
Moran, David A.

Crime = Actus Reus + Mens Rea + Harm(if a result crime)

Actus Reus – physical or external component of a crime

–      common law def – willed muscular contraction or bodily movement by the actor.
–      MPC ‘act’ 1.13(2)
‘voluntary’ 2.01(2) The following are not voluntary acts within the meaning of this section.
(a) a reflex or convulsion
(b) a bodily movement during unconsciousness or sleep
(c) conduct during hypnosis….
(d) a bodily movement that otherwise is not the product of the effort or determination of the actor, either conscious or habitual.

–      OMISSION, if a legal duty exists
–      General Rule on omission – no duty to act, even if harm will occur to another. An Omission can be the Actus Reus if a legal duty exists between the person not acting and the victim.

C.L+ MPC. – duties that establish omission as AR

–      status relationships create legal duties.
–      parent/child, spouse/spouse, master/servant.
–      duty by contract
–      babysitter/child
–      Duty by voluntary assumption
–      One who voluntarily assumes must continue to care if a subsequent omission would place the victim in a worse position,
–      Duty by Risk Creation
–      If you create a risk of harm to another, you must act to prevent harm
–      Statutorily created Duties.
–      duty to feed your children.
MPC – possession – 2.01(3)(a)-(B)

see acceleration by omission,
intentional homicide by omission.

State v. Utter – conditioned response would not be a voluntary act, but must show evidence of                   triggering stimulus. Unconsciousness is not a defense to the AR when unconscious state is induced through D’s own action.

Decina – AR + MR simultaneously = crime. “Operating a vehicle in a reckless or negligent manner             causing death.”   Seizure= hitting kids was involuntary. However, the AR = driving a car, which             he did             voluntarily. The MR was driving negligently, and he did that if he knew of his epilepsy.
Beardsley – no status relationship, she put herself in the position of intoxication, no conviction.
Barber – dr. stopping life support. There is a duty rel., but dr’s don’t have a duty to exhaust             possibilities.

MENS REA – culpable state of mind.
General Intent- Mens Rea relating only to AR

Specific Intent – Mental State beyond that necessary to do the AR.  A specific intent includes an actual subjective intent to cause the proscribed result.

Intentional – conscious objective was to cause

m reasonable standard

Negligently – not aware, but should be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk.

Default when no MR is in Statute – Purposely, knowingly, or recklessly.

strict liability
strict liability
Malum prohibitum – Public Welfare Offenses – transportation of explosives on hway, Stat. rape.

Presumption Against Strict Liability – Morisette v. U.S. 4
MPC 2.05 abolishes strict liability except as to ‘violations'(1)(a), and offenses defined by statutes other than the code that prescribes absolute liability,(1)(b), (2)(a)

MPC 1.04(5) violation=offense with a sentence not harsher than a fine, fine and forfeiture, or other civil penalty.
Garnett v. State d thought she was 16 – Mistake of fact – doesn’t matter, stat rape is Strict Liability
Staples v. U.S.- congressional silence= no MR, SL crime? It is a public welfare offense, and so could be S.L…however gun ownership is legal, 10 years is very long – it’s unlikely Congress intended to put