Criminal Law

  1. Actus Reus
    The overt act.  In a crime this would be the action taken that is an illegal act
  2. Mens Rea
    The guilty mind or guilty intentions element of a crime.
  3. Malum in Se
    This refers to something that is wrong in itself, in other words, something naturally evil.
  4. Malum Prohibitum
    This is something that is made wrong by legislation
  5. Felony
    • In most jurisdictions, this is a crime that is punishable by death or by a sentence of more than one year, even though the sentence actually imposed is one year or less.  However, in some states, a crime is a felony if the sentence is to be served in a state
    • prison, as opposed to a county or city jail.
  6. Misdemeanor
    A crime that is not a felony
  7. Doctrine of Contributory Causes
    This holds that when more than one cause brings about the result, then both are equally responsible.
  8. Homicide
    The killing of one human being by another human being
  9. Murder
    The killing of one human being by another human being with malice aforethought.

    Although malice aforethought appears to mean with evil intent, it actually just means with knowledge that the actions or lack of actions will cause a person’s death.
  10. First Degree Murder
    Murder by poison; lying in wait; torture; murder done willfully, deliberately, and with premeditation; or murder that results from a death that occurred during the commission of a dangerous felony – in other words, through application of the Felony Murder Rule.
  11. Second Degree Murder
    All other murders, in other words, those homicides committed with malice aforethought but which do not meet the requirements for murder in the first degree
  12. Manslaughter
    An unlawful homicide committed without malice aforethought
  13. Voluntary Manslaughter
    The intentional killing of a human being by another without actual malice or with malice but under mitigating circumstances
  14. Types of Voluntary Manslaughter
    • Heat of Passion
    • Imperfect Self Defense
  15. Heat of passion
    • requires:
    • Reasonable provocation
    • Acted in the heat of passion
    • no cooling off time
    • defendant did not cool off
  16. imperfect Self-Defense
    Murder may be reduced to manslaughter may be reduced to manslaughter if the defendant kills under an unreasonable mistake about the need for self-defense
  17. Involuntary Manslaughter
    the unintentional killing of a human being by another human being without malice but under circumstances involving gross negligence.
  18. Types of Involuntary Manslaughter
    Gross negligence

    Misdemeanor-Manslaughter - when a death occurs accidentally during a misdemeanor
  19. Malice Aforethought
    • This exists when the defendant has a “man endangering state of mine” as evidences by one of the following intentions:
    • a. An intent to kill as expressed by the defendant.
    • b. An intent to cause someone serious bodily harm as implied by the actions of the defendant.
    • c. A wanton and willful disregard of human life as implied by the actions of the defendant.
    • d. An intent to resist a lawful arrest in a dangerous manner as implied by the actions of the defendant.
    • e. An intent to commit a dangerous felony as implied by the actions of the defendant.
  20. Willful
    Done with intent
  21. Transferred Intent
    Intent can be transferred similar to Torts law in that if one injures a third party while intending to injury X, the intent transfers
  22. Deliberation
    To Carefully consider
  23. Premeditation
    To think out or plan beforehand
  24. Actual Cause or Cause in Fact
    The cause that starts, ignites or makes possible the act, which follows and is determined by the “but for” or “substantial factor” test.
  25. Proximate Cause
    An act, which in a natural and continuous sequence of events, unbroken by the unforeseeable, independent, intervening acts, causes injury to the plaintiff, without which the injury would not have occurred.
  26. Solicitation
    This occurs when one counsels, incites, solicits, or requests another to commit an unlawful act
  27. Attempt
    when criminal intent becomes accompanied by an act which comes within close proximity of committing a crime
  28. Accessory
    One who, with knowledge, does counsel, command, encourage, or aid in the perpetration of a crime
  29. Defenses to Accessory
    Withdrawal prior to the crime being committed is the only defense
  30. Principal in the First Degree
    the actual perpetrator of a felony
  31. Principal in the Second Degree
    One who is not the actual perpetrator but is actually or constructively present and qualifies as an accessory
  32. Accessory After the Fact
    One who is not the perpetrator but who, with knowledge that the crime was actually committed, aids the felon in avoiding arrest, conviction or punishment
  33. The Irresistible Impulse Test
    A defendant is entitled to the defense of insanity if he, because of a mental disorder, know that he is doing wrong but cannot control his behavior
  34. Defense of Self Defense
    One who is without fault and is either attacked, or in imminent fear of being attack, may use reasonable force to defend against such attack.  This includes using deadly force if the person doing the attacking uses what would appear as deadly force to a reasonable person in the same circumstance.  Also, deadly force may be used if the person is being attacked in their home.  However, if the ability to retreat is available and reasonable, it should be taken.
  35. Defense of Defense of Others
    A person may use reasonable force to defend another under certain circumstances.  In jurisdictions that apply the reasonable appearances test, a person, in good faith and in ignorance of the other’s fault, may defend another if it is one who he is authorized to protect by statute and if reasonable appearances show the other need defense. (MIN)  In step in the shoes jurisdictions, defense of others is limited to circumstances where the other is entitled to the defense of self defense only.
  36. Defense of Property
    A person is privileged to use reasonable force falling short of that likely to cause death or serious bodily harm in defense of his property.
  37. Defense of Prevention of a Crime
    A person can use reasonable force in prevention of a crime, and such force can be deadly force if reasonably necessary to prevent a dangerous felony such as burglary, arson, rape, robbery, or mayhem.
  38. Defense of Mistake of Fact
    A mistake of fact will disprove a criminal charge if it is honestly entertained, based upon reasonable grounds and if of such a nature that the conduct would have been lawful had the facts been as they were supposed to be.
  39. Defense of Mistake of Law
    Mistake of Law is not a valid defense to a crime except in those rare instances where it negates an essential element of the crime
  40. Defense of Unconsciousness
    One who is unconscious, for instance, someone walking in their sleep, does not have the capacity to commit a crime
  41. Defense of Involuntary Intoxication
    This will excuse one’s actions to the same extent as would a mental disorder if the involuntary intoxication of alcohol or drugs occurred as a result of force, fraud, medical prescription, reasonable mistake or the like
  42. Defense of Voluntary Intoxication
    This will not constitute a complete defense unless the intoxication has developed into a permanent mental disorder.  It may mitigate the degree of severity of the crime charged.
  43. Defense of Impossiblity
    Factual Impossibility - arises when the defendant makes a mistake concerning an issue of fact.  This is not a valid defense

    Legal Impossibility - arises when the defendant incorrectly believes that what he is doing is criminal when it is not.  This is a valid defense.
  44. foreseeability test
    to determine if a superseding intervention breaks the chain. was it coincidental or responsive
  45. reasonable person test
    exactly what it sounds like
  46. silent movie test
    actus reus test. look only at acts(most objective)
  47. strokes test
    to determine actus reus. once intent to commit crime is shown any furtherance of the crime is an attempt
  48. what do you do if no mens rea is listed?
    determine if strict liability. if not presume recklessness
  49. mens rea for 1st degree murder
    specific purpose to kill someone. conscious obj to kill someone
  50. premeditated and deliberated is listed or needed you don't have to mention_______
  51. voluntary manslaughter mens rea
    purpose to kill but not intentional
  52. willful blindness mens rea
    prolly less than knowledge(recklessness)
  53. res gestae
    felony is prox cause of murder
  54. mens rea for attempted felony
    the same mens rea as a felony or it won't work
  55. abandonment vs. renunciation
    renunciation: have to tell the world! Abandonment: can just walk away for right reasons
  56. innocent instrumentality
    when you direct an innocent instrumentality (when you direct an innocent party – b/c they are insane, a child, do not have mental competence, and also someone who is factually innocent; like here – then no liability)
  57. is legal impossibility a defense to abandonment?
  58. is factual impossibility a defense?
  59. deadly force
    force that will cause serious injury
  60. justification defense
    self defense defense-(you were justified in doing it)
  61. excuses defense
    self defense defense-(you were incompetent, crazy, etc)
  62. when does res gestate apply?
    the rule applies when a killing occurs during the commission or attempted commission of a felony (however most cts also apply rule even after felony is technically completed – if it occurs during escape from scene of crime – but should be part o/one continuous action)
  63. felony in the abstract
    how to determine if felony is inherently dangerous. look at the statute, ignore the facts (look at if the felony in general is a dangerous crime)
  64. how to determine if felony is inherently dangerous?
    look at felony in the abstract and felony in fact
  65. felony in fact
    how to determine if felony is inherently dangerous( look at facts, ignore the statute (look at if the way the felony was committed is dangerous)
  66. 2nd degree murder mens rea
    2nd deg murder? Reckless + Extreme Indifference to Human Life
  67. reckless manslaughter mens rea
    differs from 2nd degree murder in that you only need reckless component, not extreme indifference
  68. emed
    – Extreme Mental or Emotional Disturbance for which there is reasonable explanation and excuse (MPC) MPC:
  69. Instances when murder becomes vol manslaughter
    Finding wife in Adultery Mutual Combat Illegal Arrest Assault/Battery Injury to Family Member
  70. heat of passion crimes the actor must be_________ _____________
    adequately provoked
  71. reckless defined
    Awareness of a substantial and unjustifiable risk of death
  72. involuntary mans 2 mens reas
    reckless and manifested extreme indifference to human life
  73. forrest factors
    Lack of provocation on part of deceased Conduct /Statements of D before/after killing Threats/Declarations of D before/after killing Ill-will or previous difficulty between parties Dealing of lethal blows after deceased has been felled/rendered helpless Evidence that killing was done in a brutal manner (also note #/nature of wounds)
  74. when do you use forrest factors?
    to determine murder
  75. 1st degree murder requires these two extra things
    premed and delib
  76. murder=______+________
    homicide plus intent to kill
  77. involuntary mans defined
    Unintentional Killing committed Recklessly Grossly Negligently or During Commission of an Unlawful Act
  78. vol mans defined
    eat of Passion Killing; intent to kill but some sort of extenuating circumstance Heat of Passion or EMED (extreme mental/emotional disturbance)
  79. homicide defined
    the unlawful killing of a human being
  80. types of 1st degree murder
    Premeditated and Deliberated Murder Felony-Murder
  81. de minimus cause
    If contributing cause is so small, never breaks chain!
  82. mistake of fact or law
    He acts in reasonable reliance upon an official statement of the law, afterward determined to be invalid/erroneous, contained in (I) a statute (ii) judicial decision/opinion (iii) an administrative order or grant of permission or (iv) an official interpretation of the public officer charged by law with responsibility for the interpretation of law defining the offense
  83. intentional(defined)
    Conscious objective to cause harm Intentional; Subjective Standard
  84. knowingly defined
    Consciously aware that result is practically certain Intentional; Subjective Standard
  85. recklessly defined
    Consciously aware of and disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk Subjective StandardBut there is objective element; Ask: was it a gross deviation of the standard of care? If NO, then do not punish. →
  86. negligently
    Should be aware of substantial and unjustifiable risk
  87. 5 exceptions to the voluntary act requirement
    Status Relationship: (parent-child; spouse-spouse; legal guardian-child) Contractual Duty (police-citizen, babysitter-child; doctor-patient; lawyer-client) Statutory Duty (if you neglect to feed/clothe/care for your child, etc) Creation of Risk: if you create a risk that puts person in jeopardy, you have a duty to save the person (ex. Of omission following act)Voluntary Assumption of Care of an Isolated Person: you're putting a person in a worse condition had you not helped him
  88. statutory clarity
    : men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application
  89. legislative intent comprises
    legislative history judicial decisions prior similar statutesdictionary meaning
  90. overbredth
    statute must not be so over broad as to proscribe legit conduct
  91. ex post facto clause
    prohibits punishment of an action done b4 conduct was a crime
  92. due process
    requires fair notice that a specific conduct is an offense b4 punishing
  93. undue discretion
    must establish minimal guidelines to govern law enforcement so that it is susceptible to enforcement in an arbitrary or discriminatory manner
  94. actus reus
    2.01(2) – definition of a voluntary act (same as common law but a good definition to use)
  95. Mens rea 2.02(1)
    2.02(1) – general requirement of a mens rea (same as common law so no need to refer to MPC)
Card Set
Criminal Law
crim law