Monday, December 19, 2005

Outline - Criminal Law - II - Intent

Criminal Law (2005 Fall)


  1. General Rule - Every element of every offense has a requisite intent, which must be proven before the defendant can be found guilty.
    1. Cunningham - Ripping out gas meter does not establish intent to release gas which put another in danger.
    2. Morissette - Statutory silence does not eliminate intent requirement for common law crimes.
  2. MPC § 2.02
    1. Purpose
      1. Conduct – Conscious object to engage in the conduct
      2. Circumstances – Awareness of circumstances, or believes or hopes such circumstances exist
    2. Knowledge
      1. Conduct or Circumstances – Awareness
      2. Result – Awareness that result is practically certain
    3. Recklessness (default requisite intent when statutes are silent) – Consciously disregards substantial and unjustifiable risk, gross deviation from law-abiding person
    4. Negligence – Should be aware of substantial and unjustifiable risk, gross deviation from reasonable person [Santillanes - Criminal negligence different from civil negligence]
  3. Motive - Irrelevant to criminal liability, important in sentencing
  4. Subjective vs. Objective Standards
    1. Subjective – What did the defendant actually intend or know? (purpose, knowledge, recklessness)
    2. Objective – What should the defendant have reasonably known? (negligence)
  5. Specific Intent vs. General Intent
    1. Generally speaking, a specific intent crime requires the defendant to have a specified further purpose.
    2. Intoxication can be a defense to a specific intent crime.
  6. Conditional Intent
    1. Statutes need to be worded carefully. [Holloway – Carjacking defendant intended only to take car, and intention to cause death or serious bodily harm was conditioned on not getting the car]
    2. Addressed case-by-case
  7. Willful Blindness
    1. General Rule – Deliberate ignorance = willful blindness = positive knowledge. [Jewell, narcotics middleman]
    2. MPC § 2.02(7) - Willful blindness same as knowledge
    3. Luban Objection – A drug dealer hires 3 couriers, tells them not to look in the trunk, and that 2 carry only clothes. Each now knows of 1/3 probability of drugs, and may believe himself carrying clothes.
  8. Strict Liability
    1. General Rule
      1. Strict liability is used for regulation.
      2. Early uses in labeling [Balint; Dotterweich]
    2. Parameters [Morissette - Stealing bomb casings]
      1. Public welfare health/safety offenses
      2. New regulatory rather than old “bad” offenses
      3. Controls a dangerous thing
      4. Defendant has care and control over potential harm (shifting burden of care to person in control away from public/consumer)
      5. Small penalties
      6. Low reputational harms
    3. Staples – Conviction reversed for defendant who violated firearms statute which would “criminalize a broad range of apparently innocent conduct.”
    4. X-Citement Video – Conviction reversed for defendant who used underage actress because of grammatical usage separating distribution and age elements.
    5. Guminga – Criminal penalties based on vicarious liability for employer whose employee served alcohol to minor violate due process; civil penalties better.
    6. Baker – Speeding defendant with stuck cruise control strictly liable because of voluntary act of engaging cruise control.
  9. Mistake of Fact
    1. General Rule – MOF is a defense when it “negatives” the intent requirement.
    2. MPC § 2.04 – Ignorance or mistake is a defense when it negatives the existence of a state of mind that is essential to the commission of an offense, or when it establishes a state of mind that constitutes a defense under a rule of law relating to defenses.
    3. Intent Levels
      1. Purpose – defense
      2. Knowledge – defense
      3. Recklessness – defense
      4. Negligence – defense if “reasonable”
      5. Strict liability – no defense
        1. Prince – Defendant’s reasonable mistake of girl’s age no defense against strict liability.
        2. Olsen – Defendant’s reasonable mistake of girl’s age no defense when act is most serious of degrees established by statute.
    4. Reading statutory elements
      1. Bramwell (“lesser wrong”) – Mens rea not required when act is wrong in itself [Prince, majority]
      2. Brett (“lesser crime”) – No conviction in absence of criminal mind [Prince, dissent]
      3. Dan-Cohen – Decision rules vs. conduct rules
        1. Conduct rules speak to general public
        2. Decision rules speak to legal officials
        3. Problem of notice
      4. Kahan – MOF excused only if it negates inference that defendant has failed to internalize social norms.
  10. Mistake of Law
    1. General Rule - Mistake of law is no defense. [Marrerro – Federal corrections officer brought handgun to club.]
    2. When mistake of law acts like mistake of fact:
      1. If statute makes legal awareness of a fact an element, mistake of law functions like MOF.
      2. Smith (David) – Defendant who tore up property he thought belonged to him did not have requisite intent for the offense.
      3. Cheek – Defendant’s honest belief that wages are not income is a defense; but opinion that income taxes are unconstitutional is no defense.
    3. “Willfully” and “knowingly”
      1. Should “willfully violate” or “knowingly violate” mean knowledge of existence of law, or normal “knowledge” intent?
      2. International Minerals – Normal knowledge where defendant transports corrosive liquids
      3. Liparota – Knowledge of existence of law in food stamp fraud; no criminalizing “broad range of apparently innocent conduct”
      4. Ratzlaf – Knowledge of existence of law in insufficient funds; writing a check is normally an innocent act
      5. Bryan – Knowledge of unlawfulness of act sufficient to convict unlicensed firearms dealer
    4. Reliance
      1. Reliance on official statement of law is defense
      2. Recognized sources of reliance:
        1. Judicial decisions [Albertini - Defendant relied on 9th Circuit decision that his participation in protests was lawful]
        2. Statutes
        3. Administrative orders
      3. Advice of counsel not reliable [Hopkins]
    5. Limits
      1. Lambert – Statute requiring registration of out-of-state felons unconstitutional for imposing strict liability without giving notice.
      2. Cultural Defense – Different cultures have different social norms and may imply different intents.

1 comment:

saintvitus said...

i love you for putting your notes up on the net for hapless and disorganized crim law students :)