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Criminal Law
WMU-Cooley Law School
Gershel, AlLan

Criminal Law Outline
I.   Purposes of Criminal Law
a.       Deterrence
                                                               i.      General
                                                             ii.      Specific
b.      Incapacitation
c.       Retribution
d.      Rehabilitation
II.   Theories of Punishment
a.      Utilitarian Theory
                                                               i.      Looks at the crime from viewpoint of society
                                                             ii.      Greatest good for greatest number
                                                            iii.      Looking ahead
a)      General (to rest of society)
b)      Specific (to the defendant)
            Incapacitation (putting dangerous person behind bars)
            Retribution (teaching norms to society – acceptable and unacceptable behavior)
            Rehabilitation (so person becomes functionable in society)
b.      Retributive Theory
                                                               i.      Looks at the crime from viewpoint of perpetrator
                                                             ii.      Mens Rea (mental state)
                                                            iii.      Looking back
            Moral Culpability
Examples: Killing and Cannibalism on boat; relative moral culpability may make this voluntary 
Ø      Regina v. Dudley and Stephens
III.   Elements of Crime
1.      Actus Reus (act or result or both Voluntary act that causes social harm – thoughts only not concrete)
·        Defendant’s conduct
·        The harm caused by the defendant’s voluntary act
2.      Mens Rea (mental state of offender)
·        Culpable state of mind
·        Particular mental state provided for in the statute
IV.   Homicide
Mens Rea: different for different types of homicide
Actus Reus: Homicide = Corpus Delicti + actor
1.    Corpus Delicti Rule
§         Death
§         Occurring through the criminal agency of another
§         Body does not have to be found
1)      Occurrence of the specific kind of injury or loss
2)      Someone’s criminality as the source of the loss
3)      Without resort to out of court confessions of defendant (out of court confessions can’t be used)
Ø      Downey v. People
Ø      Hicks v. Sheriff (must have established apart from confession, the fact of death and it resulted from the criminal agency of another)
Ø      Warmke v. Commonwealth (body not required for conviction)
V.   Common Law Homicide
Voluntary Manslaughter
Involuntary Manslaughter
Malice aforethought
Any one of the following mental states (no specific intent to cause injury is necessary):
·        Intent to kill (degree depends on premeditation)
·        Intent to do great bodily harm (2nd degree)
·        Depraved Heart (2nd degree)
·        Felony murder (1st degree)-Any Felony-Felony Murder

as that the death of a human being may result therefore is malice.
Ø      Banks v. State
Ø      King v. State
·        Felony- Murder Rule (Split of Authority – Common Law v. MPC)
An unintended death during the commission or attempted commission of another felony is
a)      Intent to commit felony
b)      Causation (Reasonable foreseeability)
c)      Inherently dangerous felony:
§         Burglary
§         Arson
§         Rape
§         Robbery
§         Kidnapping
d)      Independent felony (not integral part of homicide)
Example: Assault with deadly weapon resulting in death does not constitute felony murder.
Rationale: Floodgates. Double jeopardy.
States may add or subtract felonies from the list.
Rationale: Mens rea replaced with inference that commission of other felonies shows required malice. Utilitarian goal of deterrence ignores retributive principle of punishing according to culpability.
Michigan: Mens rea must be established for killing itself. But then the under lying felony is an aggravating factor making it first-degree murder.
o       People v. Ireland
o       Merger Limitation
o       Inherently dangerous felony
Accomplice Liability