Quiz 4: The General Principles of Criminal Liability:mens Rea, Concurrence,and Causation
Brief summary of the case: Mr.H, the defendant and appellant lives in Country M.The police arrested Mr.H for carjacking.The defense attorney defended saying that Mr.H was under intoxication during the crime.The trial court held that there was a general intent in carjacking.Therefore, trial court did not consider the defense of intoxication and convicted Mr.H for carjacking. Mr.H appealed against the judgment in the court of appeals.The court of appeals stated that carjacking requires a general intent and not a specific intent.The defense of intoxication is invalid in a general intent crime and is enforceable only for a specific intent crime.The appeals court upheld decision of trial court and case was closed. 1) General intent: General intent is the mere intention to perform a criminal act.It does not have a specific intention to hurt someone in particular.The court defines general intent as 'mens rea', which means the intention to commit a particular crime.In 'general intent' crimes, the prosecutor need not prove the intention to cause a specific outcome because of the criminal act.It is sufficient, if the prosecutor proves the intention of crime. For example, carjacking is a general intent crime because it does not deprive the owner of his car's possession permanently.Breaking a glass window and entering into someone's house in not a specific intent crime because it does not intend to steal and deprive the owner of his belongings. 2) Specific intent: It refers to the intention to commit a particular crime along with a desired result.Specific intent includes the general intent as well as the specific intention to hurt someone in particular.It is a combination of 'mens rea' and actus reus'.The prosecutor should prove the intention to commit a crime as well as the expectation of a desired result because of the criminal act. For example, burglary is a specific intent crime because it permanently deprives the owner, of his belongings. 3) Country M's statute for carjacking is a general intent crime: Country M differentiates between specific intent crimes and general intent crimes.The statute of Country M states that carjacking is the act of possessing an unauthorized car without a permanent deprivation.Further, the statute does not state the need of a specific intention for carjacking.Therefore, the court of appeals held that carjacking was a general intent crime. 4) Clarity in legislature's intention, to treat carjacking as a general intent crime: The legislature clearly explains the aspects that make carjacking a general intent crime.The motive of carjacker is to threaten and take possession of the car.He or she does not intend to steal the car and permanently deprive the owner's ownership.Therefore, it does not develop a specific intention to deprive.The offender intends only to commit the act. Hence, carjacking is a general intent crime because the offender intends only to commit a particular act. 5) Determine whether it is better to consider carjacking as a general intent crime or a specific intent crime: It is better to treat carjacking as a general intent crime because general intent crimes do not entertain defense of intoxication or mental imbalance.The criminals will escape easily, if carjacking is a specific intent crime.It is because the offenders can prove their inability to perform the act because of intoxication or mental imbalance. The law should punish the act of threatening or forceful possession.Therefore, the court should punish the intention of carjacking. Conclusion: In general intent crimes, the court does not consider the defense of intoxication or mental imbalance.The statutes of Country M differentiate between general intent crimes and specific intent crimes to punish the offenders.Therefore, the court did not honor the defense of Mr.H because carjacking was a general intent crime.
Brief summary of the case: Mr.CS, the appellant lives in State W.The blood reports of Mr.CS confirmed that he was suffering from human immunodeficiency syndrome.The health department held the counseling from June 30 to October 3, 1989.The health department counseled Mr.CS about the disease and warned him about the risk of spreading the human immunodeficiency virus. The officer of health department sued Mr.CS for ignoring the counseling and involving in unprotected sex.There are three victims of Mr.CS misconduct.They are as follows: • Mr.CS engaged in sex with the first victim on October 27 and October 28, 1989. • Mr.CS engaged in sex with the second victim for about six times between October 1989 and February 1990. • Mr.CS had sexual intercourse continuously with the third victim, in the month of August 1989. The judgment of the court: The trial court held that Mr.CS was guilty of second-degree assault.It also stated that the conduct of Mr.CS was dangerous to the community.Therefore, the court sentenced more than 200 months of imprisonment.Mr.CS appealed and the court of appeals upheld the judgment of the trial court. Model penal code: The model penal code includes the terms that resolve the ambiguity in determining the mental state of the criminal, while committing a particular crime.It defines the following four terms: • Purposely: The criminal's act is 'purposeful' when he or she intends to cause a desired result because of the crime.It means that the criminal must have acted consciously to commit a crime. • Knowingly: The criminal acts knowingly being aware of their own criminal results of their act. • Recklessly: The criminal acts recklessly being aware that their act causes criminal results. • Negligently: A criminal's act is negligent when he or she is not aware that his or her conduct will create a risky situation.Criminals are negligent when they are not aware of what they should know. 1) The following are the facts that help in determining Mr.CS mental attitude: • The doctors had told Mr.CS about the seriousness of infection.Despite of the warning, Mr.CS did not follow the doctor's advice. • Mr.CS did not inform the victims about his infection before the sexual intercourse.He did not use condom. • Mr.CS confessed to his neighbor that he did not care about others. • Mr.CS was worried that the victim would refuse to have sex, if he confessed about the infection. 2) Explanation of Mr.CS criminal behavior based on 'specific intent' and 'model penal code': • Mr.CS was conscious that his misconduct would cause harm to the victim.In spite of his knowledge about the consequences, he held sexual intercourse with three victims.Thus, he had a specific intent to cause harm. • Mr.CS purposely committed the act because he was conscious about his misconduct and the dreadful consequences. • Mr.CS was aware that his sexual relationship would have specific results.He knew that he would transmit the disease, if he had sexual intercourse.Hence, he knowingly committed the act. • The law of State W states that transmitting human immunodeficiency virus is an assault.Thus, Mr.CS was reckless because his act caused a criminal result. • Mr.CS, being a citizen of State W, had the responsibility to know the criminal law of his land.He was not aware that his unprotected sexual intercourse was a criminal act.Therefore, he was negligent and was not aware of the facts he should know. 3) Importance of 'motive' in Mr.CS case: The motive of Mr.CS is important to judge the case.The health officer counseled Mr.CS about the consequences of human immunodeficiency virus and the risk of spreading the virus.Mr.CS disregarded the advice and involved in sexual act.Sexual intercourse was not an accident and Mr.CS was conscious of his conduct.Therefore, the court should punish his motive. Conclusion: Mr.CS attitude made him engage in sexual intercourse.He did not care about others and was busy in satisfying his own needs.He was of the opinion that everyone should die, if he was about to die.Mr.CS attitude was dangerous to the society.Therefore, the court should punish Mr.CS motive.
Brief summary of the case: Mr.R and Mrs.D are married.They were not living together.Mr.PJ, the defendant is a friend of Mrs.D.Mrs.D and Mr.PJ along with their other friends went to meet Mr.R at his residence.There was a conversation between Mr.R and Mrs.D in the house.Mr.PJ waited outside the house.Mr.PJ was letting the air out of the tires with his knife from Mr.R's van.Mr.R ran out of his house and chased Mr.PJ. Mr.PJ ran away holding the knife firmly in his hands.He jumped into the bushes.Mr.R found Mr.PJ and jumped over him.As Mr.PJ was still holding the knife, it wounded Mr.R in the abdomen.The court convicted Mr.PJ of second-degree assault.Mr.PJ appealed and court of appeals modified the sentence, convicted Mr.PJ under third-degree assault. 1) The following are the facts that help in determining Mr.PJ's state of mind: • Mr.PJ was using a sharp edged knife.He was aware of the consequences of holding a knife. • Mr.PJ's grip was very firm on the knife. • He did not throw away the knife while running. 2) State O's statute that explains the mental element for assault is as follows: In State O, the following terms explain the mental element for assault. • Purposely: The criminal's act is 'purposeful' when he or she intends to cause a desired result because of the crime.It means that the criminal must have acted consciously to commit a crime. • Knowingly: The criminal acts knowingly when he or she is aware of his or her conduct causing specific result. • Recklessly: The criminal acts recklessly when he or she is aware his or her conduct causing specific criminal result. • Negligently: Criminal's act is negligent when he or she is not aware that his or her conduct will create a risky situation.Criminals are negligent when they are not aware of what they should know. 3) Reason for the modification in the term "knowingly" by State O: The term "knowingly" states that the criminal is aware of the result of his or her act.State O modified the term "knowingly" because awareness can avoid risk.It states that when a person is aware of the consequences, then he can avoid substantial risk.In Mr.PJ's case, Mr.PJ was aware of the risk and it was possible for him to avoid it.Therefore, State O modified the term "knowingly". 4) Mr.X's opinion on Mr.PJ's crime: Mr.PJ did not intentionally assault Mr.R.However, he knew that his knife would lead to undesirable consequences.Mr.PJ did not kill Mr.R knowingly, but he could avoid this undesirable situation by throwing away his knife.Therefore, the court convicted Mr.PJ for not avoiding the risk. Conclusion: In Mr.PJ's case, court modified the meaning of the term "knowingly".It held that the offender who is aware of the result of his criminal act should avoid the undesirable consequences.Mr.PJ knew the substantial risk of holding a knife.He did not avoid the risk of killing.Therefore, the court convicted Mr.PJ for third-degree assault.