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Crim. Law 6 Mens Rea

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Thaddeus Hoffmeister

on 21 January 2016

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Transcript of Crim. Law 6 Mens Rea

Crim. Law
Class #6
Prof. Hoffmeister

Mens Rea
A guilty mind
A guilty or wrongful purpose
Any morally blameworthy state of mind

Specific Intent Crimes
False Pretenses
First Degree Murder
Guide for the states
Every crime has a mental element
Only 4 Mens Rea terms (knowingly, purposely, recklessly and negligently)
People v. Conley
FACTS: Conley attempted to strike Marty who ducked. As a result, Conley hit Sean.
ISSUE: Did Conley intend to inflict a permanent disability?
ANALYSIS: "one intends the natural and probable consequences of his actions"
Specific Intent
Special mental element beyond any mental state required to commit the actus reus
Intent to engage in certain activity beyond the initial actus reus e.g., burglary

Proof of a special motive or purpose for committing actus reus e.g., larceny

D's awareness of an attendant circumstance e.g., receipt of stolen property
Purpose and Knowledge


Reckless=conscious unjustifiable substantial risk creation. Risk that is of a probability less than substantial certainty

Negligence=involves no state of awareness unlike the other mental states. D inadvertently creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk of which he ought to be aware

Pg. 163 #1
ORC 2901.22
Intent at CL is not only those results that are the conscious object of the actor, but also those results that the actor knows are virtually certain to occur from his conduct.

How do you prove intent?
General Intent
any mental state whether express or implied that relates solely to the conduct

awareness of all factors constituting the crime

Examples include rape, battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment
Flores-Figueroa v. U.S.
FACTS: D gives employer false identifiers to obtain employment. First time identifiers were fake. Second time identifiers belonged to a real person. D says he was unaware that the identifiers belonged to a real person.
ISSUE: Must the government prove that the D knew that the identifiers belonged to another person?

18 USC 1028A(a)(1)

Textual reasons to apply "knowingly" to all elements

"John knowingly discarded the homework of his sister"

Gov't says that adverbs only modify verbs

Gov't says their reading encourages criminals not to use real identifiers

Gov't says it will make our job too hard

ANALYSIS: SCT says two fatal flaws in govt's argument.

(1) Why even list the 2 examples if they are the only 2 possible examples. Also, the D could provide a verbal bogus SS #

(2) Gov't can prove intent

What is transferred intent?

Do we need this doctrine in criminal law?
Other Mental States at CL

Malice:Arson and Murder

Strict Liability: Statutory Rape and Public Welfare Offenses

Driving directly at V

Driving a car at a crowd in order to hit the V

Driving at 90mph in Downton Dayton and hitting V

Driving 5-10 mph over the speed limit during a rain storm and hitting V

Full transcript