Law School Resources

Case Briefs, Hypos, Class Notes, Outlines, & Analysis

Law School Resources

Criminal Law

I. Jurisdiction

A. A state acquires jurisdiction to try a crime if that state is the situs of the crime.  The situs means

1. the conduct happened in the state

2. the result occurred in the state.

B. Crimes of omission: jurisdiction is where the act should have been performed.

II. Merger

A. Generally, there is no merger of law.

B. Exception: solicitation and attempt merge into the substantive offense.  The ironic but complete defense to attempting a crime is completing it.

C. Conspiracy does NOT mercy with the substantive offense.  You can be convicted of conspiring to do something and with doing it.

III. Elements of Crime

A. Requirements

1. Act or Omission

a) Act – any bodily movement.  Watch for those that do not qualify for criminal liability:

(1) Conduct that is not the product of your own volition.  Ex: someone pushes you.

(2) A reflexive or convulsive act. Ex: epileptic seizure. –OR-

(3) An act performed while you are unconscious or asleep.  Ex: sleep walking.  Falling asleep at the wheel does not fall under this exception.

b) Omission – There is no legal duty to rescue, but there is a legal duty to act in 5 situations:

(1) By statute, e.g., filing taxes

(2) By k, e.g., nurse or lifeguard

(3) B/c of the relationship b/w the parties, e.g., parent/child, spouses

(4) *B/c of your voluntarily assuming a duty of care toward someone else, then failing to perform it.  Ex: start saving someone who is drowning.  You have a duty to finish the attempt.

(5) Legal duty to act where your conduct created the peril, e.g., you push someone in a pool.

2. Mental State [usually 10 questions]

a) Common Law: 4 mental states

(1)   Specific intent – qualifies for additional defenses not available for other kinds of crime (memorize these, below)

(2) Malice - there are only two malice crimes:

(a) Murder

(b) Arson

(3) General intent – catch-all category.  Virtually every crime in the AL Code.  E.g., rape, battery.

(4) Strict liability – the “no intent” crimes.  Any defense that negates intention cannot be a defense to a no intent crime.

b) The Specific Intent Crimes (11)

(1) The 3 incohate crimes

(a) Solicitation

(b) Conspiracy

(c) Attempt

(2) 1st degree murder

(a) If just “murder” on the exam, they are referring to CL murder, or murder in the 2d degree.  This is a malice crime, not a specific intent crime.

(b) If you see “1st degree murder”, it is a specific intent crime and you should use the additional specific intent defenses to reduce this specific intent crime to a malice crime of murder.

(3) Assault (see more below)

(4) All CL felonies against property

(a) Larceny

(b) Embezzlement

(c) False pretenses

(d) Robbery

(e) Burglary

(f) Forgery

c) The Malice Crimes (2)

(1) Murder

(2) Arson

d) General Intent Crimes – all other crimes not so far mentioned are general intent crimes (unless they qualify for the strict liability formula, below).

(1) *Transferred intent – X intended to shoot A, but he missed and hit B.  The intent to kill A is transferred to govern the death of B.  Guilty of murdering B. 

(a) There are 2 crimes that fit here, attempted murder and murder.  Why don’t these merge?  Never merge crimes that have different victims. ...more