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Criminal Law
Wayne State University Law School
Dillof, Anthony M.

Principles of Punishment
General Goals:
– retribution and deterrence
– maximize social welfare
– actions as a means to an end
– pain by punishment justified only if result in reduction of pain crime would cause
General deterrence
– punishment as means to reduction in crime, society will learn
– reinforce society’s norms
Specific deterrence
– D’s punishment will deter D of future crime
Rehab- rehab takes criminal out of justice sphere
Incapacitation- D’s imprisonment will deter him from future crime
Intimidation- D’s punishment serves to deter from crime life
Actions as ends in themselves
Should be punished b/c deserve it
Desert matter for responsibility of harm
– punish as much as deserved (+)
– punish no more than deserved (-)
– Desert= Responsibility x Harm
– responsibility for harm even if no reducing crime
– D was culpable, right a wrong by punishing
Mixed Theory
– punish to extent it maximizes social utility (UT)
– but no more than deserved (- RV)
– is conduct and harmful result
– AR- act(voluntary act)- willed movement or omission of possible and legally required performance, done voluntarily
– Criminal act judged on level of consciousness, if unconscious, not responsible
– If unconsciousness is voluntarily induced, no unconsciousness defense (Utter)
– Want or defect of will
– Reflex isn’t voluntary act
– Voluntariness applies to act that caused social harm

Result Crimes
– law punishes unwanted outcomes
– punishes for harm resulting form acts or omissions
– result is crime, social harm to all
Conduct Crimes
– law prohibits specific behavior (d.u.i.)
– there may be no social harm, but try to avoid the social harm
Social harm- negation, endangering, or destruction of individual, group, that’s socially valuable
AR- operating vehicle in reckless or culpably negligent manner causing death
– conduct ® operating vehicle recklessly
– result® death
– AC constitute AR; condition that must be in conjunction w/ prohibited conduct or result in order to constitute the crime
Ex: statute says can’t drive car while drunk; AC is drunk; no AR if not drunk

MR: signifies state of mind regarding social harm of offense
– guilty mind; look to D’s mind to determine both propriety and grading of punishment
– act isn’t guilty unless mind guilty
– D guilty if commits AR of offense w/ any morally blameworthy state of mind
Specific Meaning-elemental meaning
– the particular mental state provided in definition of an offense
– person may possess the MR in culpability sense, but lack elemental meaning
Regina v. Cunningham – D broke gas pi

her w/intent to cause humiliation
3. some offenses require proof of actor’s awareness of an attendant circumstance
e.g. intentional sale of porn to someone known to be under 18
If no mental state in offense, state would have to prove blameworthy manner

General Intent

Specific Intent

No MR specified in definition (e.g. killing)

Some MR specified (e.g. killing negligently)

Any blameworthy mental state (e.g. killing negligently

Purpose (or knowledge?) required e.g. purposely killing, with intent to steal

MR concerning required conduct or result e.g. killing purposely

Additional intent e.g. killing intent to terrorize population or knowledge of AC