Question on Criminal Law

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uvabro
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Question on Criminal Law

Postby uvabro » Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:39 pm

So I know the advise is to get the black letter law out of everything, but so far we've only been doing voluntary acts, mens rea and omissions. The majority of the cases we've looked at have either been state specific or dealt with old British cases.

Is all I need to know what I extracted:

Mens Rea: must intend action that produces criminal result/is substantially likely to?
Voluntary: must choose to do action (no physical coercion, unconsciousness, etc.)
Omission: statute must state what person didn't do was a duty or person must have a duty (by profession, contract, relationship?)

Our professor is a genius, but doesn't really go on topic. I also have the criminal law black letter outline by peter low, but it doesn't really list exact laws - anyone recommend other ones?

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bk1
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby bk1 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:47 pm

There is a lot of variation in crim law. Between state and fed, between majority and minority rules, between common law, MPC, and variations, etc. Figure out what your prof wants you to know by either talking to upper classmen or asking him/her directly. For example, my crim prof wanted us to know the different variations for many things (e.g. insanity) as well as which of those were majority and which were minority. Your prof might only want you to learn one (e.g. MPC or a state-specific version of a certain rule) and it might be a mish-mash of various states/other things.

uvabro
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby uvabro » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:28 pm

also can u tell me if i understand specific intent v. general intent? not 100% sure on the conceptual stuff we don't really ever go into in class.

hypo: it is terrible to hookup with a fat chick. bill hooks up with a fat chick.

specific intent: bill had a shallow hal experience, and truthfully didn't know she was fat so he didn't commit a terrible act.
general intent: a reasonable person would know she was really fat so he did commit a terrible act.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:39 pm

Buy Understanding Criminal Law by Dressler.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:45 pm

uvabro wrote:also can u tell me if i understand specific intent v. general intent? not 100% sure on the conceptual stuff we don't really ever go into in class.

hypo: it is terrible to hookup with a fat chick. bill hooks up with a fat chick.

specific intent: bill had a shallow hal experience, and truthfully didn't know she was fat so he didn't commit a terrible act.
general intent: a reasonable person would know she was really fat so he did commit a terrible act.


Sounds like you're on the right track (though your hypo adds a possibility, though maybe a bit of a stretch, that it might be best to particularize reasonableness in this sort of situation (i.e. the test isn't just any reasonable person, it is a reasonable person who is having a shallow hal experience). But I would be very careful about trusting what other people on his site (or in supplements) tell you about specific intent v. general intent--it has multiple meanings (dressler covers some of them) and so it is best to talk to you professor about what exactly he means by the terms. (A good way to figure this out is by trying to get him to answer what level of culpability (based on MPC categories) he thinks attaches to the conduct and to the attendant circumstances with the two terms...since it's an older common law term, this is where some of the multiple definitions of the terms pop up now.)
Last edited by Richie Tenenbaum on Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Pretzel_Logic
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby Pretzel_Logic » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:51 pm

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:Buy Understanding Criminal Law by Dressler.


This. I outlined out of Understanding and crushed Crim. I also didn't do any of the reading during the semester and never paid attention in class, and that was an incredibly stupid gamble, but this stuff will click for you. Dressler's great. Talk to some 2Ls/3Ls who had your prof and did well and find out what they did/get their outlines and you'll be fine.

uvabro
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby uvabro » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:29 pm

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:Buy Understanding Criminal Law by Dressler.

Thanks a lot! That's a good pt. my hypo sucks. Defense would bring jack black as expert witness :-) my professor is a genius..... Ridiculously brilliant, and really nice but i get the feeling teaching is something many professors do secondarily to research.

ClubberLang
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby ClubberLang » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:54 am

Don't get too hung up on general v. specific intent. Specific intent crimes are usually obvious (ie, breaking into a house with intent to commit a felony therein, attempts) . On an exam the only real significance of the distinction is that specific intent crimes bring in different defenses (ie. voluntary intoxication) and make it more difficult to prove mens rea.

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Dicta in a Box
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby Dicta in a Box » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:08 pm

uvabro wrote:also can u tell me if i understand specific intent v. general intent? not 100% sure on the conceptual stuff we don't really ever go into in class.

hypo: it is terrible to hookup with a fat chick. bill hooks up with a fat chick.

specific intent: bill had a shallow hal experience, and truthfully didn't know she was fat so he didn't commit a terrible act.
general intent: a reasonable person would know she was really fat so he did commit a terrible act.


Directly from my crim. outline...

I. Intent
a. Specific Intent: The mental state required over and above that required for the principal actus reus elements that make the conduct criminal. Goes beyond the actus reus.
i. Mens rea is spelled out in the crime.
ii. Usually there is one of three mental elements involved in specific intent
1. Relating to the commission of a separate and distinct act. “Possession of a drug with intent to sell.”
2. Relating to attendant circumstances. “Knowledge that the property was stolen.”

b. General Intent: Only requires an awareness of all factors constituting the crime. The mental state relating solely to the principal actus reus elements that make the conduct criminal.
i. Conley: In the context of result crimes intent can be inferred from the surrounding circumstances of the act.
ii. Regina: At common law malice does not mean general wickedness. Means malice aforethought.
iii. Transferred intent: Intent can be transferred from the person defendant intended to harm from the person he actually harmed.
iv. Motive distinguished: The reason or explanation for the offense is irrelevant here.

II. The MPC Approach (no general and specific intent): Prosecutor must prove defendant committed each material element of the charged offense with the particular state of mind required in the definition of that crime.

uvabro
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby uvabro » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:28 pm

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:Buy Understanding Criminal Law by Dressler.

if it's half the price for 5th edition (2010) rather than 6th (2012), is this a good call or has it been updated? thanks!

jeanster
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby jeanster » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:50 pm

Just buy the new ed- it's only, what 30 bucks more at most?

I'm loving the Dressler these days.

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darkarmour
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby darkarmour » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:19 am

UVAbro, what professor do you have?

uvabro wrote:So I know the advise is to get the black letter law out of everything, but so far we've only been doing voluntary acts, mens rea and omissions. The majority of the cases we've looked at have either been state specific or dealt with old British cases.

Is all I need to know what I extracted:

Mens Rea: must intend action that produces criminal result/is substantially likely to?
Voluntary: must choose to do action (no physical coercion, unconsciousness, etc.)
Omission: statute must state what person didn't do was a duty or person must have a duty (by profession, contract, relationship?)

Our professor is a genius, but doesn't really go on topic. I also have the criminal law black letter outline by peter low, but it doesn't really list exact laws - anyone recommend other ones?

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shredderrrrrr
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby shredderrrrrr » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:29 am

I'm really confused with what I'm supposed to know for this class as well. I know it varies by professor, but I have a quick question that might have an obvious answer:

How should I treat the sections in my casebook that list specific penal codes that seem irrelevant (i.e. Texas Penal Code and German Penal Code)? The teacher hasn't touched on them at all, but they are littered everywhere in the book. Normally I would think they are useless considering they are neither federal law or the law of my state, but am I wrong? They seem like they should be worth knowing but it seems strange taking notes on the Texas Penal Code...

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bk1
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby bk1 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:40 am

shredderrrrrr wrote:I'm really confused with what I'm supposed to know for this class as well. I know it varies by professor, but I have a quick question that might have an obvious answer:

How should I treat the sections in my casebook that list specific penal codes that seem irrelevant (i.e. Texas Penal Code and German Penal Code)? The teacher hasn't touched on them at all, but they are littered everywhere in the book. Normally I would think they are useless considering they are neither federal law or the law of my state, but am I wrong? They seem like they should be worth knowing but it seems strange taking notes on the Texas Penal Code...


Ask your prof. My prof wanted us to know a hybrid of NY, IL, CA, and MPC. It's not strange to know a state's specific penal code since most of what you are covering is state law and the various states implement the MPC in different ways. If your prof isn't covering a section then it's probably irrelevant, but I'd ask just in case.

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shredderrrrrr
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby shredderrrrrr » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:45 am

bk1 wrote:
shredderrrrrr wrote:I'm really confused with what I'm supposed to know for this class as well. I know it varies by professor, but I have a quick question that might have an obvious answer:

How should I treat the sections in my casebook that list specific penal codes that seem irrelevant (i.e. Texas Penal Code and German Penal Code)? The teacher hasn't touched on them at all, but they are littered everywhere in the book. Normally I would think they are useless considering they are neither federal law or the law of my state, but am I wrong? They seem like they should be worth knowing but it seems strange taking notes on the Texas Penal Code...


Ask your prof. My prof wanted us to know a hybrid of NY, IL, CA, and MPC. It's not strange to know a state's specific penal code since most of what you are covering is state law and the various states implement the MPC in different ways. If your prof isn't covering a section then it's probably irrelevant, but I'd ask just in case.


Thanks! I'll do this.

In general though, if a professor assigns a reading but doesn't cover parts of it, is it safe to assume only the stuff covered in class will end up on the test? Obviously you never know, but I don't know if LS is like UG in the sense that teachers like to demand you to read the material to get a good grade or if they only talk about, and subsequently test on, what they are interested in.

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bk1
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby bk1 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:46 am

shredderrrrrr wrote:In general though, if a professor assigns a reading but doesn't cover parts of it, is it safe to assume only the stuff covered in class will end up on the test? Obviously you never know, but I don't know if LS is like UG in the sense that teachers like to demand you to read the material to get a good grade or if they only talk about, and subsequently test on, what they are interested in.


Not necessarily. Ask your prof and/or upper classmen. I'd guess that in most cases it won't be tested but there's no guarantee.

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shredderrrrrr
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby shredderrrrrr » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:52 am

bk1 wrote:
shredderrrrrr wrote:In general though, if a professor assigns a reading but doesn't cover parts of it, is it safe to assume only the stuff covered in class will end up on the test? Obviously you never know, but I don't know if LS is like UG in the sense that teachers like to demand you to read the material to get a good grade or if they only talk about, and subsequently test on, what they are interested in.


Not necessarily. Ask your prof and/or upper classmen. I'd guess that in most cases it won't be tested but there's no guarantee.


I think I'll choose the latter :lol: Some professors have gotten annoyed already with people asking questions about the tests when they think we should only be trying to learn the material. While probably right, they seem to forget that we are somewhat focused on one thing in the end...

uvabro
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby uvabro » Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:25 pm

So.... really struggling with the whole specific/general intent vs. MCP codes.

Is specific and general intent just relating to common law with random words like willfully or negligently referring to specific intent crimes?

And is

MCP 4 standards moving away from that to something more concrete?

The MCP is a lot easier..... Also in applying this on a test, do we give both definitions (under common law.... and under mcp....)?

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icecold3000
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby icecold3000 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:18 pm

Both specific and general intent will have different meanings depending on the context.

In the first context both terms denote an elemental mental state. Specific intent meaning an act done with desire or for the purpose of causing social harm. And general intent meaning an act done with awareness that social harm is practically certain to result from the conduct.

In the second unrelated context, "specific and general intent" describes different categories of crimes. This distinction is irrelevant under the MPC, but is very important at common law. If a crime is a specific intent, the defendant can present defenses that are otherwise unavailable. The main difference under between the terms under this context is that specific intent crimes requires a mental state beyond the conduct: like "breaking and entering with intent (read specific intent) to commit a felony". The general intent crime would just be "breaking and entering."

Hope this helps. Buy Dressler.

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stillwater
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby stillwater » Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:44 pm

uvabro wrote:
Richie Tenenbaum wrote:Buy Understanding Criminal Law by Dressler.

if it's half the price for 5th edition (2010) rather than 6th (2012), is this a good call or has it been updated? thanks!


I have this same question. What has changed between now and then? I currently have the Fifth Ed., should I go out and track down the Sixth?

ClubberLang
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby ClubberLang » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:13 am

uvabro wrote:also can u tell me if i understand specific intent v. general intent? not 100% sure on the conceptual stuff we don't really ever go into in class.

hypo: it is terrible to hookup with a fat chick. bill hooks up with a fat chick.

specific intent: bill had a shallow hal experience, and truthfully didn't know she was fat so he didn't commit a terrible act.
general intent: a reasonable person would know she was really fat so he did commit a terrible act.


It is a crime to hookup with a fat chick (A general intent crime).
It is a crime to hookup with a fat chick for the purposes of giving her genital warts (A specific intent crime).

If Bill hookups with fattie to get his rocks off, he is guilty of the general intent crime but not the specific intent crime. If Bill hooks up with fattie in order to give her genital warts, he is guilty of both.

z0rk
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby z0rk » Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:18 am

uvabro wrote:So.... really struggling with the whole specific/general intent vs. MCP codes.

Is specific and general intent just relating to common law with random words like willfully or negligently referring to specific intent crimes?

And is

MCP 4 standards moving away from that to something more concrete?

The MCP is a lot easier..... Also in applying this on a test, do we give both definitions (under common law.... and under mcp....)?



My understanding of the Specific v General is conflated under Model Penal Code § 2.02:

Specific Intent:
Purposeful Mens Rea
Knowing Mens Rea

General Intent:
Reckless Mens Rea
Negligent Mens Rea

ClubberLang
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby ClubberLang » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:38 pm

icecold3000 wrote:Both specific and general intent will have different meanings depending on the context.

In the first context both terms denote an elemental mental state. Specific intent meaning an act done with desire or for the purpose of causing social harm. And general intent meaning an act done with awareness that social harm is practically certain to result from the conduct.

In the second unrelated context, "specific and general intent" describes different categories of crimes. This distinction is irrelevant under the MPC, but is very important at common law. If a crime is a specific intent, the defendant can present defenses that are otherwise unavailable. The main difference under between the terms under this context is that specific intent crimes requires a mental state beyond the conduct: like "breaking and entering with intent (read specific intent) to commit a felony". The general intent crime would just be "breaking and entering."

Hope this helps. Buy Dressler.


Why is the distinction irrelevant under the MPC? The MPC has specific intent crimes- see attempts.

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zworykin
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby zworykin » Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:50 pm

ClubberLang wrote:
icecold3000 wrote:Both specific and general intent will have different meanings depending on the context.

In the first context both terms denote an elemental mental state. Specific intent meaning an act done with desire or for the purpose of causing social harm. And general intent meaning an act done with awareness that social harm is practically certain to result from the conduct.

In the second unrelated context, "specific and general intent" describes different categories of crimes. This distinction is irrelevant under the MPC, but is very important at common law. If a crime is a specific intent, the defendant can present defenses that are otherwise unavailable. The main difference under between the terms under this context is that specific intent crimes requires a mental state beyond the conduct: like "breaking and entering with intent (read specific intent) to commit a felony". The general intent crime would just be "breaking and entering."

Hope this helps. Buy Dressler.


Why is the distinction irrelevant under the MPC? The MPC has specific intent crimes- see attempts.


The MPC just doesn't bother drawing a distinction between the two categories--or rather, it disposes of the idea of categorizing altogether. Every crime (/element thereof) requires a specific mens rea--whether you would categorize the crime as specific or general intent under another system really doesn't matter. It requires intent, or knowledge, or recklessness, or negligence, and that's that. (Yeah, yeah, strict liability, whatever)

MinEMorris
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Re: Question on Criminal Law

Postby MinEMorris » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:42 pm

If your bottom line question is what you need to know to prepare for your professor's final, none of us know the answer to that. Your best resources are (1) previous exams (2) the professor him or herself and (3) upper classmen. Most criminal law classes out there just go through a bunch of black letter law, elements of crimes, etc. and test you like it's torts (at least that's how mine was). But, I know of one crimlaw professor that doesn't have you memorize the elements of a single crime and spends half of the semester on policy arguments behind mens rea requirements and tests accordingly. Taking time to learn specific vs. general intent, elements of crimes, MPC vs common law in a class like that may be a massive waste of your time. I also spoke with a transfer student who said she had a very similar crimlaw experience at her previous school.

Other students from other schools with other professors are a very, very imprecise way of determining what you need to know. Depending on your professor, Dressler may be the bible or it may be completely worthless. If you want to know if you need to know something that wasn't covered that well in class, go ask your professor, not us.

That said, once you do have a good idea what he or she tests on, TLS can be a great resource for preparing for the exam. As the above posts in this thread show, there are lots of smart, successful students who will quickly help when they can.

P.S. Until you know how the professor tests, write down as much of the lecture as you reasonably can and read everything assigned. There is nothing more frustrating than hitting finals week and realizing you made assumptions about what was and wasn't important that were totally inaccurate, and you have no way or time to go back and fix it.




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