"Natural and probable consequences" -Crim Law

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croggs
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Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:39 pm

"Natural and probable consequences" -Crim Law

Postby croggs » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:39 am

I understand how the facts would make a difference, but I wasn't sure if the way you structured an argument for mental state would differ, or I would just use a generic "it can be inferred from the natural and probable consequences of D's actions that..." Like if D hits a V in the head with a lamp that would generally just cause a bump on the head, but it kills him because he has a weak skull. Inferring his mental state for murder, would you just go down the list and say: you can infer from the natural and probable consequences of D's actions that D 1) had purpose (to talk about 1st degree murder in our state),2) knowledge (to discuss 2nd degree murder) and recklessness to discuss involuntary manslaughter?

I know the arguments for "purpose" or "knowledge" are quite difficult to make. But without more facts from a situation, would the basis for the argument for all three be essentially the exact same phrasing except for the mental state required? Is there a difference between inferring purpose and recklessness (aside from the likelihood of the argument succeeding) if the facts do not give you much to work with.

BeenDidThat
Posts: 704
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:18 am

Re: "Natural and probable consequences" -Crim Law

Postby BeenDidThat » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:36 am

croggs wrote:I understand how the facts would make a difference, but I wasn't sure if the way you structured an argument for mental state would differ, or I would just use a generic "it can be inferred from the natural and probable consequences of D's actions that..." Like if D hits a V in the head with a lamp that would generally just cause a bump on the head, but it kills him because he has a weak skull. Inferring his mental state for murder, would you just go down the list and say: you can infer from the natural and probable consequences of D's actions that D 1) had purpose (to talk about 1st degree murder in our state),2) knowledge (to discuss 2nd degree murder) and recklessness to discuss involuntary manslaughter?

I know the arguments for "purpose" or "knowledge" are quite difficult to make. But without more facts from a situation, would the basis for the argument for all three be essentially the exact same phrasing except for the mental state required? Is there a difference between inferring purpose and recklessness (aside from the likelihood of the argument succeeding) if the facts do not give you much to work with.


You would want to go down the list, making the arguments for the various definitions. If I recall correctly, knowledge is engaging in some form of conduct that, by its nature is such that D was practically certain that he would get X prohibited result (e.g., death in the case of homicide).

However, recklessness is defined differently, so you'd want to use that. If I recall correctly, it's a conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk to human life. So you'd want to argue 1) conscious disregard --> either D said something before or after that gets him on this point, or the situation could be such that one could infer it (e.g., D drives his car 150 mph on a busy highway, has no mental capacity problems); 2) substantial risk --> pretty straightforward here...if it's a highway and not some tiny rural road in the middle of Wyoming that maybe sees one care every two years; and 3) unjustified --> he didn't have some other reason. To take the 150 mph example, one type of situation where he might be justified would be if he was actually a nuclear bomb defusing technician, the cops just found a rigged-up warhead in a courthouse, and they called D, which explains why he was going 150 on the highway.

Also, make sure to hit "Reply" and not "New Topic" next time. Mods, if you see this, could you merge it with his previous post on the same subject? Thanks.




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