Elements of Crime and Justifications

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Elements of Crime and Justifications for it.

Elements of Crime and Justifications for it.

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  • 1. Elements of Crime and Justifications notes (2/17) *Also see pages 102-113 of your textbook
  • 2. Elements of a Crime
    • A. There are 2 essential elements required for criminal 
    •      liability:
    •      1. Actus Reus (Criminal Act)
    •      2. Mens Rea (Guilty Mind or Criminal Intent)
    •          a. Purpose
    •          b. Knowledge
    •          c. Negligence
    •          d. Recklessness
    • B. Exceptions: "Strict Liability Laws"--can be guilty w/o mens rea. Usually involve endangering the public in some way.
  • 3. Defenses to Crime
    • A. Excusable
    •      1. Insanity
    •            M'Naughton Rule (applies in MN)--a person is 
    •            legally insane and not criminally responsible if they 
    •            a) didn't know what they were doing or b) they 
    •            were unable to distinguish right from wrong.
    •      2. Involuntary Intoxication --often involves side 
    •          effects. (Voluntary Intoxication is less common and 
    •          12 states have eliminated it.)
    •      3. Mistake of fact --e.g. accidentally walk off with 
    •          someone else's property.  (Mistake of law is 
    •          usually not valid; "Ignorance of law is no excuse.")
  • 4. Defenses to crime (cont.)
    • B. Justifiable
    •      1. Duress --when wrongful, serious threat causes a 
    •        person to perform an act they would otherwise not 
    •        perform 
    •              a. threat is immediate and inescapable
    •              b. must not be involved through one's own fault
    •      2. Self-defense --when a person believes they are in 
    •          danger of being harmed (or their dwelling or other 
    •          property) they are justified in defending themselves.
    •              a. deadly force can only be used if person thinks 
    •                  that imminent death or serious bodily harm will 
    •                  otherwise result. 
    •     
  • 5. Defenses cont.
    • 3.  Entrapment --when police or other officials talk a 
    •          person into committing an illegal act that they are 
    •          not otherwise predisposed to commit.