CRM/LAW C144 Lecture 5: Actus Rea and Mens Rea (04/18/17)

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Criminology, Law and Society

LECTURE 5 Tuesday, April 18, 2017 Actus Rea Actus reus must be a voluntary act o There are limitations, due to defect of the mind o An exception is like Decinus if you are aware and you place yourself in a situation that may have consequences, you still have actus reus Pope v. State Clearly a moral duty, but is there a legal liability? The defendant took in Melissa Norris, a mother suffering from mental illness and her threemonthold child, Demiko Lee Norris. o Mother maliciously beats her child and defendant Pope does nothing. Infant dies from the beating. Failing to report a crime The Court says she has no legal obligation o No duty, no criminal liability Jones v. United States Involuntary manslaughter of friends 10monthold baby where he failed to take care of the child and such failure resulted in the childs death Instruction to the jury: find beyond a reasonable doubt that he had a legal duty to act o Court of Appeals says four situations in which there is a duty to act: (1) the state imposes (e.g.) taxes (2) certain relationships (e.g.) in the Jones case, if this had been the parent that allowed the child to die as a result of neglect, there would be legal liability husbandwife, parentchild (3) the defendant has assumed the duty stopped other people from acting (4) if there is a duty by contract Its not clear if any of these conditions are met, beyond a reasonable doubt o Generally, you dont want to punish people for not doing anything Anglolegal history when crime is felony and felony is deathsentence (5) you create by your own act some peril Therefore youre obligated to act Yet after a coolingoff period, no longer obligated to act People v. Beardsley Duty to act? Beardsley, who was married, apparently was having an affair with Blanche Burns
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