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November 5 Notes and Briefs - November 6 2008 Chapter 5...

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November 6, 2008 Chapter 5 Mens Rea A. Nature of Mens Rea US v. Cordoba-Hincapie US District Court E.D. NY, 1993 Mens rea means a guilty mind; a guilty or wrongful purpose; a criminal intent An act does not make the doer of it guilty, unless the mind be guilty; that is, unless the intent be criminal. Elemental mens rea of the crime: look specifically to the definition of the crime to look for the mens rea, look for adverbs Regina v. Cunningham Court of Criminal Appeal, 1957 Law: Whosoever shall unlawfully and maliciously administer to or cause to be administered to or take by any other person any poison or other destructive or noxious thing, so as thereby to endanger the life of such person, or so as thereby to inflict upon such person any grievous bodily harm, shall be guilty of felony. Facts: S is the mother in law of C. They were going to the be the tenants of the house beside S. On Jan 17, C went to the cellar of the house and wrenched the gas meter from the gas pipes and stole it. C did not turn off the gas and some seeped in the room where S was sleeping. Reasoning: It should have been left to the jury to decide whether C intended to injure S. Issue: Did C have intent? Procedure: C was convicted on an indictment framed under section 23 of the Offences against the Person Act, which charged that eh unlawfully and maliciously caused to be taken by Sarah Wade a certain noxious thing, namely coal gas, so as thereby to endanger the life of the said S. Holding: Allow the appeal and quash the conviction. Notes from the Case: Instruct on mens rea, we need something more specific then a wicked state of mind because it’s not a crime to think bad thoughts, you need a specific thought to be guilty. B. General Issues in Proving Culpability 1. Intent People v. Conley Illinois Appellate Court, 1989 Law: A person who in committing a battery intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, or permanent disability or disfigurement commits aggravated battery. Facts: S’s group was confronted and him and his friends left the party. A group of people were walking towards the party and pointed out S and his friends. C asked M for his beer and M refused. C took a wine bottle and knocked S in his face. S has a permanent condition called mucosal moth and
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permanent partial numbness in one lip. C says that the court failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to inflict permanent disability. Reasoning: The problems of proof are alleviated by the ordinary presumption that one intends the natural and probably consequences of his action. Intent can be inferred from the surrounding circumstances the offender’s words the weapon used, and the force of the blow. Issue: Can intent be proved? Procedure: Convicted of aggravated battery based on permanent disability.
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