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(1st or 2nd degree) perpetrator in commission of crime

accessory after the fact

conceals or protects offender after commission of crime

actus reus

wrongful act; the act of the criminal

act of omission

failure to act. Must be legal duty to act (due to relationship, statutory duty, or by contract).

administrative act

ie: not registering with parole board

actual possession
constructive possession

ap: under direct control

cp: has the power and intention to control something either directly or through another person.

mens rea

"guilty mind"; criminal intent


impulse, incentive or reason for certain behavior

What constitutes a crime?

concurrence of the mens rea and the actus reus. An evil intention and an unlawful action.

general intent

intent to do an act, but not necessarily to cause the results that occurred (ie: willfully and unlawfully setting fire to a building)

specific intent

a mental purpose to accomplish a particular result beyond the act itself.

strict liabililty offense

actus reus, wrongful act alone...resulting in harm (many mala prohibita offenses) ie: sale of alcohol or cigarettes to minors.


an act the causes an event (used most commonly in homicide offenses).


those that give aid or comfort to principal

aiding and abetting

assenting to an act or lending countenance or approval, either by active participation in ot or by encouraging it in some manner.

inchoate offense

taking steps in order to complete a crime (the step itself isn't a crime)
3 types: attempt, solicitation, and conspiracy


(most frequently charged) an overt act that constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of a crime.

target crime

intended offense

defense(s) to crimes of attempt

legal impossibility- even if the act was accomplished, the accomplished act isn't against the law

factual impossibility is not a defense. The fact that a pick-pocket wasn't able to steal your wallet because the pocket was empty....


one counsels, solicits or incites another to commit a crime (even if the crime isn't committed)
the actus reus is the request, command, or enticement.
merges into the target crime if actually committed (ie: accessory before the fact)
only defense is a voluntary and complete renunciation of the crime


two or more persons agreeing to accomplish an unlawful act, or two or more persons using an unlawful act to accomplish a lawful objective. the agreement is the actus reus.
It doesn't merge into the target crime. Its a separate and distinct crime (with the exception of Wharton's Rule)
defense: if something was done to stop the act

Pinkerton Rule

Conspirators are agents of one another. They are bound by the actions of the other agents.

Wharton's Rule

offenses that only require and involve only two people (incest, bigamy, adultery...)


malice aforethought

voluntary manslaughter

intentional killing without malice or premeditation; usually occurs during a sudden quarrel or heat of passion

involuntary manslaughter

unintentional killing as the result of gross or wanton negligence

justifiable homicide

killing another in self-defense or defense of others when threatened by death or great bodily injury to self or others....authorized by law

excusable homicide

caused by accident or misfortune

first-degree murder

highest classification; true intent to kill, and usually requires malice aforethought.

felony murder

unintentional killing while committing or attempting to commit common-law felonies (burglary, arson, rape, robbery)

second-degree murder

unlawful homicide with no malice aforethought, not in conjunction with other felonies, and not manslaughter. "depraved mind or heart"... regardless of human life

3 Prosecutorial Burdens in Homicides

1 victim must have been alive 2 actions must have caused the death 3 death must occur during a certain time frame (1 yr, 1 day)

corpus delicti

the body of the crime... must have evidence (direct or circumstantial) the victim died as a result of a criminal act. (doesn't include the accused's statement)

When does death occur?

brain death- irreversible cessation of total brain functions.

What are common defenses to homicide?

self defense or insanity

unconstitutional per se

trenches on liberty protected by the constitution; exceeds the powers of gvrnmt.

unconstitutional as applied

restricts or punishes the exercise of constitutional rights

interstate commerce

by far the most significant of Congress's enumerated powers is to regulate interstate commerce... a very broad power.


betrayal of one's country, either by making war against it or giving aid and comfort to its enemies.

bill of attainder

legislative act that inflict punishment without trial upon persons deemed guilty of treason or felonies (prohibited by the Constitution)

ex post fact law

retroactive law that criminalizes actions that were legal at the time they were committed, or that increases punishment for the criminal act after it was committed.

Fourteenth Amendment

Due Process Clause

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