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CJL 4110 Substantive Criminal Law Social Harm Would Result Florida Gulf Coast University

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Florida Gulf Coast University

CJL 4110 Substantive Criminal Law Social Harm Would Result Florida Gulf Coast University

I. BASIC DEFINITION – Act + Mental State + Result = Crime – Defenses
II. ACTUS REUS – a voluntary act, omissions do not usually count.
A. VOLUNTARY ACT COMMON LAW MPC DIFFERENCES Requires a voluntary and a social harm An act is voluntary if  willed the action or if she was sufficiently free that she could be blamed for her conduct. The social harm is the wrong caused by ’s voluntary act. No person may be convicted of a crime in the absence of conduct that includes of which he is physically capable.
B. EXCEPTIONS 1. OMISSIONS COMMON LAW MPC DIFFERENCES No crime unless there is a legal duty to act Types: Statute Contract Special Relationship Assumption of Care Peril wrongfully created for another Same as CL criminal liability imposed for the omission of an act which  is physically capable. None NOTES Not obtaining reasonably available help can make  liable, no matter what ’s physical capabilities.
2. INVOLUNTARY ACT COMMON LAW MPC DIFFERENCES Can negate the action or serve as an affirmative defense. Done in a state of unconsciousness Involuntary acts: reflex, convulsion, movements during sleep, movements under or the result of hypnosis, and unconscious movements. MPC extends CL such that acts done under hypnosis and in states of unconsciousness are “no action.”
III. MENS REA – A mental state is required for most crimes. Strict liability and public welfare offences are the exception. To prove an offense, the prosecution must prove mens rea as to every element of the offense
A. TYPES COMMON LAW MPC DIFFERENCES Intentionally (willfully) – to consciously cause the result or when one is virtually certain that the object will occur as a result of ’s conduct. Recklessness – A heightened criminal negligence or conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk. Negligence – Objective fault  should have been aware that his conduct created a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the social harm would result. Maliciously – when one intentionally or grossly reckless causes the social harm prohibited by the statute. Purpose – conscious object with conduct & results. Must be aware of the existence or believe or hope that such circumstances do exist Knowledge – Conscience awareness that results are practically certain to occur Recklessness – Conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk. Negligence – Should have been aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk. Rule of thumb Purpose = desire for a certain outcome Knowledge = indifference to a certain MPC splits intentionally into purpose and knowledge MPC clear distinction between negligence and recklessness – not on the degree of risk involved but on D’s knowledge of the risk. MPC provides that when it is not clear which element a mens rea applies to, apply it to all elements of the offense Where the statute is silent on Mens Rea, recklessness is required.
outcome Willful Blindness MPC – if one deliberately avoids knowledge because of the belief that knowing would be bad, then  satisfies mens rea of knowledge. Requires high probability CL – Only have to be aware of probable existence of element
B. ATTENDANT CIRCUMSTANCES COMMON LAW MPC DIFFERENCES ? For a crime requiring a mens rea of: Purpose –  must be aware of the existence of such circumstances (attendant), or believes or is aware they exist
Knowledge – Aware that his conduct is of that nature or that such circumstances exist: only requires high probability of existence.
Reckless: Conscience disregard of substantial and unjustified risk
Negligence – Should be aware of substantial or unjustified risk
General Intent – volitional doing of a prohibited act. Only require intent to commit the act constituting the crime. Can infer all mens rea from observing the conduct.
Specific Intent – intent to do some further act or cause some additional consequence beyond that which must have been committed or cause in order to complete the crime. Acts in addition to general intent. Proof of specific intent is required , but it may be circumstantial.
To negate specific intent, a mistake must be honest. To negate a general intent, the mistake must be honest and reasonable.
MPC does not distinguish between general and specific intent.
This is exclusively a CL issue.
General intent –  desired to commit an actus reus; Special intent –  desired to bring about something further
An alternative definition Specific – intent to do conduct and a further intent.
General – intent to do the conduct.


CJL 4110 Substantive Criminal Law Social Harm Would Result Florida Gulf Coast University

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