Criminal Law-LS - LAURIE SPINELLA CRIMINAL LAW OUTLINE PROF...

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LAURIE SPINELLA CRIMINAL LAW OUTLINE PROF. SIMONS What is a Crime ? Burden of Proof Beyond all reasonable doubt -subjective state of near certitude of guilt Jury Required by the 6 th Amendment -represents the community for social condemnation -only applies to non-petty offenses Classification of Crimes Felony – an offense punishable by imprisonment in a state prison or death Misdemeanor – an offense for which the maximum punishment is a monetary fine, incarceration in a local jail, or both -these are also divided into degrees Violation – very minor misconduct, cannot result in incarceration Principles of Criminal Punishment . Utilitarianism v. Retributivism Justification for punishment lies in the useful purposes that punishment serves – it is admitted in as far as it promises to exclude some greater evil Punishment is justified because people deserve it – moral blameworthiness Goals of punishment are Specific Deterrence, General Deterrence, Incapacitation and Rehabilitation An act requiring punishment must include an obvious demonstration of free will – there must be harm inflicted and the defendant must have mental culpability Legality . 4 Aspects of Legality 1. no crime without law a. ex post facto: can’t convict someone for a crime after the fact b. 14 th and 5 th Amendments: unfair to convict someone of a crime if they didn’t already know about it 2. vagueness: a criminal statute must not be so vague that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application a. Criminal statutes should be crafted so as not to delegate basic policy matters to policemen, judges and juries for resolution on an ad hoc and subjective basis 3. overbreadth: when the statute is so broad that it begins to prohibit constitutional conduct 4. lenity: criminal statutes must be strictly construed, must be interpreted in the light most favorable to the defendant a. now mostly used as a tie-breaker 1
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LAURIE SPINELLA CRIMINAL LAW OUTLINE PROF. SIMONS b. MPC and NYPL (§5.00) says statutes should be construed according to their “fair import” and ambiguities be resolved in a manner that furthers the purpose of the statute Actus Reus . Elements of Actus Reus 1. Act/Omission 2. Social Harm 3. Voluntary Act (MPC §1.13) A bodily movement whether voluntary or involuntary Voluntary (MPC §2.01) A product of the effort or determination of the actor, either conscious or habitual -not a reflex or convulsion -unless the defendant knew beforehand that he was subject to such seizures and unreasonably put himself in a position where he was likely to harm others -a reaction is not a reflex since the mind has time to make a decision -not unconscious -excludes a blackout or amnesia -not hypnosis -unless self-induced to facilitate crime Act (NYPL §15.00(1)) A bodily movement Voluntary (NYPL §15.00(2)) A bodily movement performed consciously as a result of effort or determination -a willed muscular contraction Conditional Response Cases Not all courts are willing to allow evidence of conditional response
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