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Criminal Law Outline - Professor Ghiotto - Campbell Law - Part 4

By Miller Moreau
Professor Ghiotto - 2019

Download the PDF version of this outline

<< Part 3

Pinkerton Rule
  • The United States Supreme Court held that a conspirator is liable for what others in a conspiracy do, so long as two criteria are satisfied: (1) that the criminal act was reasonably foreseeable and, (2) that the act was committed in furtherance of the conspiracy
  • Expands the scope of liability and holds conspirators liable for a crime they did not commit
  • Co-conspirators lack both mens rea and actus reus
  • If separate crime committed by one member of the conspiracy, and that crime was not reasonably foreseeable/in furtherance of the conspiracy by the other members of the conspiracy, the other members will not be liable for that crime
  • Have to establish that there is a conspiracy
    • Need to look at each crime those members of the conspiracy committed to see if all members should be held liable for those crimes
  • To withdraw from conspiracy, it often requires an affirmative act rather than simply backing away
  • Must confess to authorities or “communicate to each his conspirators that he has abandoned the conspiracy and its goals.”
  • This makes withdrawal a difficult defense in conspiracy cases
  • Creates incentive and reward for withdrawing
  • Cant leave open the possibility of returning to an overall broad agreement
Agreeement=Conspiracy; No Agreement=Accessory Liability Agreeement = Conspiracy

*Can't Be Charged With This If Only Role Was After

Aiding and Abetting
  • Helping someone else commit a crime or evade responsibility for a crime
  • Someone who “aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures” a crime
  • Accomplice faces the same sentences as principles (those who directly cause the crime to be completed)
  • Aiding and abetting does NOT require proof of agreement
  • The actions of the aider and abettor become those of a principal violation
  • Held guilty of the substantive offense (ex. bank robbery)
    • Same punishment
  • Giving legal advice or encouraging a crime
  • Actus Reus=encouraging, aiding, abetting
  • Mens Rea=Intent for other to commit a crime (bank robbery, etc)
  • (Ex. If actor commits murder during robbery, the aider/abettor will not be guilty of murder, only the bank robbery)
  • Requires: 1. Providing Assistance; and 2. Intending for them to commit the crime
  • Agreement=Conspiracy; No Agreement=Accessory Liability

United States v. Simpson: One who aids and abets the commission of a crime is punishable as a principal in that commission.

Accessory After the Fact
  • Allows for one-half the criminal liability of a principal for anyone who “knowing that an offense against the United States has been committed, receives, relieves, comforts, or assists the offender in order to hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial, or punishment
    *Knowledge that an offense has already been committed by the principle
  • A conviction for being an accessory after the fact requires proof that the defendant, knowing that another person has committed a crime, assists that person in evading arrest, trial, or punishment.
  • Defendant must have knowledge that the victim was dead or dying at the time of his decision to act as an accessory after the fact to murder
  • Mens rea-has to be known to the defendant that the offense has been committed. The offense that the principle has been charged with

United States v. Calderon: A conviction for being an accessory after the fact requires proof that the defendant, knowing that another person has committed a crime, assists that person in evading arrest, trial, or punishment.

  • Calderon knew of the drug deals but it could not be shown that she knew that the victim was dead or dying at the time of her decision to act as an accessory after the fact to murder
Types of Defenses
  • Negation Defense
    • Mistake of Fact
      • Negates the mens rea… “Well I didn’t know…”
    • Voluntary Manslaughter
      • Negates the malice in murder
  • Mitigating
    • Lowers offense by attacking the level of the mens rea
    • “Mitigate down from 2nd Degree Murder to Voluntary Manslaughter by invoking heat of passion”
  • Failure of Proof
    • Government didn’t present proof of…(ex. Jurisdiction)
  • Affirmative Defense
    • All elements of the crime are proven and/or admitted
    • But I did this because…
    • Has elements that defense must prove
  • Justification for many shootings by both civilians and police
  • Requires courts to answer: How serious was the threat? Was a lethal response necessary? Were there other options for safety?
  • Self-defense can be countered if the prosecution can show either that the defendant was the aggregator or had the reasonable ability to retreat from the situation without resorting to lethal force
  • Some jurisdictions bar or limit the use of self-defense if the defendant had the reasonable ability to retreat to safety rather than use lethal force
  • The “Castle Doctrine” allows the use of lethal force within one’s home without the duty to retreat
    • Some jurisdictions have extended this to allow for the use of lethal force within the home to prevent a felony even if there is no threat to the inhabitants
    • The Castle Doctrine, which provides that a person may stand his ground if he is attacked in his home or its curtilage, does not apply if the person was the initial aggressor (can’t be your own doing)
  • The “Stand Your Ground” law allows for the use of lethal force outside of the home without a duty to retreat to safety
  • If statute silent, the burden is on the government to prove this
  • STATE STATUTES= “Stand Your Ground”
  • Elements for Self-Defense:
    • Must be a threat, actual or apparent (ex. water bottle threat won’t count)
    • Of the use of deadly force against the defendant
    • The threat was unlawful and immediate
    • Defendant must believe that he was in imminent peril or serious bodily injury (subjective)
    • Response was necessary to save himself therefrom
    • These beliefs must not only have been honestly entertained; but
    • Also, has to be objectively reasonable in light of surrounding circumstances
  • Rule for Aggressor: The affirmative defense of self-defense may be unavailable to a defendant who initially provoked his victim's use of force. Self-defense justifies the defendant's conduct, or the conduct of others who go to his aid, only if the victim responded to the defendant's provocation with such force that the defendant reasonably believed himself to be in danger of death or great bodily harm, and then only if the defendant exhausted every reasonable means to escape the danger before turning to the use of deadly force.
  • This defense rests on the assertion that one was forced to commit a criminal act by another through threat of death or injury.
  • The defendant bears the burden of proving duress.
  • This is an affirmative defense…”I did it but I was forced to”
  • Duress goes to whether an action was voluntary or not
  • Often requires the defendant to bring in significant evidence
  • In common law, Defendant bears the burden of production and burned on persuasion
  • Burden of production-Enough evidence for the jury to consider the possibility of duress
  • Burden of persuasion-After defendant meets the burden of production, he or she will need to persuade the jury that there is actually duress
  • Duress will excuse criminal conduct only if:
    1. a threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury led the defendant to commit the crime,
    2. the defendant had no reasonable, legal alternative to breaking the law, and
    3. the defendant was not responsible for creating the threat
  • If the statute is silent, then we are in common law. In common law, the defendant bears the burden of production and persuasion

Dixon v. United States: Under federal law, the defendant bears the burden of proving duress

  • The defense of necessity is aimed at whether the action is wrong in the first place
  • This defense is available where a defendant can make a strong case that she avoided a greater evil by committing the crime she is charged with
  • Affirmative defense that must be proved by a preponderance of the evidence by the defendant
  • Often requires the defendant to bring in significant evidence and prove that he had no alternative to violating the law
  • This defense is limited to rare situations
  • The defendant must establish that:
    1. either he or a third party was under threat of imminent danger that reasonably induced apprehension of death or serious injury;
    2. he had not recklessly or negligently placed himself in a situation in which he would likely have to act criminally;
    3. he had no reasonable alternative to the illegal conduct;
    4. there was a reasonable and direct causal relationship between the criminal conduct and avoidance of the harm; and
    5. he ceased the criminal action as soon as possible.

United States v. Ridner: A defendant is not entitled to present a necessity defense if he engaged in the alleged criminal conduct for longer than necessary to avoid the threatened harm.

Competence and Insanity
  • Competence is the ability of a defendant to understand the legal process and work with an attorney, and is determined by a judge
    • If the defendant is found NOT legally competent, the legal proceeding cannot proceed
    • Competence has to do with the defendant’s mental health or ability at the time of the court appearance
    • Not an affirmative defense
    • Either party can move for this
    • You can be sane at the time of crime
  • Insanity has to do with the defendant’s mental health at the time of the crime, and is determined by the jury
    • Affirmative defense that usually serves to negate the defendant’s guilty state of mind
    • Requires the defendant to be deemed competent at the time of trial
    • Defendant bears the burden of proof; clear and convincing evidence
    • Can negate specific intent
    • Elements:
      1. At the time
      2. As a result of a severe mental disease; and
      3. Defendant was unable to appreciate the nature and quality

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