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Burden of Proof Civil Case

A preponderance of the evidence, The plaintiff must convince the court that based on the evidence presented by both parties, it is more likely than not that the allegation is true (51%).

Burden of Proof Criminal Case

Beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant has committed every essential element of the offense with which she or he is charged.


a serious crime punishable by death or by imprisonment in a federal or state penitentiary for one year or longer.

Capital Offense

maximum penalty is death

First Degree Felony

maximum penalty of life imprisonment

Second Degree Felony

maximum of ten years' imprisonment

Third Degree Felony

up to five years' imprisonment


less serious crimes punishable by a fine or by incarceration for up to one year

Criminal Liability

(1) the performance of a prohibited act and (2) a specified state of mind, or intent on the part of the actor. They must occur together

actus reus

guilty act, a prohibited act

mens rea

guilty mind, wrongful state of mind

Liability of the Corporate Entity

corporations are normally liable for the crimes committed by their agents and employees within the course and scope of their employment. Prosecutors must show that the corporation could have prevented the act or that there was authorized consent to, or knowledge of the act by persons in supervisory positions within the corporation

Liability of Corporate Officers and Directors

directors and officers are personally liable for the crimes they commit, regardless of whether the crimes were committed for their private benefit or on the corporations behalf. Additionally, corporate directors and officers may be held liable for the actions of employees under their supervision


the taking of money, personal property, or any other article of value from a person by means of force or fear (VIOLENT CRIME)


breaking and entering the dwelling of another at night with the intent to commit a felony


the unlawful taking and carrying away of someone else's personal property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of possession


the willful and malicious burning of a building (and in some states, personal property) owned by another

Receiving Stolen Goods

to be convicted a recipient does not need to know the identity of the owner or the thief, only that the recipient knows or should know that the goods are stolen


the fraudulent making or altering of any writing (including electronic records) in a way that changes the legal rights and liabilities of another

Public Order Crime

outlawed activities that are considered contrary to public values and morals; for example: public drunkenness, prostitution, gambling, illegal drug use

White-Collar Crime

an illegal act or series of acts committed by an individual or business entity using some nonviolent means to obtain a personal or business advantage


when a person entrusted with another person's property or funds fraudulently appropriates that property or those funds

Mail and Wire Fraud

(1) mailing or causing someone else to mail a writing -- something written, printed, or photocopied -- for the purpose of executing a scheme to defraud and (2) contemplating or organizing a scheme to defraud by false pretenses


offering to give something of value to a person in an attempt to influence that person, who is usually, but not always, a public official, to act in a way that serves a private interest, crime occurs when the bribe is offered & accepting a bribe is a separate crime

Three Types of Bribery

(1) bribery of public officials, (2) commercial bribery, (3) bribery of foreign officials

Bankruptcy Fraud

Numerous Types: a creditor may file a false claim against a debtor, also, a debtor may fraudulently transfer assets to favored parties before or after the petition for bankruptcy is filed; closely related to the crimes of fraudulent transfer of property and fraudulent concealment of property

Insider Trading

a violation of securities law; basically, securities law prohibits a person who possesses inside information and has a duty not to disclose it to outsiders from trading on that information

Theft of Trade Secrets

buying or possessing another person's trade secrets, knowing that the trade secrets were stolen or otherwise acquired without the owner's authorization

Money Laundering

a method for converting illegally attained funds into an apparently legitimate income

RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act)

(1) use income obtained from racketeering activity to purchase any interest in an enterprise, (2) acquire or maintain an interest in an enterprise through racketeering activity, (3) conduct or participate in the affairs of an enterprise through racketeering activity,, or (4) conspire to do any of the preceding activities


refers to any person who has not yet reached the age of majority, modern courts now recognize that children are capable of committing crimes

Intoxication (Two Types)

(1) Involuntary, or (2) Voluntary

Involuntary Intoxication

when a person either is physically forced to ingest or inject an intoxicating substance or is unaware that such a substance contains drugs or alcohol

Voluntary Intoxication

rarely a defense, but can be used when the defendant was so extremely intoxicated as to negate the state of mind that a crime requires


a defense where someone who suffers from a mental illness is incapable of the state of mind required to commit a crime

Mistake of Law

in some states, mistake may be used as a defense if (1) the law was not published or reasonably made known t the public, or (2) the people relied on an official statement of the law that was erroneous

Mistake of Fact

negates the mental state necessary to commit a crime; for example: walking off with someone else's property because you think it is yours


the victim consents to a crime or encourages the person intending a criminal act, not a defense in most crimes like murder, prostitution, and drug use; may be use in certain situations where it negates an element of the alleged criminal offense


exists when the wrongful threat of one person induces another person to perfom an act that he or she would not otherwise have performed


defense of oneself, one's dwelling, the defense of other property, and the prevention of a crime

Deadly Force

can be used in self-defense only when the defender reasonably believes that imminent death or grievous bodily harm will otherwise result and has no other means of escaping or avoiding the situation


If the harm or evil sought to be avoided by such conduct is greater than that sought to be prevented by the law defining the offense charged


a defense designed to prevent police officers or other government agents from enticing persons to commit crimes in order to later prosecute them for criminal acts; an agent suggests that a crime be committed and somehow pressures or induces an individual to commit it

Statute of Limitations

with some exceptions (murder) the state must initiate criminal prosecution within a certain number of years, the running of the time period may be paused if the defendant is a minor or is not in the jurisdiction


in cases in which the state wishes to obtain information from a person accused of a crime, the state can grant immunity from prosecution or agree to prosecute for a less serious offense in exchange for information

Exclusionary Rule

all evidence obtained in violation of the constitutional rights spelled out in the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments generally is not admissible at trial

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