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Intro to Criminal Law

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by

Chad Amini

on 18 March 2014

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Transcript of Intro to Criminal Law

Criminal Law
Almost all crime require an act and a
guilty state of mind
A guilty state of mind is the criminal act done knowingly, intentionally, willfully
Motive
– is the reason why an act is performed
For most crimes there is a motive and it has to be accompanied by a guilty state of mind
Strict Liability
– does not require a guilty state of mind, the act is criminal regardless of knowledge or intent
Selling alcohol to minors
General Considerations
Crimes are made up of
elements
All elements of a crime must be proven in court for a person to be convicted of that crime
Example – Elements of Robbery
1. the taking and carrying away of goods or money
2. the taking from someone’s person
3. use of force or intimidation
Parties to Crimes
The person who commits the crime is the
principal
An
accomplice
is someone who helps another person commit a crime
A person who orders the crime but who is not present is known as an
accessory before the fact
A person that helps the principal or an accomplice avoid capture or escape is known as an
accessory after the fact.
Preliminary Crimes
Certain behaviors can take place before the commission of a crime, but are crimes themselves
Solicitation
Conspiracy
Attempt
All of these behaviors can be punished even if the planned crime never occurred
Solicitation

Most states make it illegal to solicit (ask, command, urge, or advise) another person to commit a crime
Asking someone to kill your spouse, even if this person refuses, you have committed the crime of solicitation
Conspiracy
Conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime
A drug dealer asking his associate to kill another dealer is guilty of conspiracy to commit murder even if the murder is never attempted or carried out
Meant to strike against criminal activity by groups & prevent other crimes
Allows police to arrest conspirators before they commit crimes
Attempt
In most states an attempt to commit a crime is a crime itself
To be convicted, the accused must have both intended to commit & taken substantial steps toward committing a crime
When someone intends to shoot & kill someone but misses or merely wounds the intended victim, an attempt has occurred
Criminal law exists at both the state and federal level.
What are some crimes prosecuted at the state level? At the federal level?
PROBLEM:
Jack and Marci decide to burglarize Goodman Jewelers. Their friend Carl, an employee at Goodman, helps by telling them the location of the store vault. Marci drives a van to the store and keeps a lookout while Jack goes inside and cracks the safe. After Jack and Marci make their getaway, Jack meets a friend, Shawn, who was not involved in the actual burglary. Jack tells Shawn about the burglary, and Shawn helps Jack get a bus out of town. David, a former classmate of Jack and Marci, witnesses the crime but does not tell the police, even though he recognizes both Jack and Marci.
How will each person be charged?
Parts of a Crime:
ACT + GUILTY STATE OF MIND = CRIME
Crime v. Non-Crime example…
CRIME (Arson)
Pouring gasoline on the floor of your apartment, striking a match, & allowing the building to catch fire (ACT)
+
Planning & intentionally setting the fire to your apartment in order to burn down the complex (GUILTY STATE OF MIND)
NON-CRIME
Accidentally forgetting to turn off your stove before leaving for work causing your apartment complex to burn down (ACT)
+
Because you didn’t maliciously plan to burn down the complex, a GUILTY STATE OF MIND doesn’t exist
Robbery or Not?
Someone breaks into your house when you are not home & takes your property
Could this person be convicted of the crime of robbery?—Why or Why Not?
NO!
The person didn’t take property from a person (no one was home)
The person didn’t use force or intimidation (no one was home)
HOWEVER…The person could be convicted of burglary
Some crimes can violate BOTH state & federal law
Illegal possession of dangerous drugs
Bank robbery
These types of crimes can be prosecuted in EITHER a state OR federal court
To prove attempt…
Courts must determine whether the actions of the accused were a substantial step toward the actual commission of the crime OR mere acts of preparation
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