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Flashcards in Tuck COPY COPY Deck (134)
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What are the elements of a crime

"1. Voluntary Act

2. Social Harm

3. Mens Rea

4. Actual Cause

5. Proximate Cause"


Beyond a reasonable doubt

-no other logical explanation can be derived from the facts except that the defendant committed the crime

-Highest Standard of Proof

-Must beyond a reasonable to prove every element necessary to constitute the crime



Hierarchy of standards of Proof

"1. Beyond a reasonable doubt

2. Clear and Convincing

3. Preponderance of the Evidence"


Legality short answer =

  1. "-The so-called “principle of legality” is that there can be no crime without (pre-existent) law, no punishment without (pre-existent) law.
  2. - Person may not be punished for an offense unless statute is sufficiently clear
  3. -No Ex Post Facto Law -cannot punish conduct that was lawful at the time of its commission, or that increases the punishment for an act committed before the law took effect -
  4. Fair Notice- a person may not be punished for an offense unless the statute is sufficiently clear that a person of ordinary intelligence can understand its meaning.
  5. This means cannot be vague. -criminal statute should not be so broadly worded that it is susceptible to discriminatory enforcement by law enforcement officer"


Goal of punishment Checklist

1. General Deterrence

2. Specific Deterrence

3. Incapacitation

4. Reform


Goals of Punishment: General Deterrence

Deter society from committing crime. We want to punish drunk drivers


Goals of Punishment:Specific Deterrence

 intended to discourage criminal behavior in the specific individual


Goals of Punishment: Incapacitation

the criminal is in jail and is out of circulation (individual)


Goals of Punishment: Reform

the person's wish to do crime is lessened (individual)


Vagueness may invalidate a law for two independent reasons

1. It may fail to provide the type of notice that will enable an ordinary person to understand the meaning

2. It may authhorize and even encourage arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement


The due process clause requires

That all elements that constitute a crime be proven beyond a reasonable doubt


Defense of crimes - who holds burden

1. a legislature is free to place the burden of proof regarding a criminal law defense on either party

2. They are also able to set the level of proof that they want"


What is Voluntary Act Common Law

A “voluntary act” is a willed muscular contraction or bodily movement by the actor. An act is “willed” if the bodily movement was controlled by the mind of the actor.


Voluntary Act MPC

MPC does not define voluntary act, but provides examples of involuntary acts:

MPC provides examples of involuntary acts:

1. Reflexes/convulsions

2. Conduct relating to hypnosis

3. Conduct when someone is unconscious/asleep

4. Not a product of effort or determination"


Can a voluntary act be mere words



Do all acpects of the voluntary act need to be voluntary

Just need a voluntary act. Not all aspects have to be voluntary


Social Harm (reus)

Social Harm is defined by statute


Actus rea requirement seeks to avoid punishment for what two things?

1. Punishing Mental thoughts alone

2. Punishing acts which a defendant lacks any culpabiliyt


Easy element definition of a crime

A vountary act must have actually and proximately caused the social harm that was committed with a culpable state of mind


Omission (Voluntary Act)


Ordinarily, a person is not g

uilty of a crime for failing to act, However a person may have a legal duty to act if.

1. Good samaritan statute

2. One who voluntarily assumes the care of another must continue to assist if a subsequent omission would place the victim in a worse position than if the Good Samaritan had not assumed care at al

3. One who creates the risk of harm

4. Duty by contract

5. Status relationship (parent/child, teacher/student, employer/employee, wife to husband) "


Actus Reus Analysis

1. Do we have an act

2. Do we have a voluntary act

3. Do we have an omission to act

4. Interpret the act under the legality rule"


Actus rea definition

PROBABLY Mutlple CHoice

The “actus” is the voluntary physical movement (external, component of a crime (actus)—Reus is the conduct that results in the prescribed harmr (Reus).

Note: It must be distinguished from the mental, or internal, component of the crime—the state of mind of the actor, which is called the “mens rea,


Intent Mens Rea (Common Law)

A person commits the social harm of an offense “intentionally” if: (1) it was her conscious object to cause the result; or (2) if she knew that the result was virtually certain to occur because of her conduct.


Transferred Intent (Common Law)

: A person acts “intentionally” if the result of her conduct differs from that which she desired only in respect to the identity of the victim


Mens Rea definition

"Need any morally culpable state of mind (Broad general ) and state of mind that staturorily required in order to convict a particular defendant for a particular harm. (Element-specific intent). Look to statute. If no statute for MPC or common law. Look to broad definition. Note: if no statute with specific intent test the MPC intents. "


Motive vs. Intent

Motive is the reason that nudges the will and causes the mind to indulge in criminal intent. IT is the why.


"Specific intent offenses usually contains one of the following mens rea element in its definintions (Memorize for multiple choice). Also see 3 examples: "


Probably multiple choice just read carefully

"In most cases, a “specific intent” offense is one that expressly contains one of the following mens rea elements in its definition: 

1) the intent to commit some act over and beyond the actus reus of the offense;

(2) a special motive for committing the actus reus of the offense; or

(3) awareness of a particular attendant circumstance. (General intent means that one of these 3 don't exist) 

"Burglary” is a specific-intent offense of the first type. The offense is defined at common law as “breaking and entering the dwelling house of another at night, with the intent to commit a felony therein.” The actus reus is “breaking and entering the dwelling house of another at night.” The mens rea—“intent to commit a felony therein”—is a mental state pertaining to an act (commission of a felony) that is notpart of the actus reus of the offense. That is, the crime of burglary is complete whether or not D ever commits a felony inside the house; but it is incomplete unless D has this “specific intent” of further conduct upon entering.

Common law larceny is an example of the second type of specific-intent offense. Larceny is the “trespassory (nonconsensual) taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property.” It is a “specific intent” offense because the actus reus (trespassorily taking and carrying away the personal property of another) must occur with a specific motive—not simply to temporarily dispossess the other person of the property, but to permanently deprive her of it.

An example of the third variety of specific intent would be the offense, “receiving stolen property with knowledge it is stolen.” The specific intent of this offense is that the actor must be aware (have knowledge) of the attendant circumstance that the property was stolen. General intent cirme example: Common law battery is an “unlawful application of force upon the person of another.” In this context, “unlawful” means that the actor “wrongfully” committed the actus reus of the offense. This means that the actus reus (application of the force upon the person of another) must be committed in a morally blameworthy (wrongful) manner. This is the “general intent” of the offense. "


MPC 2.02 and difference from Common law

it requires proof of some particular mens rea—purpose, knowledge, recklessness, or negligence—as to each material element of the offense.

This contrasts with the common law, where there might be a mens rearequirement as to one element but no mens rea required as to other elements


MPC mens particular types of mens real checklist

1. Purposely

2. Knowingly

3. Recklessly

4. Negligently


Purposely -MPC mens rea

The defendant had an underlying conscious object to act.