Sociology: Criminal Law and Particular Objective Element Essay

Submitted By nanaiiddp
Words: 1221
Pages: 5

The Model Penal Code adopts a four-tier formula hierarchy of mental states:
1. purpose,
2. knowledge,
3. recklessness, or
4. negligence.
A crime may require one of these states of mind with respect to a particular objective element (conduct, circumstance, or result). If no culpability is specifically required in the definition of the crime, Model Penal Code § 2.02(3) specifies that "recklessness" is the minimum required culpability. Proof of a higher level of culpability is sufficient for an element that requires a lower culpability because the scheme is hierarchical.

Common Law Homicide:
1. Causing the death,
2. Of a living human being,
3. Where death occurs within a year and a day.
Common law homicide was divided into murder, voluntary manslaughter, and involuntary manslaughter (it did not separate murder into degrees, as modern statutes do).
NOTE: In most states, there is no statute of limitations applicable to homicide.

There are three kinds of common law homicide:
Murder (unlawful killing with malice aforethought), voluntary manslaughter (same as murder but also requires adequate provocation), and involuntary manslaughter (two types: criminal negligence manslaughter, and unlawful act (or misdemeanor) manslaughter).
COMPARE: It's modern states that impose different degrees of murder. Typically, felony murder and premeditated and deliberated murder are considered more serious, "first degree" murders; all others, second degree.

MPC Murder:
The Model Penal Code lists aggravating factors and mitigating factors, to take into account for the purpose of sentencing. The MPC has two classifications of murder: One, purposeful or knowing killing; and two, conduct reckless "under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life."
RATIONALE: The premeditation of a murder should not in itself demand the severest punishment, e.g., a mercy killing, which can reflect "extraordinary circumstances" more so than defendant's character; and some non-premeditated killings are so depraved as to merit severe punishment.

Common Law Murder v. Voluntary Manslaughter:
In essence, manslaughter is murder except it's committed under adequate provocation (e.g., heat of passion). Murder requires unlawful killing with "malice aforethought" (i.e., intent to kill, knowledge of death or unreasonably high risk of injury will result / “depraved heart”, or intent to commit a felony).
*Murder requires an unlawful killing with malice aforethought. Voluntary manslaughter requires a killing committed under adequate provocation. At common law, adequate provocation required:
1. ADEQUATE PROVOCATION: The provocation is judged objectively - i.e., it would arouse sudden and intense passion in the mind of an average person, thus making him lose self-control;
2. HEAT OF PASSION: The provocation must be judged subjectively; the defendant must actually be provoked; and
3. NO TIME TO "COOL OFF": The killing occurred in a "heat of passion," i.e., the killer must not have had time to "cool off." Thus is judged objectively.

Common Law Rape:
1. Unlawful intercourse (penetration is all that's required, not completion of the act),
2. With one other than one's wife,
3. Without the victim's consent.
NOTE: Where consent is obtained through fraud, you must distinguish between fraud as to the nature of the act itself, or fraud in the inducement. If the wrongdoer convinces a woman what he's doing is not sexual intercourse, the consent is invalid. If he fraudulently induces her to have sex with him, as by convincing her they're really married, the consent will nonetheless be considered valid.
COMPARE: Statutory rape, which involves intercourse with a girl under the "age of consent" (in most states, 16 or 18 years of age). Consent is no defense to statutory rape, since a girl underage is considered legally incapable of consenting. Also, mistake as to the girl's age, even if reasonable, is no defense.