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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 pipes

actual intention to do particular kind of harm that in fact was done
recklessness as to whether such harm should occur or not (saw the harm but still did it)

– malice doesn’t require ill-will toward injured person
– issue should have been even if didn’t want to injure mom in law, should he have foreseen the danger?
General and Specific Intent
General intent
– no particular mental state set out in definition of crime, only have to prove AR of offense was performed in morally blameworthy manner
– for crimes that permit conviction on less culpable mental state (e.g. recklessness or negligence)
– used to designate any expressed or implied mental state that relates solely to acts that constitute the criminal offense
Example: if battery is “intentional application of force on another”
-would b

ii. if element involves AC, aware they exist or believes or hopes they exist
b. Knowingly
i. if element is conduct or AC, aware conduct of that nature or that such circumstances exist AND ii. If element involves result of conduct, he’s aware that’s its practically certain his conduct
will cause such result
c. Recklessly
– consciously disregards substantial and unjustifiable risk that material element will result
– risk must be of such nature and degree that:
– considering nature and purpose of his conduct AND
– circumstances known to him
– disregard is gross deviation from standard that law-abiding person would observe in his situation
d. Negligently-
– should be aware of substantial and unjustifiable risk that material element exist or will result
– risk must be (same as reckless) that reasonable person
3. if culpability not stated, enough if person acts, P,K, or R
4. Distributive Principle if law doesn’t state otherwise- look at the word order
5. Higher satisfies lower
6. Purpose satisfied if conditional (didn’t want to)
7. Knowledge satisfied by high probability, unless he actually believes it doesn’t exist
8. Wilfullness satisfied by Knowingly
9. K,R, or N of conduct, meaning of law is an element of offense unless Code says so/ Don’t need to know what you’re doing is illegal
10. if grade/degree depends on if committed P,K,R,N, grade/degree will be lowest