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Criminal Law

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Daniel M'Naughten
Dog is upset because police officer thinks he has culpability but the cat does not.
People v. Bowen
Gazelle tells lion that charging at him constitutes an attempt on his life.
People v. Taylor
Getaway car driver worries about his accomplices committing felony murder in liquor store.
State v. Whitmarsh
Gay rights; same sex marriage; sodomy laws; dog refuses sex with cat.
United States v. Bergman
Elderly man argues for no custody time since he will not be a recidivist.
United States v. Escamilla
Firearm accidentally goes off while pointed at a man during an argument.
Commonwealth v. Poindexter
In the absence of a statutory definition of the elements of a crime, a court must resort to the common law for guidance; sodomy.
Locke v. State
Oral sex performed upon a woman constitutes a crime against nature; due process clause.
Locke v. Rose
A statute is void for vagueness if it fails to specify the conduct punishable thereunder such that the defendant lacks fair warning that his conduct violates the statute. Habeas corpus; per curiam; opinion; vagueness doctrine; void for vagueness.
Rose v. Locke
Vagueness doctrine; void for vagueness. Court broad construction of a state criminal statute provides fair notice that statutory language will encompass conduct related to that forbidden by the statute.
Wilson v. State
Ex post facto law. A statute may not be retroactively enforced against conduct that was not illegal at the time it was committed.
State v. Mullen
Absent legislative intent indicating otherwise, repeal or amendment of statute prior to criminal defendant prosecution that renders conduct engaged in by defendant no longer criminal bars further prosecution; deterrence; retribution; savings clause.
Perkins v. State of North Carolina
Cruel and unusual punishment is an evolving doctrine and depends on the prevailing societal views of the relative punishment afforded to a specific crime. Habeas corpus; ineffective assistance of counsel; nolo contendere.
Pierce v. Commonwealth
Home rule ordinance. Local municipalities may not enact local legislation directly conflicting with state statutes establishing a comprehensive scheme for criminal punishment.
Regina v. Cunningham
Maliciously requires a showing that the defendant acted with an actual intent to cause the particular kind of harm done or that the particular kind of harm might result from his actions. Malicious; malicious act.
State v. Rocker
Indecent exposure can be established by an inference of the defendant's general intent to be seen by the public.
Ford v. State
Transferred intent is inapplicable to offenses requiring the specific intent to inflict specific harm upon a specific individual; assault; general intent.
Smallwood v. State
Merely exposing another to the risk of contracting HIV does not establish intent to kill; attempt; specific intent.
Sandstrom v. Montana
Jury instructions that, by conclusive presumption or misleading directions, shift the burden of proof on an essential element of the crime to the defendant violate the Due Process Clause. Burden of production; burden of persuasion.
United States v. Jewell
One acts knowingly not only with positive knowledge, but also with an awareness of a high probability that a fact exists; actual knowledge; wilfull blindness.
Barnes v. United States
When common sense and experience suggest defendant must have known or been aware of a high probability of existence of a fact, the jury may infer his knowledge as element of crime charged. Inference; knowing.
State v. Hazelwood
Application of simple negligence standard in criminal proceedings does not violate Due Process Clause; governmental interests deterring similar future conduct outweigh infringement personal freedom. Criminal negligence; strict liability.
State v. Larson
Recklessness is conscious and unjustifiable disregard of substantial risk that offender's conduct may cause certain result or may be of certain nature. Reckless disregard.
State v. Cushman
When, by statute, recklessness is established without existence of actual danger, defendant may not escape liability because he was without power to cause danger to his victim. Reckless; reckless endangerment.
State v. Stepniewski
Strict liability. Due process does not require intent to violate the law as element of the crime.
State v. Sexton
Evidence of the mistaken belief relates to whether the State has failed to prove the essential mental element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Mistake of fact; reckless.
People v. Marrero
Mistake of law does not relieve a defendant from criminal liability unless it negates the mental element required for conviction.
State v. Caddell
Unconsciousness is an affirmative defense requiring defendant to prove beyond reasonable doubt that mental element of crime is negated by his unconsciousness. Burden of persuasion; burden of production; insanity; mens rea; voluntary.
People v. Gory
Possession requires knowingly exercising immediate and exclusive control over an object. Willful.
Wheeler v. United States
Constructive possession of controlled substance is established when the defendant is knowingly in a position or has the right to exercise dominion or control over it, and has some appreciable ability to guide its destiny.
County Court of Ulster County v. Allen
Permissive presumption is constitutional if there exists a rational connection between the proof and the facts presumed. Possession.
State v. Williquette
Omission to act by one under a legal duty to do so is sufficient for criminal liability if it is a substantial factor in bringing about the consequences prohibited by statute. Child abuse; information.
Hughes v. State
Unborn fetus is a human being within the meaning of the state homicide statute. Born alive rule; manslaughter; misdemeanor manslaughter.
Mullaney v. Wilbur
Malice afterthought. Due Process Clause requires the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the absence of heat of passion when it is at issue in a homicide prosecution. Habeas corpus; manslaughter; mens rea; murder.
Patterson v. New York
Heat of passion. Due process does not require the prosecution to disprove all affirmative defenses that may be available to defendant, so long as it has proven guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. manslaughter; murder.
People v. Washington
Heat of passion is determined by the standard of an ordinary, reasonable person without consideration of unique individual characteristics.
People v. Berry
Cooling-off period. Voluntary manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being, without malice, upon a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion.
State v. Guthrie
Premeditation. To establish first-degree murder, premeditation must be proved by evidence that defendant considered his decision to kill for some period of time before act of killing. Deliberate first- degree murder; intent; second-degree murder.
Hyam v. Director of Public Prosecutions
One who, with full knowledge of the dangers involved, deliberately exposes a person to danger of death or bodily injury is liable for murder upon death of victim. Homicide; malice afterthought; manslaughter; murder.
State v. Goodseal
Felony murder must be based on an underlying felony that is inherently dangerous to human life. Felony-murder rule.
State v. Rose
Causation. Criminal conviction for manslaughter must be based on the actions that cause the victim's death. reasonable doubt.
Kibbe v. Henderson
Causation; habeas corpus; intervening cause; second-degree murder; superseding cause. Failure to instruct the jury on a material element of the prosecution's case violates the defendant's due process rights.
Regina v. Blaue
One who inflicts an injury upon another that results in death cannot avoid liability because the victim could have taken better care of himself or herself. Diminished capacity; intervening cause; manslaughter; murder; superseding cause.
Gregg v. Georgia
Death penalty is not cruel and unusual punishment under appropriate circumstances. Bifurcated trial.
Pate v. Robinson
Under state law, a defendant must be afforded a hearing to determine his competency to stand trial when evidence suggests the defendant may have suffered from insanity at the time the crime was committed. Incompetency.
Jackson v. Indiana
Fourteenth Amendment; pending criminal charges; insufficient basis for applying lesser procedural or substantive safeguards to prior civil commitment than otherwise afforded similarly situated persons. Civil commitment; incompetency; insanity.
United States v. Brawner
Model Penal Code criminal defendant not responsible for actions result of a mental disease or defect if lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate criminality or make conduct conform requirements law. Insanity defense; mental illness.
State v. McVey
Diminished responsibility defense not applicable to general intent crimes. Insanity defense; diminished capacity; specific intent defense.
Powell v. Texas
Chronic alcoholics are not afforded a constitutional defense against criminal liability. Actus reus; cruel and unusual punisment; intoxication; mens rea; public intoxication; voluntary intoxication.
United States v. Moore
Drug addiction is not a common law defense to criminal charges of drug possession. Addict; drug addict; mens rea.
Montana v. Egelhoff
Due Process Clause does not require a state to consider evidence of voluntary intoxication to negate the mental element of a crime. Mens rea; specific intent.
City of Minneapolis v. Altimus
Defendant who is mentally deficient due to involuntary intoxication is relieved of criminal responsibility if he is left temporarily insane. Mens rea; pathological intoxication.
State v. Q.D.
Infancy defense to the capacity to understand the wrongfulness of minor's actions applies to juvenile adjudications and may be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence. Criminal capacity; minority.
United States v. Peterson
Castle doctrine; no retreat rule. Self-defense must be in response to an actual or reasonably perceived unlawful and immediate threat of deadly force by another and must reasonably relate to the threat faced.
Bechtel v. State
Expert testimony concerning battered woman syndrome is relevant to the reasonableness of actions done in self-defense.
Law v. State
Justifiable homicide; justification; mitigating circumstance; necessity. If lawful occupant of house maintains reasonable apprehension that unlawful intruder will commit murder robbery burglar rape, then occupant justified using necessary force.
Bishop v. State
Homeowner may not use a mechanical device in defense of his property when he is not present in the home and is therefore incapable of developing a reasonable belief that the intruder entered with the intent to commit a felony. Justification.
Tennessee v. Garner
Deadly force; Fourth Amendment. Officers may not use deadly force to prevent the escape of a felony suspect unless officer has probable cause that suspect presents a threat to the life or safety of the officer or others. Seizure.
State v. Hobson
Resisting arrest. Common-law rule permitting an arrestee to resist forcibly an unlawful arrest must be abolished, absent unreasonable police force.
State v. Wilder
Assault; child endangerment; child abuse. To trigger criminal liability resulting from parental discipline, physical harm must cause more than minor pain or temporary marks and be grossly deviate from reasonable person.
State v. Warshow
Necessity defense requires an emergency situation not caused by the criminal actor, requiring otherwise criminal action to avoid an imminent risk of death or injury.
United States v. LaFleur
One under pressure of unlawful threat of harm from another, commits what would otherwise be crime may, under some circumstances justified by act but duress does not mitigate murder to voluntary manslaughter. Mitigating; circumstance.
Washington v. Glucksberg
Right to commit suicide is not a fundamental liberty interest entitled to protection under Fourth Amendment. Consent; euthanasia; substantive due process.
State v. Hiott
Defense of consent is not available to a participant in an unlawful contest that violates public policy.
State v. Garoutte
State compromise statute applies equally to high misdemeanors as to simple misdemeanors in the absence of legislative clarification. Misdemeanor manslaughter.
State v. Alston
Consent; rape. Defendant can be guilty of raping someone with whom he has engaged in a consensual sexual relationship.
State v. Thompson
Intercourse is considered to be without consent if the victim is compelled to engage in intercourse under a threat of force or fear of imminent death or bodily harm. Threat; probable cause.
People v. Evans
Sexual intercourse that is achieved by fraud or trickery is not considered rape.
Jones v. State
Force necessary to sustain a rape conviction can be inferred from the circumstances if it is reasonable to conclude the attacker was willing to use force. Constructive; implied.
People v. Liberta
Husband can be convicted of raping his own wife.
Owens v. State
Statutory rape. Law protects children under the age of fourteen from sexual conduct, regardless of whether the offender intended to engage in the act with one under the age of fourteen or whether the victim consented to the act.
Director of Public Prosecutions v. Morgan
If a man believed a woman was consenting to the intercourse and would not have attempted it but for that belief, he cannot be found guilty of rape. Specific intent.
People v. Harris
Person commits an attempt-type offense when, with intent to commit a specific offense, he does any act that constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of that offense. Attempted murder.
In Re Smith
Attempt requires specific intent to commit a particular crime, and a direct ineffectual act done towards its commission. Effective assistance of counsel; habeas corpus; ineffective assistance of counsel; kidnapping preparation.
Regina v. Eagleton
Under the last act rule, actions constitute attempt to commit crime if actions are the last act required to accomplish the crime. false pretenses; intent.
People v. Rizzo
Attempt to commit a crime must be established by acts that so proximate to commission of crime that there is a reasonable probability crime would have been committed but for timely interference. Legal impossibility; preparation; robbery.
People v. Orndorff
Acts in preparation to commit future crime do not constitute attempt if actor abandons act before committing crime. preparation; test.
Commonwealth v. Skipper
Preparation to commit a future crime does not constitute an attempt if the actor can abandon the act before committing the crime. Prison breach.
People v. Bowen
Overt act can only be found under unequivocal circumstances that corroborate the felonious intent. Attempt; larceny.
United States v. Thomas
Legal impossibility is not defense in court-martial proceeding when the defendants committed the necessary criminal acts with the intent to commit crime. Attempt; rape.
People v. Staples
Actions in furtherance of crime are not mere preparation so long as they are substantial step toward commission of crime. Attempt; burglary.
United States v. James
Express agreement between the parties does not need to be proved in order to prove conspiracy.
State v. St. Christopher
Inchoate offense; meeting of the minds. Person cannot be guilty of conspiracy when the only person with whom he has conspired or agreed has feigned agreement.
Mitchell v. State
One can conspire to commit second-degree murder, even though premeditation is not an element of that crime. Deliberation.
People v. Lauria
In order to make supplier of goods or services a participant in a criminal conspiracy to use goods or services for illegal purpose, the supplier must have knowledge illegal use and intent further illegal use. Felony; misdemeanor; probable cause.
United States v. Feola
Assailant does not need to be aware that victim is federal officer in order to be held criminally liable for conspiracy to commit assault on federal officer engaged in performance of his official duties.
Shaw v. Director of Public Prosecutions
Common law provides that it is a crime to corrupt public morals, and one who aids another in doing so can be found guilty of conspiracy to corrupt public morals. Corruption.
Ventimiglia v. United States
Legal impossibility. Alleged conspirators can be punished even if the objective of the conspiracy cannot be achieved, though the conspirators mistakenly believe it can. Taft-Hartley Act [labor management relations act].
Braverman v. United States
Single agreement to commit one or many crimes can only be punished as one conspiracy.
Kotteakos v. United States
Multiple parties who conspire with same individual for same unlawful act to be performed on separate occasions cannot be held liable for one general conspiracy.
United States v. Bruno
Chain conspiracy; wheel conspiracy. If group of smugglers, distributors, and retailers work together to import and sell drugs, agreement and cohesive network creates conspiracy including each person involved in distribution chain.
United States v. Michelena-Orovio
Chain conspiracy. Conviction for conspiracy may be upheld based on only one single act from which knowledge and participation may be inferred.
Grunewald v. United States
If principal objectives of conspiracy are accomplished, a subsidiary conspiracy to conceal cannot be implied from circumstantial evidence indicating conspiracy kept secret and that conspirators took steps to cover up crime to avoid detection.
Iannelli v. United States
Double-jeopardy clause. Person can be separately convicted of both conspiracy to commit a crime and commission of that crime even if that person is the only party to the agreement who participated in the substantive offense.
People v. Lubow
One who solicits another to engage in conduct constituting a crime can be held criminally liable for solicitation of that crime.
Hicks v. United States
In order to be guilty of aiding and abetting, defendant must have intended to advise or assist another with criminal act. Aid and Abet.
Bailey v. United States
In order to be guilty of aiding and abetting another with the commission of a crime, the defendant must have voluntarily associated himself with the endeavor. Directed verdict; perpetrator.
Bogdanov v. People
Complicity liability for criminal behavior of another exists if the defendant aids, abets, or advises other person in committing criminal offense of which he had knowledge and that was actually committed. Strict liability.
State v. Gladstone
Defendant is guilty of aiding and abetting another if he consciously acted in accordance or association with the principal to accomplish the crime. Conspiracy nexus.
People v. Marshall
Alleged accomplice's accountability rests on his level of complicity in the misconduct, because guilt for criminal behavior must be based on personal behavior. Involuntary manslaughter; principal.
State v. Diaz
Conspirator may be liable for criminal offenses committed by co-conspirator if those offenses were within scope of conspiracy, are in furtherance of conspiracy and reasonably foreseeable as natural consequence of conspiracy. Co-conspirator.
United States v. Carter
Voluntary participation in one felonious act makes person liable for any other criminal acts that naturally flow from his participation. Felony murder.
People v. Kessler
If defendant assists another in planning or commission of criminal offense, he is legally responsible for any criminal act that other person does in furtherance of planned criminal act. Acquiescence.
People v.  Taylor
Collateral estoppel bars retrial of issue decided previous trial if issues tried at both trials are identical, previous trial resulted judgment on merits and party against whom collateral estoppel assessed was party or was in privity with party at first trial.
United States v. Bryan
Duped principal need not be convicted of substantive offense in order for another defendant to be convicted of aiding and abetting. Averment; criminal intent.
State v. Adams
Renunciation. Defendant may successfully assert the renunciation defense only if he has voluntarily and actively rejected the planned offense.
State v. Cota
Person who would otherwise be guilty as an accomplice because of assistance or encouragement is not guilty if the crime is defined so that participation by another is inevitably incident to its commission. Complicity; directed verdict.
State v. Beaudry
Vicarious liability. Employer is vicariously liable for the criminal acts of its employees committed within the scope of their employment.
State v. Akers
Parents cannot be held vicariously criminally liable for their children's criminal offenses. Exception.
Commonwealth v. Beneficial Finance Co.
Corporation may be held criminally responsible for the acts of its agents if the corporation placed the agent in a position in which he has enough authority to act on behalf of the corporation in handling that particular corporate business.
United States v. Park
Corporate officers can be held personally criminally liable for a corporation's acts. Interstate commerce.
Stephens v. State
Person is an accessory after the fact if he renders assistance with the intent to help a criminal avoid detection and arrest.
Holland v. State
Misprision of felony, the common law providing that the bare failure of a person with knowledge of the commission of a felony must bring the crime to the attention of the proper authorities, is not a part of Florida substantive law.
Ewing v. California
Conviction felony grand theft under three-strikes law not grossly disproportionate and does not violate Eighth Amendment prohibition cruel unusual punishment. Deterrence, deterrent punishment; proportionality; recidivism; rehabilitation; retribution.
Ewing v. California b
Deterrence, deterrent punishment; proportionality; recidivism; rehabilitation; retribution. Felony grand theft under three-strikes law is not grossly disproportionate, not violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
Apprendi v. New Jersey
Due process considerations of Fifth Amendment, applied to states through Fourteenth Amendment, requires an increase in maximum prison sentence to be based on facts found by jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Evidentiary hearing; hate crime.
People v. Newton
Individual may not be charged with violating law when he has done no voluntary act to commit it. Habeas corpus.
Martin v. State
Statute prohibiting intoxicated persons from appearing in any public place is not violated when intoxicated individual involuntarily taken into public; violation presumes that the public appearance was voluntary. Involuntary.
Robinson v. California
Status crime. It is unconstitutional, as cruel and unusual punishment, to prosecute a defendant for a crime based not on any voluntary act, but on his or her status or illness.
Johnson v. State
Delivering an illegal drug by way of the blood passing through the umbilical cord is not a violation of the statutory prohibition against delivery by an adult of a controlled substance to minor. Quash.
Chicago v. Morales
Fair warning; void for vagueness. Ordinance that seeks to impose criminal penalties for conduct by vaguely defined violations deemed to have been committed in discretion of law enforcement officers denies due process.
Lambert v. California
Law requiring registration of felon contravenes due process when person charged with violating the requirement had no reason to know of registration requirement.
Regina v. Faulkner
Recklessness. Having the intent to commit a specific crime does not serve to establish the intent to commit a second crime that occurs by accident. Reckless.
Regina v. Prince
It is not a defense to the crime of taking an underage girl that the defendant thought the girl was not underage when the statute does not make knowledge of the girl's age an element of the crime. Assizes.
Cheek v. United States
Good-faith belief that the tax laws did not impose a duty on him to file returns or pay taxes did not have to be objectively reasonable in order to be considered as a defense by the jury. Willfullness.
Commonwealth v. Twitchell
Statute insulating parents from prosecution for neglect of child welfare laws cannot avoid prosecution for involuntary manslaughter; parents permitted to assert affirmative defense reasonably relied Attorney General opinion. Parens patriae.
Stephenson v. State
If victim commits suicide during course of kidnapping, defendant may not avoid responsibility for death by establishing that victim took poison voluntarily and caused her own death. Kidnap.
People v. Kevorkian
Right to die laws; euthanasia; terminally ill; advance directives. Phyician assisted suicide is not murder, it is assisted suicide, a common-law felony in absence of statute that specifically prohibits assisting suicide.
People v. Beardsley
Absent legal duty, the law may not hold one responsible for a death resulting from the reckless or negligent actions of the victim himself or herself. Moral duty.
Francis v. Franklin
Shifting the burden of proof on an essential element of a criminal case back to the defendant violates the Due Process Clause. Inference; intent; resonable doubt; rebuttable; presumption.
Commonwealth v. Welansky
Wanton or reckless conduct is intentional conduct, which may be either act of commission or omission when have duty to act, that involves high likelihood substantial harm will result to another. Involuntary manslaughter; manslaughter; willful.
State v. Williams
Conviction for statutory manslaughter requires showing of negligence that causes the death of another.
Mayes v. The People
Malice may be implied when defendant actions were done without regard for the consequences of his or her actions. Mischief; murder; natural life; plaintiff in error.
State v. Martin
But-for-test; felony murder; felony murder rule. Felony murder if death is during commission of violent felony, death not too remote, accidental, or occurrence dependent volitional act another. Aggravated arson.
Tison v. Arizona
Felony-murder rule; simpliciter. Reckless indifference to innocent life, shown by participating in the events leading up to and following a murder, makes the death sentence constitutionally permissible.
Atkins v. Virginia
Execution of mentally retarded person is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment. deterence; retribution.
State v. Leidholm
battered-woman syndrome. In claim of self-defense, defendant conduct is evaluated according to what she in good faith honestly believed and had reasonable ground believe necessary protect defendant from death or great bodily injury.
The Queen v. Dudley & Stephens
Necessity does not justify killing another person who poses no danger. Assize.
People v. Unger
Necessity defense; compulsion; duress; eighth amendment; justification; justification defense. Prisoner may escape to avoid harm if did not cause situation and reasonably believed actions necessary to avoid greater injury than escape.
State v. Hunter
Compulsion is not a defense to homicide charge unless charge is felony murder. Felony murder rule.
People v. Serravo
Applying statutory definition of insanity, right and wrong are measured by existing societal standards of morality rather defendant's personal and subjective understanding of illegality of act. Insane; insanity defense; not guilty by reason of insanity.
Smith v. State
Irresistable impulse test. Person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at time act was committed mental disease or defect caused lack of capacity to appreciate wrongfulness of conduct or conform his conduct to law. Substantial capacity.
People v. Lubow
Proof of the crime of solicitation is complete upon proof of the communication; it does not require an overt act in furtherance nor does it even require proof of delivery of the solicitation to the intended target; criminal solicitation.
State v. Ochoa
Person is an aider and abettor if he shares the criminal intent of the principal and acts in concert with the principal; Abet; accesory; aid and abet; incite; riot.
State v. Etzweiler
Accomplice will be liable only for crimes that he or she intended to facilitate. Negligent homicide.
State v. Verive
Conviction for conspiracy requires an agreement to commit a criminal act and some overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. Corroboration; double jeopardy clause; immunity; perjury.
United States v. Diaz
Participant in a conspiracy is criminally liable for all acts that are done by other members in furtherance of the conspiracy and that are reasonably foreseeable as a necessary consequence of the unlawful agreement.
State v. Christy Pontiac-GMC, Inc.
Corporation may be convicted of specific-intent crime when agent of corporation takes illegal acts in furtherance of the corporate business interests; alter ego; commercial crime; corporate crime; legal fiction; specific intent; swindle.
Commonwealth v. McIlwain School Bus Lines
Corporation may be held criminally liable for vehicular homicide when the definition of person in the homicide statute extends beyond that of natural person. Ultra vires.
United States v. Hilton Hotel Corp.
Corporation cannot disown the criminal acts of its agents simply by making it company policy not to break the law; to do so would permit a corporate defendant to avoid responsibility for illegal conduct it actually condoned. Sherman antitrust act.
Commonwealth v. Mitchneck
Failing to pay money to a creditor under an agreement to pay the debt of another does not constitute fraudulent conversion, since the money at issue never belonged to the creditor; conversion novation.
Rex v. Chisser
Taking goods without paying for them is treated as a felony even though the store clerk voluntarily handed the merchandise to the customer for inspection as part of an anticipated transaction. Felleo amimo incohate.
The King v. Pear
If one rents property under false pretenses and fails to return it at the end of the lease time, and instead sells the property and keeps the money, he has committed a felony.
State v. Smith
Defendant may not be convicted rape if words and conduct of complainant justify reasonable belief that complainant consented. affirmative defense; general intent; mistake of fact; preponderance of the evidence; reasonable doubt; specific intent.
In the Interest of M.T.S.
Sexual assault consists of any act of sexual penetration done without the affirmative and freely given permission of the victim. Juvenile delinquency.
Boro v. People
Consent to an act of sexual intercourse will bar prosecution for rape, even when consent was obtained by fraud, if victim knew that she was consenting to an act of sexual intercourse. Fraud in the factum; fraud in the inducement; prohibition.
Commonwealth v. Fischer
Reasonable mistake of fact regarding a victim's consent is not a defense to a rape charge. Mens rea.
Three Strikes
James v. United States; Attempted burglary, as defined by Florida law, is a violent felony under ACCA Armed Career Criminal Act; three strikes.
State v. Guthrie
First Degree Murder; intent to kill must last for more than an instant; murder in the first degree consists of an intentional, deliberate, and premeditated killing, which means that the killing occurs after a period of time of prior consideration.
Attorney General for Jersey v. Holley
Provocation defense is akin to self defense; would a person having ordinary powers of self-control commit same crime as defendent given gravity of provocation? Evidence of the alcoholism or intoxication of defendant should not be considered.
People v. Howard
Felony murder; accidental death during police chase is not felony muder; but murder can be committed without malice if the killing occurs during the commission of an inherently dangerous felony.
People v. Wilhelm
Rape shield; evidence of victim's sexual conduct with a third party is irrelevant to the issue of whether she consented to sexual intercourse with the defendant; public, provocative displays may or may not be admissible in rape trials.
Clark v. Arizona
Mott Rule; mental illness short of insanity does not bear on mens rea according to Arizona state Mott Rule; court will not allow evidence of a mental disorder short of insanity as bearing on a defendant's capacity to form specific intent.
Latimer v. The Queen
Mercy killing is murder; for defense of necessity to apply, there must be an urgent situation of clear and imminent peril, no reasonable legal alternative to disobeying the law, and proportionality between the harm inflicted and the harm avoided.
People v. Robertson
Felony murder instruction not proper when underlying felony is integral part of the homicide; shooting to scare off burglars can result in a murder conviction.
Creative Accounting
White collar crime cartoon; Arthur Andersen LLP; withhold documents; alter documents; destroy documents.
Juvenile Court Reasonable Doubt
In Re Winship, In juvenile court, guilt of criminal charges must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
General Deterrence and Sentencing
United States v. Milken, individual deterrence, general deterrence, punishment, retribution, and rehabilitation, appropriate criminal sentence.
The Sentencing Reform Act
United States v. Gementera, judge force convict to declare crime in public, The Sentencing Reform Act affords courts broad discretion in fashioning conditions of supervised release reasonably related to nature and circumstances of offense.
Criminal Laws on Homosexuality
Lawrence v. Texas, state laws criminalizing homosexual relations violate substantive due process.
Common Law Misdemeanors
Commonwealth v. Mochan, misdemeanors may arise under state common law, acts against the public morality, Lawrence v. Texas, homosexuality.
Fair Warning In Legislation
McBoyle v. United States, legislation must be drafted in such a way as to give citizens fair warning of what conduct is encompassed within the statute, ejusdem generis.
The Rule of Lenity
United States v. Dauray, The rule of lenity requires that ambiguities in a criminal statute be resolved in the defendant's favor, noscitur a socis.
Mens Rae
B (A Minor) v. Director of Public Prosecutions, Absent legislative direction, the common law presumes that an accused's honest belief that negates the requisite mens rea of the crime is a valid defense.
M.C. v. Bulgaria
Essential element of the crime of rape is lack of consent.
People v. Hall
Ski accident, Whether a risk of death is substantial and unjustifiable must be determined based on the circumstances of each case.
Hines v. State
Felonies that create a foreseeable risk of death under the circumstances are inherently dangerous, justifying the felony-murder rule.
People v. Burton
The underlying felony sufficient to trigger the felony-murder rule must involve an independent felonious purpose, lesser included offense.
Atkins v. Virginia
The execution of a mentally retarded person is "cruel and unusual punishment" and therefore violates the Eighth Amendment.
United States v. McDermott
A conspiracy requires a unity of unlawful purpose between two or more individuals.
People v. Goetz
Self defense, The reasonableness of a belief in the need to use force is determined according to an objective standard, taking into account the circumstances or situation faced by the defendant.
Clark v. Arizona
Mens rae, under Arizona's Mott rule, a court will not allow evidence of a mental disorder short of insanity as bearing on a defendant's capacity to form specific intent.
Linda R. S. v. Richard D.
A plaintiff must have a sufficient stake in the outcome of a case to maintain standing.
Inmates of Attica Correctional Facility v. Rockefeller
Selective prosecution, courts are reluctant to interfere with prosecutorial discretion.
United States v. Armstrong
In selective-prosecution claims based on race, in order to obtain discovery, the claimant must produce preliminary evidence that similarly situated offenders of a different race could have been prosecuted but were not.
Brady v. United States
A guilty plea is not involuntary merely because it was entered into to avoid the possibility of the death penalty.
Bordenkircher v. Hayes
It is not a vindictive exercise of a prosecutor's discretion, and therefore not a violation of due process, to reindict a defendant on more serious charges if the defendant does not plead guilty to the original offense charged.
Williams v. New York
Pre-sentence investigation, imposition of death sentence for murder in the first degree is not void under the Due Process Clause solely because trial court, before imposing sentence, considered additional information from probation department.
United States v. Thompson
Downward departure, under federal sentencing guidelines, courts may order a downward departure from the sentencing guidelines based on extraordinary family circumstances.
Blakely v. Washington
Determinate sentence, indeterminate sentence, sentencing guidelines, imposition of a sentence outside the statutory range based on facts never admitted nor put before a jury deprives a criminal defendant of his Sixth Amendment rights.
Ewing v. California
Three strikes law, Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, deterrence, proportionality, recidivism, rehabilitation.
Uses or Carries Firearm in Drug Trafficing Crime
Muscarello v. United States; The word "carry," in ordinary sense includes carrying in car neither basic purpose nor legislative history 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) supports circumscribing scope word "carry" by applying "on the person" limitation; lenity.
Knowingly Commit Each Element of Offense
Flores-Figueroa v. United States; Courts ordinarily read a phrase in a criminal statute that introduces the elements of a crime with the word "knowingly" as applying that word to each element of the offense; identity theft.
But-For-Cause of Injury
People v. Rideout; For a defendant's conduct to constitute the proximate cause of an injury, the victim's injury must be a direct and natural result of the defendant's actions; but-for-cause.
Liability For Ownership of Vicious Dogs
People v. Knoller; Malice, to satisfy the elements of second-degree murder, requires a defendant's awareness of the risk of death to another; objective; subjective.
Felony in Felony Murder Must Not Be Integral Part Of The Homicide
People v. Smith; second-degree felony murder conviction cannot stand when in it is based on a felony that is an integral part of the homicide and the evidence produced by the prosecution shows it to be an offense included in fact within homicide.
Mayberry Instruction Must Have Evidence of Mistaken Belief
People v. Williams; trial court must give instruction on mistaken belief to consent to intercourse in rape case only when the defense is supported by substantial evidence sufficient to deserve consideration by jury.
Evidence of Intoxication Is Admissable Sometimes
United States v. Veach; Intoxication, whether voluntary or involuntary, may preclude the formation of specific intent and thus serve to negate the mens rea element of specific-intent crimes; field sobriety test.
Insanity May Be Proved By Perponderance Of The Evidence
Perez v. Cain; In a federal habeas proceeding, the standard is whether, after viewing evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Accomplice Liability Requires Act, Not Mere Presence
State v. V.T; Passive behavior, such as mere presence or even continuous presence, absent evidence that the defendant affirmatively did something to instigate, incite, embolden, or help others in committing a crime, is not accomplice liability.
Withdrawing From Consipiracy Requires Affirmative Act
State v. Formella; An individual is criminally liable for the conduct of another when he acts as an accomplice by promoting or facilitating, or by aiding, or agreeing or attempting to aid, another person in planning or committing the offense.
Involutarily Commit Sexual Predators
Kansas v. Hendricks; Where a civil commitment statute does not seek retribution or deterrence, it does not establish punitive criminal proceedings necessary to uphold double jeopardy and ex post facto claims.
Felony Murder Rule
People v. Cavitt; The felony-murder rule requires both a causal relationship and a temporal relationship between the underlying felony and the act resulting in death.
Honest Services Fraud
United States v. Rybicki; To establish honest services fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1346, the evidence must show (1) a scheme or artifice to defraud; (2) for depriving another ofhonest services...; bribery; conflict of interest; kickback; self-dealing behavior.
Perjury By Implication Not Allowed
Bronston v. United States; To support a perjury conviction, a witness must actually willfully state a material matter that he does not believe to be true.
Exculpatory-No Doctrine
Brogan v. United States; A "false statement" under 18 U.S.C. § 1001 includes any false statement knowingly and willfully made within the jurisdiction of a federal agency, encompassing even a mere false denial of criminal wrongdoing.
Obstruction Of Justice
United States v. Aguilar; utterance of false statement to investigating agent—who may or may not testify before a grand jury—does not constitute an endeavor to interfere with the due administration of justice; corruptly; obstruction of justice.
Attorneys Are Officers Of the Court
United States v. Cueto; Otherwise lawful conduct violates 18 U.S.C. § 1503 if employed with corrupt intent to interfere, obstruct, or impede the due administration of justice.
Document Destruction Policies Not Obstruction of Justice
Arthur Andersen LLP v. United States; One knowingly corruptly persuades another person with intent to cause that person to withhold documents from, or alter documents for use in, an official proceeding only when conscious of wrongdoing.
Factors Determining If In Possession of Drugs
Smith v. State; Several factors, no one of which is conclusive, determine if defendant was "in possession" of drugs: proximity, in plain view, indicia of mutual use and enjoyment, and ownership or possessory interest in location where discovered.
Mental Illness Evidence Does Not Bear On Mens Rea
Clark v. Arizona; The defendant appealed from his murder conviction, arguing that evidence of his mental illness should have been considered with regard to his ability to form the necessary mens rea.
Discipline or Child Abuse
Willis v. State; parent has fundamental right to direct his or her child's upbringing, which includes the right to use reasonable or moderate physical force to control the child's behavior.
Taylor Overruled
People v. Superior Court; doctrine of "nonmutual collateral estoppe" should not be applied in criminal cases.
Failure to Alleviate Risk
Commonwealth v. Levesque; criminal liability is possible for failure to alleviate risk that the defendant created.
Juvenile Rehabilitation
Graham v. Florida; convicted juveniles must be give a reasonable chance at rehabilitation.
Breach of Duty
Jones v. United States; must establish a duty before breach of duty can support a criminal conviction.
Viability Standard for Fetus
Keeler v. Superior Court; viability of the embryo was not the standard for human being in California in the 1970's.
Death Penalty for Child Rape
Kennedy v. Louisiana; court says child rape not heinous enough for the death penalty; disproportionate.
Attempted Murder
People v. Stone; an attempt to kill anyone is an attempted murder.
Question of Possession
State v. Barger; new technology complicates questions of possession sufficient to establish criminal liability.
Withdrawing From Complicity Requires Affirmative Act
State v. Formella; withrawal from consipiracy requires an affirmative act and communication to the other consipirators is helpful.
Signing With A Fictitious Name
United States v. Moore; signing for an express mail delivery with a fictitious name violates federal law.
Good Faith Mistake of Fact
Commonwealth v. Sherry; wheter a reasonable good-faith mistake of fact as to consent is a defense to the crime of rape;
Reasonable Man Test
Director of Public Prosecutions v. Camplin; the reasonable man standard is a person having the power of self-control to be expected of an ordinary person of the same sex and age as the accused.
Unjustified Risk Taking
People v. Moore; defendant's driving created a sufficiently high probability of death for a second-degree murder conviction; the defendant was subjectively aware of the risk from prior DWI (driving while intoxicated).
Continuous Conspiracy
Pinkerton v. United States; When there is a continuous conspiracy, and no evidence of affirmative action to establish withdrawal, as long as the partnership in crime continues, the partners act for each other.
Defense of Habitation
State v. Boyett; entry to home not required for defense of habitation, but habitation defense not applicable if victim was fleeing.
Substantial Factor Test
Valazquez v. State; but-for test and substantial factor test to determine liability as cause in fact; must also be the proximate cause or no liability.
Accomplice Liability
Commonwealth v. Roebuck; An accomplice is accountable for contributing to criminal conduct to the degree his culpability equals what is required to support liability of a principal actor.
Second Degree Murder
People v. Chun; felony murder; assualtive felony that is inherently dangerous to life; second degree murder; felony murder rule; drive by shooting; accomplice liability.
Honest Services Fraud Doctrine
Skilling v. United States; bribery and kickbacks are honest services fraud, but conflict of interest is not.
Probation for Corporate Defendants
United States v. Guidant; A term of probation is appropriate for corporate defendants to hold them accountable and serve the public interests.
Presumptive Sentence
United States v. Deegan; A sentence within the guidelines range is accorded a presumption of reasonableness.
Sentencing Guideline Range
United States v. Bernard Madoff; While the court must give the sentencing guideline range fair and respectful consideration, it is not bound by it and must make an individualized sentencing assessment.