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Unformatted text preview: GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF CRIMINAL LIABILITY - REQUIREMENT OF ACTION General Elements of Crimes Crimes of criminal conduct - 3 general elements* 1. An act 2. Mental state 3. Concurrence Crimes of cause & effect (result) - 5 general elements* 1. An act 2. Mental state 3. Concurrence 4. Causation 5. Resulting harm * Correlate to specific elements of particular crimes; Samaha also refers to as "general principles of liability" ELEMENTS factual components which must be established for a legal rule to apply; in criminal law, each factual component which must be proven by the prosecution to convict the defendant of a particular crime Note distinction between general elements (i.e. "principles of liability") and specific elements of crimes ACTUS REUS literally means evil action; the physical element of the crime VOLUNTARY ACT REQUIREMENT For criminal liability, the actus reus must be voluntary Voluntary 2 parts bodily movement & free will Types of Actus Reus 3 possible forms: Commission - an affirmative action, including voluntarily induced involuntary actions or conditions Omission - Not acting where duty to act Passive - Physical or constructive & knowing possession CRIMINAL OMISSION Mere failure to act or intervene is NOT actus reus. No criminal liability based on omission, EXCEPT where legal duty to act based on 1) statute 2) contract 3) special relationship American Bystander Rule no legal duty to aid a stranger in danger, even if helping poses no risk to actor - vast majority of jurisdictions Good Samaritan doctrine General legal duty to render or summon aid for imperiled strangers - adopted by only a few jurisdictions. Note: This not the same as "Good Samaritan" laws which protect persons coming to other's aid from liability, as in Connecticut POSSESSION
Actual Possession - Physical possession
- on the person Constructive Possession - Knowingly having the thing under one's control Knowing Possession - Being aware of what is possessed Note: does not require knowledge that possession illegal Mere Possession - No knowledge of what thing is possessed ...
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- Spring '08