Morissette - any criminal intent to be called into question...

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John Tomberlin Law and Society 100 Case Name and Roles: Morissette V United States Appellant: Mr. Morissette Injured Party: United States government Procedural Background: Mr. Morissette was charged with stealing and changing the property of the US government and changing the property. He plead not guilty on the grounds that it was abandoned but was found guilty and received a light sentence. Facts: Morissette owned a large piece of land that he allowed the US Air Force to use as a bombing site. Numerous casings were dropped and hoarded into piles that sat abandoned for over 4 years at times. To make money Morissette took and converted the shell casings into usable tin and turned a small profit on them. He took no effort to hide his actions. In the jury instructions the Judge did not allow the presence of
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Unformatted text preview: any criminal intent to be called into question on behalf of Morissette. Descision: Citing numerous requisite cases the ruling was reversed. Reasoning: It was found that Morissette was not acting with any criminal intent or any other understanding of Mens Rea. It was decided that although Morissette should surely have exercised more restraint and followed through with the government before taking the property it was not a guilty minded action. The justices also stated that the jury should have been allowed to consider such mind set on the part of Morissette in the original case proceedings. Common Law must have Mens Rea. Strict Liability crimes do not require Mens Rea for crimes such as Statutory Rape and it...
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