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Criminal Law
West Virginia University School of Law
Moenssens, Andre A.


1. Burglary (C/L)                                                                                      2

2. Strict Liability                                                                                       2

3. Omission as a Crime (C/L)                                                                  2

4. Felony Murder (C/L)                                                                            3-4

5. Homicide W.Va.                                                                                   4-6
Premeditation and Deliberation                                                      5
Provocation                                                                                     6
Unintentional Homicide                                                                 6
Malice                                                                                              6

6. Homicide MPC                                                                                     7

7. Differences between W.Va. and MPC Homicide                      8

8. Defenses for Homicide                                                                         8

9. Homicide Hypo                                                                                     9

10. Rape (General)                                                                                  10-11

11. Defenses for Rape                                                                               11

12. Rape W.Va.                                                                                  Attached

1. Burglary (Common Law)
(1) The breaking and entering
(2) the dwelling house of another
(3) at night with the
(4) intent to commit a felony therein.

2. Strict Liability – Legislatures can and do enact offense that don’t require Means Rea.
n      General Rule: No defense is allowed for a strict liability crime.
n      General Rule: If punishment of the wrongdoer far outweighs regulation of the social order as a purpose of the law in question, then MENS REA is probably required.

*Must Examine Legislative Intent – Must examine Legislative Intent to determine if it is a strict liability crime.
o       Legislature has to expressly or impliedly require mens rea be disposed of.
o       Modern Rule – Most of the time, new statutes will make it clear

Examples – Usually something with low punishment; public welfare offenses; labor laws; sale of impure food and drugs; minor traffic offenses; liquor laws; building violations.
Public Welfare Offenses – Liquor, Traffic, Food Laws, Building, Factory Laws

Statutory Rape – Is also a strict liability crime in some jurisdiction and it has a larger penalty.

Felony Murder – Is strict liability. Once convicted of the felony, you automatically get murder conviction.

Punishment – Most of the time punishment is light, penalty is small, and it won’t damage the reputation of the violator.

Garnett v. State – Retarded man liable for statutory rape of a 14 year-old he thought was 16 because of strict liability.

Model Penal Code on Strict Liability § 2.02 – Code attempted a bold assault on

lt, battery or abuse. The underlying felony only merges into the felony.
o       4 – Who actually did the killing? (Killing by a Non-Felon)
§         Only if the felon or co-felon causes the death to occur (Not if some police officer kills a bystander while trying to shoot felon).

People v. Fuller – Charged with 1st deg FM following burglary, fleeing, hitting another car.
n      You must be found guilty of the felony first before you can invoke felony murder.

People v. Burroughs – Self-healer administered abdominal massages which resulted in death.
n      No conviction — Felony of unlicensed pract of med not inherently danger to life.

Inherently Dangerous to Human Life Test
n      1 – (Majority Test) — Look at elements of felony in the abstract, not the particular facts of the case
n      2 – Legislative Intent – Consider the factors which elevate it to a felony.
§         Unlicensed Practice of Medicine – is a felony because it can cause a risk of great bodily harm, serious mental or physical illness or death.
§         Shows that one may violate this felony and yet not necessarily endanger human life.
n      3 – Substantial Risk of Life – Was the felony committed in a way that was inherently dangerous to the loss of life?
n      4 – Blameworthiness Test