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Criminal Law. What is a guilty state of mind? This is when you commit an act intentionally, knowingly, or willfully Some of the crimes are committed because of carelessness Ex. Leaving a stove on and burning down your house – you would not be guilty of arson

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Criminal Law


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    1. Criminal Law

    2. What is a guilty state of mind? • This is when you commit an act intentionally, knowingly, or willfully • Some of the crimes are committed because of carelessness • Ex. Leaving a stove on and burning down your house – you would not be guilty of arson • If a guilty state of mind is considered present then you could and would be guilty of arson • MOTIVE: reason why the act was preformed • this is different from guilty state of mind • Ex. Robin Hood: guilty state of mind and had motive (guilty or innocent?)

    3. One of the underlying precepts of criminal law is a Latin maxim that holds 'there can be no guilt without a guilty mind'. • The offender must have knowledge of his act and intent. • The Latin term for "guilty mind" is mens rea. • This standard remains a foundation of statute law today • Such is the nature of "strict liability." It may apply to regulatory, public welfare, and protective statutes focused on children. • Though a legislature is free to eliminate mens rea from a statutory offense, the courts have held that such freedom is limited

    4. The courts have upheld legislation prohibiting the following offenses as legal though they lack the requirement of mens rea: • Selling liquor to a minor • Carrying a concealed weapon; • Admitting a minor to a saloon; • Employing a child under 14 years of age • Operating an automobile without a rear light; • Violating an automobile parking regulation; • Exceeding the speed limit. • Strict liability makes it an offense to commit the crime regardless of knowledge of intent • Most of the time these laws are limited to crimes that do not hold strict penalties or crimes that are part of a larger area of conduct

    5. Elements of Crime • Elements of crime are set in order to determine the nature of crime (ex. Robbery and burglary) • Robbery: taking goods or money, taking from someone’s person, use of force or intimidation • Burglary: breaking and entering a building with the intention of committing a felony • Even though an act can be criminal it can also be civil

    6. Some criminal laws that are broken can only be prosecuted in state courts: • State: simple assault, disorderly conduct, drunk driving, shoplifting • Federal: federal taxes, mail fraud, espionage, smuggling (international) • Both: illegal possession of drugs, bank robbery

    7. Being a party to a crime can also send you to prison • Person committing the crime is the principal – someone who helps is the accomplice • person who orders the crime or who helps but is not present is the accessory before the fact • Accessory after the fact is a person who knows the crime has been committed and helps that person avoid capture or escape

    8. Assignments • Homework: problem 8.1 and 8.2

    9. Crimes of Omission • This is where a person can be liable for a failure to act • Taxes, failure to stop after an accident, child neglect • Crime of omission: he/she fails to perform an act required by a criminal law if they are physically able to perform the act • systemic and ongoing problem of corruption among officers for the agencies in charge of patrolling the U.S. border with Mexico -- the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the Customs Service, and the Border Patrol.

    10. Preliminary Crimes • This is a type of behavior that happens before the commission of the crime • Solicitation, attempt, conspiracy • Solicitation:The elements of solicitation include: • (1) mens rea -- not intent to commit a crime, but specific intent to persuade someone else to commit a crime • (2) actus reus (external elements) -- words that contain some sort of inducement

    11. Attempt: • (1) specific intent -- this means that "purposely" is the only mens rea that qualifies • 2) an overt act toward commission -- this is intended to weed out the plotters from the perpetrators, but the standards vary widely by jurisdiction • All elements have occurred but fails to commit, then attempt is the charge

    12. Conspiracy: • The essence of conspiracy is an agreement. It doesn't have to be a written one. • Usually, it's inferred from the facts or circumstances. • What the agreement has to be about doesn't even have to be criminal, only "unlawful". • Under some statutes, a conspiracy can involve any act injurious to public health, public morals, free commerce, or any act perverting justice • An overt act is required for conviction on a conspiracy charge. This is: • An act directed toward another person that indicates an intent to kill or harm and that justifies self-defense • An outward act that is done in furtherance of a conspiracy, of treason, or of the crime of attempt and that is usually a required element of such crimes for conviction even if it is legal in itself

    13. Homework: 8.3 and 8.4