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Criminal Law
Wayne State University Law School
Henning, Peter J.

I.       Introduction to Criminal Law
a.     PROOF BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT
i.      Direct/Circumstantial/Inferences/Common Sense
ii.      In response to the Due Process Clause (5th & 14th Amend.) a person charged with a crime is presumed innocent and the prosecution must persuade the fact-finder beyond a reasonable doubt of “every fact necessary to constitute the crime charged.” (Winship)
iii.      Davis v. United States – burden of proof is on the prosecutor, not defendant
iv.      Case Planning
1.      Whoever bears the burden of proof must prove every element of the crime (or defense)
2.      If the defense can raise a reasonable doubt as to one element of the crime, acquittal will result (“failure of proof” defense)
3.      Defense has burden of production on failure of proof defenses, but once some evidence has been presented, prosecution again has burden to negate beyond a reasonable doubt
4.      With affirmative defenses the defendant has burden of proof
5.      Helpful for prosecution to make element charts
v.      In Re Winship: (pg. 199)
1.      It is better to let a guilty man go free than to convict an innocent man
2.      Rule: Reasonable doubt applies to the government’s burden to prove every element of a crime
vi.      U.S. v. Jackson: (pg. 199)
1.      Test: Whether a rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt
2.      Aaron Jackson charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm
3.      Prosecution says that this Aaron Jackson is the same arrested in 1984, but they offer no proof to show that the two are the same, they therefore have no proof that this Aaron Jackson is a convicted felon
4.      Court reverses juries conviction based on insufficiency of the evidence
5.      Rule: evidence does not need to be direct, but must be persuasive beyond a reasonable doubt
vii.      Proof and Elements – Circumstantial Evidence & Reasonable Doubt
1.      Jury Nullification (Holden v. State pg. 217) & Double Jeopardy
2.      Burden of Proof – People v. Solmonson (pg. 207)
i.        D was drunk, alone, keys in ignition, engine warm, car was off, arrested for DUI
ii.      “The prosecution need not disprove all theories consistent with defendant’s innocence: it need only introduce sufficient evidence to convince a reasonable jury of its theory of guilt despite the contradictory theory or evidence a defendant may offer.”  (pg. 209)
iii.    Circumstantial evidence, and no direct evidence, can lead to a verdict of guilty.

3.      Defining Reasonable Doubt: Burton v. Bock (pg. 211)
i.        Beyond a reasonable doubt cannot be defined and jury instructions attempting to define it often elevate the standard

b.      THEORIES OF PUNISHMENT: Why is conduct punished as a crime?
i.      Deterrence, Rehabilitation, Isolation, Education, Retribution, and Compensation
ii.      **All criminal law relates to punishment
1.      Deterrence: prevent others from improper action (labeling everything as a crime would lose its deterrence value)
2.      Rehabilitation: people will learn from their mistakes
3.      Retribution: punishment to make you pay for crime (ie. Mandatory minimum sentencing, death penalty)
4.      Communicative Retributivism: variant of retribution theory, make clear to criminal that they are not better than the victim, looks at racial/ethnic/gender groups
5.      Compensation: pay victims to make-up for what was done
6.      Isolation: isolating wrongdoers from law-abiding citizens, safety
7.      Education: educate society about commonly held morals and beliefs
iii.      Punishment guidelines: no cruel and unusual punishment, no double jeopardy, no retroactive punishment
iv.      Queen v. Dudley & Stephens: (pg. 1)
1.      Men lost at sea begin to starve, kill Parker and eat to survive
2.      Is this wrong? What is the theory of punishment?
i.        Developed the theory of MORAL CONDEMNATION – What you did was wrong!
3.      Necessity defense is not an excuse for murder.
4.      Rule: A person may be convicted of murder even if out of necessity

c.      SENTENCING
i.      Sentencing Regimes:
1.      Indeterminate Sentencing: defendant goes to jail up to….(judge decides)
2.      Advisory sentencing guidelines: this is what ought to be sentenced, from legisl. to judge
3.      Mandatory sentencing guidelines: this is what you have to do, from legisl. to judge (no longer in practice)
4.      Mandatory min. sentencing: legisl. control min sentencing
5.      Jury sentencing: aggregating and mitigating factors and jury makes rec. to judge or decides themselves
ii.      The Judicial Role:
1.      Guided by 8th Amend. – No cruel and unu

z: (pg. 55)
1.      Does “taking” of a motor vehicle require movement? 
2.      Defendant tried to take someone’s van; owner initially fled but came back so robber fled.
3.      Ct. uses CL interpretation of “felonious taking” in robbery statute & determine it means same thing in car jacking statute
i.        \ Even tho new statute does not include asportation element, intent of legislature was felonious taking should be interpreted to include asportation, just NOT permanent deprivation
4.      Rule: when legislature has a statute on a substantially similar subject, presumption is that legisl. wanted same interpretation, unless contrary intent appears
5.      Rule: undefined term in a statute is presumed to have its common law meaning
v.      State v. Donaldson: (pg. 60)
1.      Defendant broke into someone else’s van; he didn’t move it, but had all the power on by hotwiring it
2.      Rule: possession or control begins a theft & it is completed when the actor secures dominion over the object or uses it in a manner beyond his authority. Iowa § 714.1(1)

e.      STATUTORY DEFENSES
i.      Legality Doctrine
1.      Statutes should be understandable to reasonable law-abiding persons
2.      Statutes should be crafted so as not to delegate basic policy matters to policeman, judges, & juries on an ad hoc & subjective basis
i.        Judicial interpretation of ambiguous statutes biased in favor of the accused (lenity doctrine & Jones pg. 73)
3.      Vagueness
i.        Facial: this statute cannot be applied to anyone, too general, take it off the books
ii.      As-Applied: in this situation it can’t be applied, dismiss charges
iii.    Test: Does statute 1) provide person with ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to understand conduct it prohibits? OR 2) does it authorize/encourage “arbitrary or discriminatory enforcement”?
iv.    State v. Porelle: (pg. 68)
D claims stalking statute is unconstitutionally vague on its face and as applied and argues interpretation of “follow from place to place