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Criminal Law
Is primarily concerned with general rules for defining whether a crime has been committed.
What 3 questions do we have to answer to define criminal law?
1.  Is there a criminal act of some kind?
2.  Is the act justified?
3.  Is the unjustified act nonetheless excused?
Five elements of criminal liability
1.  Criminal Act (actus resus)
2.  Criminal Intent (mens rea)
3.  Concurrence
4.  Attendant circumstances
5.  Result (causing criminal harm)
What must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to convict individual defendants
The Five elements of criminal liability
Actus reus
A.K.A. Criminal act in that requires intent that turns into action
Why does the law require an act?
1.  Intent alone is impossible to prove
2.  Intention alone doesn't harm anyone
3.  It's hard to distinguish Day dreaming and fantasy from intent.
The actus reus requirement serves several purposes
1.  It helps prove mens rea (intent)
2.  It restores the harsh sanction of the criminal law for cases of actual danger
3.  It protects the privacy of individuals
Criminal law punishes:
Criminal law only punishes:
People we can blame
Criminal law only blames:
People who are responsible for their actions
People are only responsible for:
Their voluntary acts
denotes who we are
describes what we do
Status can arise in two ways:
1. From prior voluntary acts:  drinking alcohol or using drugs
2. Being who we are:  sex, age, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity
The Constitution bans legislatures:
from making a crime out of a personal condition or status
Failure to act
Criminal omission: when the defendant had a legal duty to act
1. Failure to report something required by law
2. Failure to intervene to prevent injuries and death to persons or damage to property
Legal duties are created in 3 ways:
1. Statues:  ex. failing to file a tax return
2. Contracts:  ex. its your job... police, fire fighter
3. Special relationships:  ex.  Parent child relationship
Possession is
not an action; it's a passive condition
Two elements in treating possession as actus reus:
1. Actual or constructive possession
2. Awareness of the possession
Actual or constructive possession:
Actual:  having banned "stuff" on your person

Constructive: having banned "stuff" that isn't on your person but in a place you control
Awareness of the possession:
Knowing possession:  you are aware of what you posses

Mere possession:  you don't know what you posses.
In the English case King v. Cogdon 91951), Mrs. Cogdon was acquitted of murder because:
Her acts were done while asleep and thus were not voluntary.
Under the American bystander rule, the people who witnessed the murder of Kitty Genovese but failed to call the police or intervene were:
not criminally liable because they had no legal duty to act.
If the mens rea did not lead to or cause the act, the element of ________ is not present.
We only punish voluntary acts because punishment is deserved only if there is:
blameworthiness and responsibility
In Robinson v. California (1962), the Supreme Court held that Robinson's conviction must be:
reversed because a person cannot be punished for a status or condition.
The existence of a legal duty is called a/n _____ element of a crime
attendant circumstance
Legal duties can arise from:
statutes, contracts, and special relationships.
A fellow classmate drops his stash of illegal drugs into your backpack when your head is turned. You are not aware of her actions. You are considered to be:
in mere possession of the drugs.
Most states require that possession be _____ before it can be criminalized.
x of y cards