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Unformatted text preview: Criminal Law Outline December 2001 Introduction to Class 1. US Criminal Law was inherited from English CL; in the 1950s the Model Penal Code was created to adress inconsistencies in the law-some states have completely adopted it 2. Two types of defenses: (1) missing element-state has not proved an element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, good defense because prosecution has the burden of proof of the elements of the crime; and (2) affirmative defense-defendant admits to crime, but has a justification (conduct wasnt wrong, its objectively reasonable, e.g. self defense, necessity) or excuse (conduct was wrong but D is not morally responsible agent, evaluated subjectively e.g. duress, insanity), defendant has the burden on these defenses 3. Note: Most cases dont make it to trial, but the occasional trial is important because they set guidelines for plea negotiations. 4. 3 Principles Which Limit Punishment (goals of statutory drafting) a. Culpability : To safeguard conduct that is without fault from criminal condemnation. Punish people who deserve it, i.e. capture the right group of people (does it sort out those at fault from those who arent) b. Legality : To give fair warning of the nature of the conduct declared to constitute an offense i.e. give everyone notice of whats permissible; Due process-state has burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, etc. c. Proportionality : To differentiate among offenses based on the level of severity. Does the level of punishment fit the crime? 5. Elements of crime a. Conduct : Bodily movement/action or omission. b. Circumstance : In order for the offense to occur, certain circumstances must be present when the actor performs the prohibited conduct and or causes the prohibited result. Examples include absences of consent in rape, or commission of crime at night for B&E c. Result : Crime defined in terms of a prohibited result. Homicide is an example. I. Elements of Criminal Conduct : Actus Reus and Mens Rea A. Actus Reus-culpable conduct of the crime, the physical or external portion of the crime; consists of a voluntary act or omission (failure to perform a voluntary act that one has a legal duty to perform) that causes social harm MPC 2.01 : a person is not guilty of an offense unless his liability is based on conduct which includes a voluntary act or the omission to perform an act which he is physically capable 1. Positive Conduct a. Presumption of Voluntary Act- conscious exercise of the will, actus reus presupposes D chose to do whatever, definitions: -Act : all bodily movement, whether voluntary or involuntary -Voluntary : willful contraction of a muscle, movements are presumed to be voluntary (1) No liability for involuntary acts or non-actions (a) Martin v State (AL 1944): D convicted of drunkeness in public, cops brought him into public, people cannot be criminally punished for acts they commit involuntarily, statute presupposes a voluntary state (b) note:-Non-actions: Not a persons action (Martin picked up and...
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