Concord Law School - Criminal Law

Criminal Law Definitions - Prep for FYLSX
Criminal Law
The killing of a human being with malice aforethought (homicide & malice)
the killing of one person by another another
Intent to kill (infer from Deadly Weapon Doctrine)
Intent to cause serious bodily injury
Wanton Conduct - Depraved Heart
FMR - Felony Murder Rule
Felony Murder Rule
The doctrine holding that any death resulting from the commission or attempted commission of a felony is murder
FMR - Elements
1) Inherently dangerous felony
2) during perpetration
3) vicarious liability
4) causal connection
Inherently Dangerous Felonies
1) Burglary
2) Arson
3) Rape
4) Robbery
5) Kidnapping
Criminal Homicide
1) Homicide prohibited and punishable by law, murder and manslaughter
2) MPC - Purposely, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently causing the death of another
Wanton Conduct / Depraved Heart
A murder resulting from an act so reckless and careless of the safety of others that it demonstrates the perpetrator's complete lack of regard for human life
Vicarious Liability - FMR
Criminal responsibility of one who acts with another before, during, or (in some jurisdictions) after a crime.

A defendant may be liable for the crime of another if the defendant (1) solicits the crime, or (2) is a conspirator with the one who commits the crime, (2) is an accomplice, or (4) under the felony murder rule. Third party act must be foreseeable, and death was foreseeable result from act. Felon | Police, Bystander, Victim
Voluntary Manslaughter
Unlawful killing of another without malice aforethought - Heat of Passion - Intentional with provocation
A reduction in punishment that reduces the criminal's level of culpability - i.e., murder to voluntary manslaughter when there is no malice
~ Provocation
~ Good Faith Mistake - Imperfect Self Defense
~ Duress (Coercion)
~ Diminished Capacity
Imperfect Self Defense
The use of force by one who makes an honest, but unreasonable mistake that force is necessary to repel an attack - usually a mitigating factor
Involuntary Manslaughter
Homicide in which there is no intent to kill or do grievous bodily harm, criminal negligence or during the commission of a crime not within the scope of FMR - AKA - negligent manslaughter, 2nd degree manslaughter
First Degree Murder
All murder that is willful, premeditated, deliberate, or FMR (poisoning & lying in wait)
Second Degree Murder
All other murder that isn't first degree, not aggravated, doesn't rise to the level of first degree
Crimes Against People - Non Homicide Crimes
1) Battery - General Intent
2) Assault - Specific Intent
3) Mayhem -
4) Rape - Specific Intent
5) False Imprisonment
6) Kidnapping
The use of force against another resulting in harmful or offensive conduct. (conduct, intent, result)
1) Attempt to commit battery.
2) Threat or use of force to cause reasonable apprehension of immediate battery.
Maliciously injuring a person's body. (disable/disfigure/dismember)
Rape - C/L
Unlawful sexual intercourse, committed by a man with a woman, not his wife, through force and against her will
Rape - Modern view
Unlawful sexual activity with a person without their consent, by force or threat of injury
False Imprisonment
Restraint of a person to a bounded area without their consent or justification.
False imprisonment with movement
Seizing and taking away a person by force or fraud
Crimes Against Property
Theft Crimes
Structure Crimes
Theft Crimes - Specific Intent Crimes
1) Larceny
2) Robbery
3) Extortion
4) Larceny by Trick
5) Embezzlement
6) False Pretenses
7) Receiving Stolen Property
Trespassory Crimes
The trespassory taking (wrongfully)
and carrying away (slight movement)
of the tangible personal property of another, (possession crime)
with intent to permanently deprive. (specific intent)
from the victims person or presence (same room/car in control of property/wearing)
with force or threat of force (any force will suffice to accomplish the taking)
(elevated larceny - not both)
Larceny with future threat of force or violence to take property of another
Victim Delivery of Property to Defendant Crimes
Larceny by Trick
False Pretenses
Receiving Stolen Property
Larceny by Trick
The crime of knowingly obtaining title to another's personal property by misrepresenting a fact with the intent to defraud -
Delivery of property by victim
intent formed now to steal
The crime of knowingly obtaining title to another's personal property -
Deliver possession to
no intent to steal at time received
later form intent to steal
False Pretenses
Obtain title to property
have intent to steal at the time receive title
through false means - fraudulent, deceit
C/L False Pretenses - No Crime
Obtain title to property (ie., get VCR pay with 30 day note)
Intent to steal later ( can't pay for it)
Modern Majority - different crimes no majority rule
No crime at c/l
Continuing Trespass Doctrine
original taking is wrong (trespass)
once got home - formed intent to steal
then became larceny
Breaking Bulk Doctrine
If you break into the package - common carrier
If steal the whole package - common carrier - Embezzlement
Victim's Mistake Doctrine
If the D is aware of the mistake at the time of the mistake - Larceny
If the D is not aware of the mistake at the time of the mistake - No crime
Finder of Property
If D finds property guilty of larceny only if both exist
1) D has the intent to permanently deprive at the time of the finding of the property
2) there is a clue as to the ownership of the property in question

Intending to return - no crime
form intent later - no crime
Picked up intending to steal but no idea ownership - no crime
Receiving Stolen Goods
Stolen property
Knowing it is stolen
with the intent to permanently deprive
Structure Crimes
the dwelling house
of another
at night
with the intent to commit a felony therein
Arson - General Intent
dwelling house
of another
with malice
Preliminary (Inchoate) Crimes
Solicitation - Specific Intent Crime
Urging, advising, commanding, or inciting another to commit a crime - ASKING somebody else to commit a criminal act. (response does not matter - guilt at time of asking) - Merges into the conspiracy
Conspiracy - Specific Intent Crime
An agreement between two or more people to commit an unlawful act. C/L all needed - Does NOT Merge
Conspiracy M/L - Specific Intent Crime
An agreement between two or more people to commit an unlawful act and there is an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy - may be agreement only. - Does NOT Merge
Attempt - Specific Intent Crime
Start into the zone of perpetration of the commission of the crime, but fall short of completing the crime. Use to be dangerously close to completing the crime, no longer the majority rule. - Merges into the actual crime if completed
Vicarious Liability - Solicitation/Conspiracy
Vicarious liability for anything and all actions done by co-conspirators in furtherance of the crime conspired to commit. (Preparation)
Cut's off vicarious liability -
If you withdrawal from the conspiracy that will cut off liability at that point. Must effectively withdrawal, anything done before the still liable for, not a defense for conspiracy (still guilty for conspiracy). Shields only for future actions. If there is an overt act required to form the conspiracy - need to thwart the crime, tell police, or notify the victim

MPC - withdrawal must be communicated to co-conspirators and you must notify the police or intended victim - it is a defense to liability for the conspiracy also - generally it won't shield from liability of conspiracy through the MPC you will be guilty of no crime.
Attempt only - D raise -
Factual or Legal Impossibility
Factual - no defense - to crime of attempt = where D thinks facts are such thinks they can commit the crime, but can not - pickpocket who picks the empty pocket - D thought there was, facts in the D's mind thought he could but in fact nothing in the pocket, guilty of attempted larceny
Legal - valid defense to crime of attempt

D does everything they want to do but their actions do not constitute a crime - not guilty of the crime of attempt. D wants to enter into a sale with the V and in the sale - D thinks selling marijuana but bag contains oregano - sells, then arrested for attempted sale of drugs - No crime to sell oregano - legally impossible to commit the attempt sale of drugs.
Wharton Rule
If the crime requires 2 guilty people to commit, then there has to be an additional person (duel) for conspiracy - need the lookout
their agreement to duel won't enable the two people to commit the conspiracy
2 Guilty Minds
Accomplice Liability - to have a conspiracy you need to have at least 2 guilty minds.
1) feigned accomplice - D enters into agreement with A (unknown - police officer) pretends to agree (feigned accomplice) could not charge D with conspiracy because there are not 2 guilty minds.

Minority view - can have a one person agreement - 2 or more people agree to commit a crime or believe they have an agreement - MPC

2) protected class - someone who is protected class under criminal definition - can't be part of conspiracy - alcohol purchase for minors - minor can't be part of conspiracy if asks adult to purchase. Part of the protected class, doesn't have a guilty mind. Can not be guilty of the crime.
Excuse, Justification, Mitigation
Self Defense
Defense of Others
Victim Engaged in Dangerous Felony
Apprehension of Fleeing Felon
Self Defense
A defendant is justified to use deadly force when reasonably necessary to protect self.

Ask - was V privileged to be acting toward D?
Can the attack on the D be classified as deadly force to justify s/d with deadly force?
Defense of Others
A defendant is justified to use deadly force when reasonably necessary to defend another. Split of authority - majority - you can use as above Reasonableness

Minority rule says you cannot make a mistake in this regard. If the person who needed defending could claim to use s/d. Actually threatened.
Reasonable Mistake
D may believe that they are threatened with deadly force and be mistaken, if reasonable and in good faith.

Reasonable - reasonable and prudent person in the same situation would have made the same mistake.

Good faith - the defendant in fact was mistaken

Need both!

Flickr Creative Commons Images

Some images used in this set are licensed under the Creative Commons through
Click to see the original works with their full license.