Samaha Chapter 8 Smith

Samaha Chapter 8 Smith - Criminal Law Criminal Chapter 8...

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Criminal Law Criminal Law Chapter 8 Chapter 8 Inchoate Crimes: Attempt, Conspiracy Inchoate Crimes: Attempt, Conspiracy and Solicitation and Solicitation CRJU E314 Criminal Law CRJU E314 Criminal Law Spring 2011, Spring 2011, Mr. Smith Mr. Smith
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Samaha’s Question Incomplete criminal conduct poses the dilemma of whether to punish someone who has done no harm or to set free someone who is determined to commit a crime. The doctrine of inchoate crimes asks the question: “How far should the criminal law go to prevent crime by punishing people who have not accomplished a criminal purpose?”
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The Dilemma The idea of inchoate crimes flies in the face of the notion that free societies punish people for what they have done, not for what they might do. The dilemma is resolved by three means: 1. Requiring a specific intent or purpose to commit the crime or cause a harm; 2. Requiring some action to carry out the purpose; and 3. Punishing inchoate crimes, generally, less severely than completed crimes.
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Inchoate Crimes Generally A criminal activity that occurs after the formation of the mens rea for a crime but before the actual consummation of the crime is described as an “inchoate” crime . The term “inchoate” means imperfect or incomplete. Inchoate crimes are typically, but not always, treated as less serious offenses than the substantive crimes themselves. The most common examples of “inchoate” crimes are attempt, solicitation, and conspiracy.
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The Basic Offenses Criminal liability for trying to commit a crime: Attempt ; Criminal liability for making an agreement with someone else to commit a crime: Conspiracy ; and Criminal liability for trying to get someone else to commit a crime: Solicitation .
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The Birth of Attempt Law Rex v. Scofield (1784) The defendant, Scofield, was charged with putting a lighted candle and combustible material in a house he was renting with the intent of setting fire to it, but there was no allegation or proof that the house was actually burned. The defense argued that an attempt to commit a crime could not be a crime, but the court rejected the argument holding that “[t]he intent may make an act, innocent in itself, criminal; nor is the completion of an act, criminal in itself, necessary to constitute criminality .”
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The Rationale of Attempts There are two rationales for why we punish people who have attempted to cause harm, but who have not yet done so: The dangerous act rationale focuses on dangerous acts ( actus reus ) and looks at how close defendants came to completing their crimes . The rationale’s aim is to prevent harm from dangerous conduct. The dangerous person rationale focuses on a dangerous mindset ( mens rea ) and looks at how fully defendants have developed their criminal purpose. The rationale’s aim is to neutralize dangerous people.
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Defining Attempt The crime of attempt consists of two components: (1) an intent or purpose to commit a specific
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Samaha Chapter 8 Smith - Criminal Law Criminal Chapter 8...

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