Chhablani - Crim Law 2006

Chhablani - Crim Law 2006 - CRIM LAW OUTLINE ChablaniSpring...

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CRIM LAW OUTLINE Chablani—Spring 2006 I. FOUNDATIONAL ISSUES 4) Rationales For Punishment 5) Criminalization 6) Constraints on Criminalization: Legality, Lenity and Specificity II. ELEMENTS OF CRIMES o Crime contains 2 components: o Actus Reus : the physical, external part of the crime (the conduct) o Mens Rea : the mental or internal ingredient 4) Actus Rea o Voluntary Act or omission that causes a social harm. o Voluntary Act A willed movement accompanied by aforethought Cases Martin v. State F: Cops arrested D in his home and brought him out to a public area drunk and he was charged with being drunk in public. H: D can’t be charged because he was forced out of his house by cops so his presence on the public highway was involunrary. R: In order for an act to be voluntary, the D himself, an not a third party, must have had control of his own actions. State v. Utter F: Father stabs his son after a day of drinking, but claims that this was not a voluntary act because this was caused by an automatic response from previous war training to attack someone who approached him from behind. H: Although an unconscious person could not be held liable for the actus reus element of a crime, the D couldn’t use this as a defense here because he voluntarily put himself in a position where his abilities were impaired. R: In order for an act to be voluntary, the D must be conscious and there must be some mental process that lead to the act. MPC §2.201 (2) Everything is a voluntary act except for o A reflex or convulsion o Bodily movement during unconsciousness or sleep o Conduct during hypnosis 1
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o Bodily movement that is not a product of the actor’s effort or determination, either conscious or habitual (so since habit is learned behavior and the initial formation of habit is conscious and voluntary, an act that is committed out of habit is a voluntary act) MPC §2.201 (4) Possession as an act Posesssion is an act when the possessor knowingly procured or received the thing possessed and would have been able to or had sufficient time to terminate this possession. o Omission The act of failing to act when there was legal duty to act Cases People v. Beardsley F: D saw woman with whom he was having an affair drinking and take morphine tablets. He crushed a few of them to prevent her from taking it, but didn’t take any further actions to help her like call for help. She later died. H: There was no legal duty to help the woman—she was not his wife. Woman was also old enough and placed herself in that situation. R: Ordinarily, people do not have a duty to act. Therefore, a person can only be held liable for failing to act when a legal duty exists, not when there is only a moral obligation. Barber v. Superior Court
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Chhablani - Crim Law 2006 - CRIM LAW OUTLINE ChablaniSpring...

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