Difference between Mullaney and Patterson?

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
User avatar
gobuffs10
Posts: 241
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:20 am

Difference between Mullaney and Patterson?

Postby gobuffs10 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:09 pm

For anyone who studied these. I can't figure out the damn difference, my notes for this day are blank, and all Lafave tells me is that scholars are still arguing about it. Can anyone explain the difference?

Here's my understanding: In Mullaney, the statute allowed a jury to infer purpose from intent to kill, so if the state proved intent, then defendant had to disprove purpose beyond a reasonable doubt. This violates Winship, because purpose was an element of the offense, so the state had to prove it BRD; they couldn't shift it to D.

In Patterson, the affirmative defense was not part of the statute, and the court decided state doesn't have to prove that the defense was absent. Instead, because it's not an element, burden can be shifted to D to prove the facts of the affirmative defense. Basically, because the affirmative defense deals with the level of culpability rather than the crime itself, it doesn't violate Winship to shift it.

Am I missing anything?

nucky thompson
Posts: 290
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:32 pm

Re: Difference between Mullaney and Patterson?

Postby nucky thompson » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:22 pm

i took crim exam already - but the main take away is this: states need to write their statutes better - Mullaney's statute says unjustified/unexcused intentional killing w malice aforethought -- Patterson just says intentional killing. Therefore, shifting the burden of proof w. regard to the a/d does not inherently relieve the state of proving an element of the crime.

In mullaney D wanted to say he was provoked. Judge instructed jury to presume malice aforethought unless D proved beyond reasonable doubt otherwise. If D has to prove he was provoked, State's burden of proving it was not justified/excused is essentially relieved. If D proves his affirmative defense, he inherently disproves the states burden. If D does not prove his a/d, states burden w. regard to "unjustified, unexcused" is satisfied. This shifting is unconstitutional.

Conclusion: look to the statute. If a state wants to put the burden of proof w regard to an A/D onto the D, proving that A/D better not disprove an element of the state's case

User avatar
gobuffs10
Posts: 241
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:20 am

Re: Difference between Mullaney and Patterson?

Postby gobuffs10 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:34 pm

nucky thompson wrote:i took crim exam already - but the main take away is this: states need to write their statutes better - Mullaney's statute says unjustified/unexcused intentional killing w malice aforethought -- Patterson just says intentional killing. Therefore, shifting the burden of proof w. regard to the a/d does not inherently relieve the state of proving an element of the crime.

In mullaney D wanted to say he was provoked. Judge instructed jury to presume malice aforethought unless D proved beyond reasonable doubt otherwise. If D has to prove he was provoked, State's burden of proving it was not justified/excused is essentially relieved. If D proves his affirmative defense, he inherently disproves the states burden. If D does not prove his a/d, states burden w. regard to "unjustified, unexcused" is satisfied. This shifting is unconstitutional.

Conclusion: look to the statute. If a state wants to put the burden of proof w regard to an A/D onto the D, proving that A/D better not disprove an element of the state's case


Aha. Got it, thank you.




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests