Crim Law Question

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whatwhatwhat
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Crim Law Question

Postby whatwhatwhat » Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:01 pm

Hey everyone!
My Crim professor is a very statutory heavy analysis question. He basically said on the final we might see a statute that we have not discussed and we have to apply it to a situation based on the fact pattern.
Any help on how to approach this?

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kalvano
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Re: Crim Law Question

Postby kalvano » Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:05 pm

Did he happen to mention which one, or what type of crime?

whatwhatwhat
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Re: Crim Law Question

Postby whatwhatwhat » Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:06 pm

kalvano wrote:Did he happen to mention which one, or what type of crime?


no. Nothing.
it's something we have never seen before. Her exams are very MPC/Common Law distinction heavy.

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kalvano
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Re: Crim Law Question

Postby kalvano » Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:12 pm

So it's theoretically possible you would be responsible for knowing the entire MPC or penal code where you are?

whatwhatwhat
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Re: Crim Law Question

Postby whatwhatwhat » Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:14 pm

kalvano wrote:So it's theoretically possible you would be responsible for knowing the entire MPC or penal code where you are?


It might be a statute we have not talked about in the MPC or it might be another statute in another jrusdiciton which we have not seen. It's impossible to predict.

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kalvano
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Re: Crim Law Question

Postby kalvano » Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:17 pm

Then you're fucked. Don't even worry about it. If it's impossible to predict, then there isn't any benefit to be gained by trying to puzzle it out.

whatwhatwhat
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Re: Crim Law Question

Postby whatwhatwhat » Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:43 pm

kalvano wrote:Then you're fucked. Don't even worry about it. If it's impossible to predict, then there isn't any benefit to be gained by trying to puzzle it out.

any advice? on how to prepare?

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Paichka
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Re: Crim Law Question

Postby Paichka » Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:40 am

Well, the main thrust of your argument is going to have to be how that statute applies to the fact pattern he gives you, right? So likely there's going to be some ambiguity in the way the statute is constructed -- either an ambiguous mens rea requirement, or it applies to a specific kind of crime ("armed robbery") and you have to discuss whether the defendant's knocking over a newspaper stand with a taser counts as armed.

I'd look at some principles of statutory construction, just to familiarize yourself with the different ways that a law can be interpreted. On any exam, the key to getting points is to argue both sides -- know what the prosecution is going to say and why, and what the defense is going to try to argue and why. Then throw in a policy rationale or two for why the judge will decide for one side or the other, and repeat as necessary.

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kalvano
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Re: Crim Law Question

Postby kalvano » Sat Nov 13, 2010 11:42 am

whatwhatwhat wrote:
kalvano wrote:Then you're fucked. Don't even worry about it. If it's impossible to predict, then there isn't any benefit to be gained by trying to puzzle it out.

any advice? on how to prepare?



I don't think your answer will be any different than for answers with statutes you've studied. Apply the law to the facts.

But I wouldn't waste time trying to puzzle out what the statute will be. According to you / him, it could be anything.

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JazzOne
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Re: Crim Law Question

Postby JazzOne » Sat Nov 13, 2010 11:44 am

whatwhatwhat wrote:
kalvano wrote:Then you're fucked. Don't even worry about it. If it's impossible to predict, then there isn't any benefit to be gained by trying to puzzle it out.

any advice? on how to prepare?

Practice with hypos. Maybe turn to the section of the E&E that you haven't covered, and write out answers to random questions.

whatwhatwhat
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Re: Crim Law Question

Postby whatwhatwhat » Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:10 pm

JazzOne wrote:
whatwhatwhat wrote:
kalvano wrote:Then you're fucked. Don't even worry about it. If it's impossible to predict, then there isn't any benefit to be gained by trying to puzzle it out.

any advice? on how to prepare?

Practice with hypos. Maybe turn to the section of the E&E that you haven't covered, and write out answers to random questions.


you mean just practice with random statutes with the E&E? Should I look at other casebooks and read them and try and identify the components or would that be a waste of time?

LurkerNoMore
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Re: Crim Law Question

Postby LurkerNoMore » Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:18 pm

This is going to test your understanding of how the MPC/Common Law/Statutes interact. The substance of the statute doesn't matter. Most likely it's going to be a statute that is silent on some important factors needed to apply it -- such as the mens rea requirement. What you will do is is identify the silence in the statute and then discuss what the MPC rule would be, followed by the CL rule, with majority and minority distinctions, if relevant. Similarly, it could be a statute that runs afoul of the constitutional bar on vagueness (which is a messy doctrine), or some other doctrine.

Essentially, the statute is likely to become a foil -- you will need to apply it to the fact pattern, but then also discuss the issues that arise out of its application.

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JazzOne
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Re: Crim Law Question

Postby JazzOne » Sat Nov 13, 2010 3:16 pm

whatwhatwhat wrote:
JazzOne wrote:
whatwhatwhat wrote:
kalvano wrote:Then you're fucked. Don't even worry about it. If it's impossible to predict, then there isn't any benefit to be gained by trying to puzzle it out.

any advice? on how to prepare?

Practice with hypos. Maybe turn to the section of the E&E that you haven't covered, and write out answers to random questions.


you mean just practice with random statutes with the E&E? Should I look at other casebooks and read them and try and identify the components or would that be a waste of time?

Meh, that was just a suggestion. I had a renegade crim law prof who didn't teach us anything except domestic-violence-men-are-evil bullshit, so I don't even know what the MPC contains.

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mmmadeli
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Re: Crim Law Question

Postby mmmadeli » Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:00 pm

We just had a practice midterm with a question like this. It wasn't too bad, but there was one little trick. The statute was prefaced with a brief sentence about why it was enacted by the legislature (to combat a rising crime rate in the area), and the statute itself didn't contain a mens rea requirement. Since the hypo specified that it was a common law jurisdiction that looks to the MPC for guidance, most people argued for a recklessness standard based on MPC 2.02(3). She said that was a good start, but she was hoping people would make a policy argument for reducing the mens rea standard to negligence based on the legislative intent -- since the legislature had enacted the statute specifically to combat a rising crime rate, it could support lowering mens rea. Most of us missed that entirely because it was so quick -- I think most of us said that the prosecutor could argue for a negligence standard, since there were facts to support conviction on negligence, but missed the policy argument for using that standard.

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Borhas
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Re: Crim Law Question

Postby Borhas » Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:53 pm

whatwhatwhat wrote:Hey everyone!
My Crim professor is a very statutory heavy analysis question. He basically said on the final we might see a statute that we have not discussed and we have to apply it to a situation based on the fact pattern.
Any help on how to approach this?


standard statutory interpretation may help (legislative intent, role of judiciary etc), if it's a policy oriented question talk about other statutes w/ similar purpose, also the policy benefits costs/benefits of interpreting one way or another . Ex: the California Supreme Court held that a reasonable mistake of fact could be a defense to statutory rape, even though it's almost universally considered a strict liability offense. Then of course there are constitutional limitations that bind everything, including state statutes.




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