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Intent and Criminal Intent

A Tract Book Essay


Anthony J. Fejfar, B.A., J.D., Esq., Coif

© Copyright 2008 by Anthony J. Fejfar

I argue that strict liability crimes are unjust. In fact, I argue that strict liability

crimes are unconstitutional, as violating both substantive and procedural due process.

Much of our law, jurisprudence and legal system has been inherited from the medieval

Christian legal system. What then does theology have to say about intent?

Jesus of Nazareth was both Messiah and Prophet. As a Prophet he tried to bring

truth and reason to bear on society to make its laws more just. A major theme of Jesus’

ministry was that of “intent.” Jesus asserted that those with bad intent would do poorly

and those with good intent would do well. Jesus asserted that to some degree we could

be judged by our thoughts, or intent. It is clear then that Jesus asserted that, as a

general rule, people could only be help responsible for the acts that they intended. So, for

example, if Joe was given a “micky” in his drink of a hallucinogenic drug which

prevented Joe from forming intent, then Joe could not be held responsible for any crime

he committed while under the influence of the drug.

Intent, then, should be an element for every crime that can be charged.