Help with crim law

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haines8
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 3:21 am

Help with crim law

Postby haines8 » Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:34 pm

I'm a bit confused with a few parts of crim. law and would appreciate if someone could give me some explanation on these.

1) Is the thin-skull rule ("take your victim as you find them") available in crim law as it is in torts?
2) Is applying the mens rea to attendant circumstances and result CL, MPC, or both? What happens if the mens rea does not satisfy, say, the attendant circumstances?

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ph14
Posts: 3225
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: Help with crim law

Postby ph14 » Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:38 pm

haines8 wrote:I'm a bit confused with a few parts of crim. law and would appreciate if someone could give me some explanation on these.

1) Is the thin-skull rule ("take your victim as you find them") available in crim law as it is in torts?
2) Is applying the mens rea to attendant circumstances and result CL, MPC, or both? What happens if the mens rea does not satisfy, say, the attendant circumstances?


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1) Yes
2) [B] Mens Rea Terms

[1] "Purposely" – In the context of a result or conduct, a person acts "purposely" if it is his "conscious object to engage in conduct of that nature or to cause such a result." [MPC § 2.02(2)(a)(i)] A person acts "purposely" with respect to attendant circumstances if he "is aware of the existence of such circumstances or he believes or hopes that they exist."

[2] "Knowingly" – A result is "knowingly" caused if the defendant "is aware that it is practically certain that his conduct will cause such a result." [MPC § 2.02(2)(b)(ii)] With "attendant circumstances" and "conduct" elements, one acts "knowingly" if he is "aware that his conduct is of that nature or that such [attendant] circumstances exist. Furthermore, the Code states that knowledge is established, if "a person is aware of a high probability of . . . [the attendant circumstance’s] existence, unless he actually believes that it does not exist." [MPC § 2.02(7)]

[3] "Recklessly" and "Negligently" – The Code provides that a person acts "recklessly" if he "consciously disregards a substantial and unjustified risk that the material element exists or will result from his conduct." A risk is "substantial and unjustifiable" if "considering the nature and purpose of the defendant’s conduct and the circumstances known to him, its disregard involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a law-abiding person would observe in the actor’s situation." [MPC § 2.02(2)(c)]

A person’s conduct is "negligent" if the defendant "should be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material element exists or will result from his conduct." [MPC § 2.02(d)] The definition of "substantial and unjustifiable" is the same as that provided for in the definition of "recklessness," except that the term "reasonable person" is substituted for "law-abiding person."

As in common law, "negligence" and "recklessness," therefore, require the same degree of risk-taking: "substantial and unjustifiable," and the difference between them lies in the fact that the reckless defendant "consciously disregards" the risk, whereas the negligent defendant’s risk-taking is inadvertent.

[C] Principles of Statutory Interpretation – A single mens rea term — of whatever specific type — modifies each actus reus element of the offense, absent a plainly contrary purpose of the legislature.




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