Samaha Chapter 3 Smith

Samaha Chapter 3 Smith - Criminal Law Criminal Chapter 3...

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Criminal Law Criminal Law Chapter 3 Chapter 3 The General Principles of The General Principles of Criminal Liability: Criminal Liability: Actus Reus Actus Reus CRJU E314 Criminal Law CRJU E314 Criminal Law Spring 2011, Spring 2011, Mr. Smith Mr. Smith
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2 Samaha’s Three Question Rule Is there a criminal act of some kind? If not, there is no criminal liability. If there is a criminal act, is the act justified? If so, there is no criminal liability. If a criminal act is not justified, is it, nonetheless, excused? If so, there is no criminal liability. If not, then the defendant is guilty.
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3 Proof of Criminal Liability Generally, there are five elements of a crime that the prosecution must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” in order to convict a defendant of the crime: A criminal act ( actus reus ); A criminal state of mind ( mens rea ); The concurrence of act and state of mind; Any necessary attendant circumstances; and A “criminal” result
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4 The Elements of a Crime All crimes can be broken down into specific elements. Most crimes consist of two major elements: A criminal act, ( actus reus ); and A criminal state of mind ( mens rea ) The vast majority of minor crimes against public order and morals, so-called “strict liability” crimes and public welfare offenses, however, do not require proof of a criminal state of mind ( mens rea ) or that the defendant has caused “criminal” harm.
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5 Principles of Punishment Only “criminal” acts can be punished. According to Samaha, thoughts are not punishable because -We have no means of distinguishing between “day dreams” and a “fixed intentions that may pose a real threat to society”; -The criminal law can only be exercised in response to “conduct;” and - Criminal law is based upon a retributive belief that it is morally wrong to punish people for their intentions that are not acted upon.
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6 Actus Reus : The Bad Act “A ctus reus ” refers to the physical aspect of the criminal activity. “ Mens rea, ” to be discussed later, refers to the mental aspect. Actus reus generally includes: a voluntary act that causes social harm. Criminal punishment requires that the accused have committed a criminal, or bad, act ( actus reus ) as a necessary condition for the establishment of criminal liability.
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7 The Voluntary Act Requirement Subject to limited exceptions, a person is not guilty of a crime unless the person’s conduct includes “a voluntary act.” Few statutes defining criminal offenses expressly provide for this requirement but courts treat it as an implicit element of criminal statutes.
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8 What is an Act? An act involves physical behavior, “a bodily
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Samaha Chapter 3 Smith - Criminal Law Criminal Chapter 3...

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