Brianna, a housekeeper, dreams of killing her elderly client Phoebe and stealing all her jewelry. Brianna writes her thoughts in a journal and documents how she intends to manipulate the gas pipe so that gas is pumped into the house overnight while Phoebe sleeps. Brianna records the date she wants to kill Phoebe in her last diary entry. When Brianna leaves Phoebe`s house, her diary accidentally falls out of her purse. Later, Phoebe finds the newspaper on the floor and reads it. Phoebe calls the police, gives them Brianna`s diary and insists that they arrest Brianna for attempted murder. While Brianna`s murder plot is sinister and documented in her diary, an arrest in this case is inappropriate. Brianna cannot be punished for her thoughts alone. If Brianna took significant steps to kill Phoebe, a charge of attempted murder might be appropriate. At this point, however, Brianna is only planning a crime, not a crime. Phoebe may be able to go to court and obtain an injunction against Brianna to prevent her from carrying out her murder plot, but Brianna cannot be neutralized by arrest and prosecution for attempted murder. Offences involving strict liability do not require an element of intent and are generally malum prohibitum with a less severe penalty.
Transferred intent is a legal fiction that transfers criminal intent from a defendant to an unintentional victim in the interest of fairness. Depending on the intent transferred, depending on the circumstances, the accused may be responsible for two crimes: attempted and accomplished. The liability of enforcement agents transfers criminal liability from one defendant to another defendant because of a special relationship. Corporate liability is a type of vicarious liability that holds a company accountable for crimes other than its owners, agents and employees. Competition is also a criminal element, which presupposes that the criminal act and the criminal intent are present at the same time. Some states either have a one-year, one-day rule that the victim must die within a year and one day after the defendant`s crime, or the defendant will not be the legal cause of death. or a rule of three years and day, the victim must die within three years and one day after the defendant`s offense, otherwise the defendant will not be the legal cause of death. S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-2910, accessed 15. February 2011, www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t56c005.htm.
These rules create a timeline for the victim`s death, which changes the causal analysis in a criminal murder case. Under the rules of one or three years and one day, the victim of criminal homicide must die within the time limits set for the accused to be criminally responsible. If the victim does not die in time, the accused may be charged with attempted murder rather than criminal homicide. California makes the Schedule a rebuttable presumption that can be overridden by evidence that the conduct was criminal and that the defendant should still be convicted.Cal. Penal Code § 194, accessed February 14, 2011, codes.lp.findlaw.com/cacode/PEN/3/1/8/1/s194. Although the terms mens rea and scientific are sometimes used interchangeably, many jurisdictions define science as knowing that an act is illegal. The scientist may be the basis of a certain intention in some laws. For example, a law that criminalizes “intentionally filing a false tax return” may require knowledge that the tax return contains false information and that it is illegal to file it. Pompanio, 429 U.S.
10 (1976), accessed October 28, 2010, supreme.justia.com/us/429/10/case.html. If the prosecution does not prove beyond a doubt that the defendant knew his conduct was unlawful, this could nullify the perpetrator, and the prosecution cannot prove any specific intent. For an act to be criminal, it must be voluntary – the accused must control the act. If a defendant acts reflexively, he or she does not satisfy the requirement of voluntariness. For example, if someone is planning to rob a bank, they have not yet committed a crime (since no action has been taken). However, if they went to the bank with a gun and asked the teller for money, it would be actus reus, and they could be charged with theft. An element is an essential requirement for asserting a claim or defense in court, as in the elements of a civil or criminal action. The criterion of legal causation is objective foreseeability. California Criminal Jury Instructions No. 520, accessed February 14, 2011, www.justia.com/criminal/docs/calcrim/500/520.html. The trial judge must be satisfied that a reasonable person, when the defendant acted, could have foreseen or foreseen the final outcome.
In the example given in Section 4 “Example of Actual Cause,” Henry is not the legal cause of Mary`s death because a reasonable person could neither foresee nor foresee that a blow would strike Mary in a place where lightning would strike.