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Cloned from: MBE Criminal Law



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Murder
A homicide committed with Malice aforethought
Homicide
Killing of another human caused by the Defendant
"Caused by the defendant"
- D acted alone to cause death
- D's ommission caused death and D had a duty to act by staute, contract, relationship or voluntary undertaking
- Act of a third party contributed to cause death; vicariously liable? Also consider forseeability of third party act
Vicarious liability
- A Defendant may be liable for the crime of another if the D 1) solicits the crime; or 2) a conspirator with the one who commits the crime; 3) is an accomplice to the one who commits the crime; or 4) under the felony murder rule
Malice
The mental state required for murder
- Intent to kill; shown by D's words or the use of a deadly weapon in a deadly manner
- Intent to inflict serious bodily harm
- Depraved heart: Reckless indifference to known high risk of death or serious bodily harm
- Felony murder rule
Felony Murder Rule
Homicide committed during the perpetration (from attempt until felon reaches a place of safety) of an inherently dangerous felony
- felony must be independent from the act that caused death
- a defense to a felony is a defense to the felony murder charge
- the felony must be a proximate cause of the homicide (i.e. the homicide must be a foreseeable result of the felony)
Inherently dangerous felonies
BARRK
Burglary, Arson, Rape, Robbery, Kidnapping
Minority rule: some states include non-dangerous felonies committed in a dangerous manner
Vicarious liability under the felony murder rule
All felons are liable for death caused by a co-felon.
- No felony murder under majority rule if non-felon (police officer, store owner, etc.) kills a felon.
- Some states will excuse felons from felony murder liability if a non-felon kills another non-felon while resisting the felony.
Involuntary Manslaughter
A homicide committed without malice under one of the three following circumstances.
1) Intent to inflict slight bodily injury
2) Criminal negligence
3) "Misdemeanor-Manslaughter" Rule: D kills while committing a non- inherently dangerous felony (i.e. felony not sufficient for felony murder rule) or a misdemeanor (inherently wrongful) malum in se as opposed to a malum prohibitum (wrongful only because prohibited by statute) crime
Justification
If a homicide (or any other crime) is justified, the defendant is not criminally liable for the crime.
1) Self Defense
2) Defense of Others
3) Crime prevention
4) Apprehension/Arrest of criminal
5) Reasonable mistake
6) Defense of Habitation/ property
Self-Defense
D may use deadly force to protect against an imminent deadly attack. Deadly force must be reasonable and necessary to repel the attacker.
-No duty to retreat: D need not retreat before using DF unless D is initial aggressor and safe retreat is available. (Minority rules:D must retreat unless D is in home, a police officer, or victim of a violent felony.)
- If Defendant is the initial aggresor, D can't assert self-defense as a justification unless:
1) The D, initial aggressor withdraws clearly communicates to victim intent to stop fighting
2) the D initially used non-deadly force and is now faces with attacker suddenly using DF
3) If safe retreat is available, the intitial aggressor must retreat before using deadly force.
Defense of Others
D can use DF if reasonably necessary to defend another.
- Majority rule: D may claim defense of others if the victim reasonably appears to have the right to use DF, even if the "other" doesn't actually have the right.
- Minority rule: D can use no more force than the person they are defending ("steps in the shows of the person defended")
Crime Prevention
A police officer or private person may use deadly force if reasonably necessary to prevent the commission of a dangerous felony.
Apprehension/ Arrest of Criminal
A police officer or private person may use deadly force if reasonably necessary to prevent apprehend/arrest a dangerous felon.
Reasonable Mistake
D may use deadly force based on a reasonable mistake as to self defense, defense of others (majority only), and crime prevention.
Only a police officer can use DF to appehend or arrest based on reasonable mistake.
Defense of habitation/ property
General rule: a D cannot use DF to protect home or property.
Exception: Can use DF to protect occupants of home from violent intruder or if intruder intends to commit a felony inside.
Excuse
If a homicide (or any other crime) is excused, the D is not liable for the crime.
1) Youth/ infancy
2) Insanity
3) Intoxication
4 insanity Tests
-M'Naghten
- Irresistible impulse test
- MPC Test
- Durhan Test
M'Naghten Test
D, as a result of mental defect, did not know the wrongfulness OR could not understand the nature and quality of his acts
Irresistible Impulse Test
D, as a result of mental defect, was unable to control his conduct or conform his conduct to the law.
MPC Insanity Test
D lacked the substantial capacity either to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.
Durham Test
Not followed anywhere!
Defendant is not guilty if his crime was the product of a mental disease or defect.
Intoxication
If the D is intoxicated (alcohol, illegal or legal drugs, etc.) at the time of the crime, the intoxication may excuse criminal liability.
Voluntary Intoxication:
- Exists when D voluntarily and knowingly consumes an intoxicating substance. Voluntary intoxication is no defense to crimes requiring intent (SL), or general criminal intent or malice.
- Voluntary intoxication can negate specific intent but only if the D is so drunk he can't form the specific intent required for the crime. It can also preclude a finding of deliberation if D charged with 1st Degree Murder.
Involuntary Intoxication
- D involuntarily (forced to consume) or unknowingly (voluntarily consume without knowledge it was a drug). Involuntary intoxication is a defense to all crimes if the intoxication renders the D "insane" under the applicable test.
Mitigation
An intentional killing that would otherwise be murder will be mitigated to voluntary manslaughter under both of the following situations
1) Provocation
2) Good Faith Mistake
Provocation
An intentional killing will be mitigated to voluntary manslaughter if the D experiences adequate provocation. The provocative act muse be one that would cause both subjective and objective passion and no "colling off" occured.
- Subjective passion: The D muse have been actually provoked losing self-control and did not cool off before killing the victim.
- Objective passion: The provocation must be one that would have caused a reasonable person to lose self-control and a reasonable person would not have cooled off in the time laps between the provocation and the time of the killing.
Good faith mistake
a D who intentionally kills victim under good faith, but unreasonable mistaken beleif as to self defense (so-called "imperfect self defense"), defense of others or crime prevention can successfully argue their homicide crime should be mitigated to voluntary manslaughter.
Degrees of Murder
At C/L there were no degrees of murder. However, by statute today all states have at least two degrees of murder.
-First Degree: Premeditated and Intent to Kill OR felony murder rule
-Second Degree: All other murders
1st Degree Murder- Felony Murder Rule
A murder that satisfies the felony murder rule AND is based on one of the specified felonies in the state's first degree murder statutes will be sufficient for 1st Degree murder.
Assault
2 kinds of criminal assault
- Attempted battery: unsuccessful attempt to cause imminent harmful contact
- intentional creation of reasonable aprehension of contact
Battery
The unlawful application of force to another person causing bodily injury or offensive contact.
Kidnapping
The confinement of another person involving either movement or concealment of the victim (no ransom required)
Larceny
The trespassory taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with the intent to permanently deprive
Larceny by trick
Same definition as larceny, but the taking occurs with the victim's apparent consent. But the consent is negated because acquired by the D's misrepresentation ("trick").
Embezzlement
The fraudulent conversion of the property of another by one in rightful possession.
- ex. Victim store owner gives D store manager the posession of the company car to drive to and from work. If D takes the car on a cross country trip, a fraudulent conversion has occured.
False Pretenses
The acquisition of title to D's property by a false representation with the intent to defraud.
Robbery
A larceny committed from the victim's person or presence by force or threat of force of immediate bodily harm.
Arson
The burning of a protected structure of another with malice.
Malice here: a D is guilty og arson if committed with the intent to burn the structure OR with knowledge of the extremely high risk of the structure burning.
Burglary
The trepassory breaking and entering of the protected structure of another at nighttime (nightime only a c/l requirement) with the intent to commit a felony therein.
Attempt
D is guilty of attempt if D commits an act of perpetration with intent to commit the intended (target) crime
- D must take a substantial step
Defenses: Merger and Impossibility
Merger
Attempt merges into the target crime so a D who actually commits the intended crim cannor be convicted and punished for both attempt and the intended crime.
Impossibility
Legal and Factual; if D does not succeed in committing the target crime, it may be because the target crime was either legally or factually impossible. Legal impossibility is a good defense; factual impossibility is not.
Solicitation
D is guilty of solicitation if D asks or requests another to commit a crime with intent that that person commits the crime.
Conspiracy
D is guilty of conspiracy if D enters into an agreement with another party for an unlawful objective and some overt act is performed in furtherance of the unlawful objective.
Defenses: withdrawal and impossibility
vicarious liability- conspiracy
All conspirators are liable for any crimes committed by any other conspirator so long as that crime was reasonably forseeable and in reasonable furtherance of the conspiracy
Withdrawal from conspiracy
D must timely communicate to all other co-conspirators that D is no longer a participant in the conspiracy.
- D still liable for the conspiracy, but not for the target crime
- under the minority MPC, withdrawing conspirator who gets to polic in time to stop the target crime will not be liable for conspiracy or the target crime.
Parties to a crime
- Principal
- Accomplice: has intent that the crime be committed and aides, counsels, or encourages the principal.
- Accessory after the Fact: intent to help a felon escape or avoid arrest or trial, assists a known felon after the felony has been completed.
Accomplice liability
All acomplices (and the principal) are liable for the crimes the principal committed that the accomplice assisted, counseled, or encouraged.
- Accomplices are also liable for other crimes committed by the principal so long as the other crimes were foreseeable.
Accessory after the fact
Under the majority rule, an accessory after the fact is not liable for the crimes commited by the principal, but instead for a separate crime of "obstructing justice" which usually carries a lesser punishment (up to a five year sentence).
Defenses
- Insanity, intoxication, infancy, self-defense, defense of others
- Duress
- Entrapment
- Mistake of Fact: Reasonable and unreasonable
- NOT mistake of law (no defense for mistake of law)
Duress
a D's criminal liability (except an intentional homicide) is excused if the crime is committed under the threat of imminent death or GBH
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