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Specific Intent Crimes
First-degree murder
Inchoate offenses
Malice Crimes
Specific Intent (definition)
Requires that the defendant possess a subjective desire, specific objective, or knowledge to accomplish a prohibited result
Malice (definition)
reckless disregard of a high risk of harm
General intent (definition)
Requires only the intent to perform an act that is unlawful.

Acts done knowingly, recklessly, or negligently under MPC are general intent crimes.
When can omission be an actus reus?
  • Failure to comply with statutory duty
  • Special relationship
  • Voluntary assumption of duty of care (repentant rescuer)
  • Defendant caused the peril
Strict liability (definition)
Regulatory and morals offenses where the defendant does not have a particular state of mind.
MPC "purposely"
concious objective is to engage in the conduct or to cause a certain result
MPC "knowingly" or "willingly"
Defendant must be aware that his conduct is of the nature required by the crime or that circumstances required by the crime exist.
MPC "recklessly"
Acting with a conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a material element of a crime exists or will result from the conduct.
MPC "negligently"
Defendant should be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a material element of a crime exists or will result from the conduct.
Mistake of fact
  • never a defense to strict liability crimes
  • defense to general intent crimes if mistake was reasonable and goes to criminal intent
  • defense to a specific intent crime, even if mistake is unreasonable
Mistake of law
  • generally not a defense
  • reliance on high-level government interpretations
  • lack of notice
  • mistake of law that goes to an element of the required intent
Accomplice withdrawal
Accomplice must:
  • repudiate prior aid,
  • do all that is possible to countermand prior assistance, and
  • do so before the chain of events is in motion
Insanity Tests

  • M'Naghten test

  • Irresistible impulse test

  • Durham rule

  • Model Penal Code test

M'Naghten Test
Requires finding defendant did not know either:
  • the nature and quality of the act, or
  • the wrongfulness of the act
("right from wrong" test)
Irresistible impulse test
Not guilty if Defendant lacked the capacity for self-control and free choice because mental disease or defect prevented him from being able to conform his conduct to the law.
Durham rule
Defendant would not have committed the crime but for a mental disease or defect
MPC insanity test
Due to mental disease or defect, Defendant did not have substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his acts or to conform his conduct to the law.
Voluntary intoxication
Defense to specific intent crimes if it prevents the formation of the required intent.

Not a defense when:
  • intent formed before intoxication, or
  • person becomes intoxicated for purpose of establishing this defense
Involuntary intoxication (definition)
Occurs when a person:
  • doesn't realize he received an intoxicating substance
  • is forced into taking it
  • has an unexpected or unanticipated reaction to a prescription medication
Defense of involuntary intoxication
Applies when the intoxication serves to negate an element of the crime.

Includes specific intent, malice and general intent crimes.
Common law murder
  • Unlawful
  • killing
  • of a human being
  • committed with malice aforethought
Malice aforethought
  • intent to kill
  • intent to inflict serious bodily harm
  • depraved (abandoned and malignant) heart
  • felony murder
Felony murder
Unintended killing proximately caused by and during the commission or attempted commission of an inherently dangerous felony.
Inherently dangerous felony
  • burglary
  • arson
  • rape
  • robbery
  • kidnapping
Liability for death of bystander for felony murder
Proximate cause theory (majority)
  • If bystander is killed by police officer or felony victim, bystander's death may fall within the rule because the death is a direct consequence of the felony
Agency theory
  • death of a bystander caused by a felony victim or police officer does not fall within the rule because neither is an agent of the perpetrator
First-degree murder
  • statutory crime
  • deliberate and premeditated, or generally felony murder
  • specific intent
Second-degree murder
  • statutory crime
  • homicide commited with necessary malicious intent (malice aforethought)
  • malice crime
Voluntary manslaughter
Murder committed in response to adequte provocation (i.e. heat of passion) without adequate cooling off time.
"heat of passion"
Person was provoked by a situation that would inflame the passion of a reasonable person to the extent that it would cause that person to momentarily act out of passion rather than reason.
Involuntary manslaughter
A criminally negligent killing or killing of someone while committing a crime other than those covered by felony murder.
Criminal negligence
Reckless action (or inaction when there is a duty to act) that puts another person at a significant risk of injury or death.
  • trespassory
  • taking and
  • carrying away
  • of the personal property
  • of another
  • with the intent to permanently deprive that person of the property
Larceny by trick
Obtaining possession (not title) of property owned by another through fraud or deceit, with the intent to unlawfully convert and later doing so.
  • Fraudulent
  • making
  • of a false writing
  • with apparent legal significance, and
  • with the intent to defraud
  • Fraudlent
  • conversion
  • of the property
  • of another
  • by a person who is in lawful possession of the property
Serious interference with the owner's rights to the property by inappropriately using property held pursuant to a trust agreement either by selling, damaging, or unreasonably withholding possession of the property.
False pretenses
  • Obtaining title to the property
  • of another person
  • through the reliance of that person
  • on a known false representation of a material past or present fact, and
  • the representation is made with the intent to defraud.
  • larceny
  • by force or intimidation
  • where the taking of the property is from the person or presence of the victim
Common law burglary
  • breaking and
  • entering
  • of the dwelling
  • of another
  • at nighttime
  • with the specific intent to commit a felony therein.
Common law extortion
Unlawful taking of money by a government officer.
Modern extortion (most jurisdictions)
taking of money or property from another by threat.
Receiving stolen goods
  • Receiving control of stolen property
  • knowledge that the property is stolen
  • intent to permanently deprive the owner
  • Unlawful
  • application of force
  • to another person
  • that causes bodily harm to that person, or
  • constitutes an unlawful touching
  • An attempt to commit battery, or
  • intentionally placing another in apprehension of imminent bodily harm
Common law rape
  • Unlawful
  • sexual intercourse
  • with a female
  • against her will by force or threat of force
Stautory rape
Sexual intercourse with a female under the age of consent
  • unlawful
  • confinement of a person
  • against that person's will
  • either by moving or hiding the victim
False imprisonment
  • unlawful
  • confinement of a person
  • without consent
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