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Author Topic: Criminal Law: True or False  (Read 899 times)

Jumboshrimps

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Criminal Law: True or False
« on: November 28, 2005, 07:53:30 PM »
True or false:

Under the Model Penal Code, if a killing occurs at a drug store being robbed by Defendant, who holds a loaded gun, there is a permissive inference that Defendant is acting recklessly with extreme diregard for the value of human life.

Leaf2001br

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Re: Criminal Law: True or False
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2005, 08:41:16 PM »
True.

Because any gun situation in a felony like that is dangerous.  An intervening party, police or otherwise could create a dangerous situation.  It would be life threatening to police, bystanders and last but not least (ok maybe least) the robber himself.  This is all without even considering that the robber may decide to fire the gun himself if the thing goes bad even though he may have wanted to avoid using it. See Menace II Society, (Calif. 1994).

Just my hunch without looking at the MPC.
"What is Legal?  What is Illegal?  What is 'Barely Legal'?"  - Ali G

Jumboshrimps

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Re: Criminal Law: True or False
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2005, 08:59:59 PM »
But recklessness with disregard for human life means murder. Are we prepares to convict Defendant of Murder for simply holding a gun?

celarkobri

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Re: Criminal Law: True or False
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2005, 09:16:10 PM »
Was defendant the one who killed the victim? If so, then extreme indifference is presumed under MPC sec. 210.2(b) when the actor is engaged in the robbery.

But the way you word it makes me think that he was an actor in the robbery, but not in the killing. Then, without going through my notes, doesn't it make a difference who shot the victim and whether the victim was one of the robbers?

Jumboshrimps

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Re: Criminal Law: True or False
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2005, 09:22:06 PM »
Let's say a customer is trampled to death when a bunch of people run out the back door in fear of Defendant's gun.

laurenh2004

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Re: Criminal Law: True or False
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2005, 09:43:18 PM »
True, a killing that occurs during a robbery falls under the MPC's substitution for the felony murder rule.  Robbery is one of the listed felonies.  Doesn't matter if the defendant actually shot the person or not.

celarkobri

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Re: Criminal Law: True or False
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2005, 09:43:32 PM »
Okay. I'm looking at People v. Stamp: "as long as the homicide is the direct causal result of the robbery the felony-murder rules applies... ." So if you can show that but for the D's armed robbery, the customer would not have died AND that people running amok is a proximate and forseeable consequence of carrying a gun into a store, then under that reasoning, I think it's still felony murder.

However, I'm also looking at State v. Canola which refused to extend liability beyond acts by the felon and his accomplices, to lethal acts of third persons not in furtherance of the felony. So under that ruling, you could make a strong argument that he can't be held liable since the killing was at the hands (feet) of a third party. I think that used to be the majority rule, but maybe not anymore.

Jumboshrimps

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Re: Criminal Law: True or False
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2005, 09:57:26 PM »
Yes, we still would have the causation issues.

But first, let's get the mens rea issues sorted out. MPC creates permissive inference of recklessness with extreme disregard for the value of human life (Jury can reject the inference or convict of murder).
 
Under the common law, what mens rea must Defendant have as to the death of the trampled customer under felony murder doctrine?

(It looks like the Canola court would't extend liability even if Defendant intended for victim to be trampled to death?)

Leaf2001br

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Re: Criminal Law: True or False
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2005, 09:58:30 PM »
Again, not looking at the MPC, but I don't think that's right, celar.  I think your first case was closer.  I'm pretty sure that if a bystander gets killed by an inervening police officer, the legal causation falls on the robber.  Though the police officer was indeed a 3rd person not acting in furtherance of the felony.  I think I can find some authority for this if you demand it or ask really nicely. 

Guess I agree that it might be a little trickier if the 3rd person is not a police officer though.  Clearly the police officer has a duty to intervene to some extent.  If the old man behind the counter whips out the shotguns and starts blasting, that's another story.  His response may not be a reasonable one.  But if the robber points the gun at a kid and an old lady tries to valiantly hurl a car battery at him....which hits someone else and kills them... I still think the robber is the lucky winner of the legal causation sweepstakes.
"What is Legal?  What is Illegal?  What is 'Barely Legal'?"  - Ali G

lipper

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Re: Criminal Law: True or False
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2005, 10:20:15 PM »
dont get bogged down with all the mumbo jumbo language in the MPC. Recklessly is when the dude perceives the risk and does whatever anyway. Is it a permissive inference? hell yeah, who in their right mind holds a loaded gun in a store?
check the footnotes ya'll