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CHAPTER 4- Crimes Against the Person

Element: each part of a crime
- At trial, every element must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by prosecution
o If no proven, accused must be found not guilty
- Merger of offenses: when a person is charged with 2 crimes (based on the exact same
acts), one of which is a lesser included offense of the other. The lesser crime merges
because, under the prohibition against double jeopardy, the person may be tried for only 1
of them.
o If acquitted of greater charge, the defendant can still be convicted of the lesser
- The killing of one human being by another
o Not all are crimes, all depends on mens rea
- At common law, every murder was punished with execution
- Felony-Murder Doctrine
o If a person (even accidentally) kills another while committing a felony, then the
killing is murder
o Imputes the required mens rea to the defendant and creates a form of vicarious
liability b/w co-felons
o Most states have felony-murder statute, generally, following must be shown:
Defendant must have been engaged in the commission, or attempted
commission, of a named felony
During the commission, or attempted commission, of that felony a death
occurred, and
There is a casual connection b/w the crime and the death.
o Jurisdictions today differ on which crimes this can be used with, and whether the
act that caused death has to be taken by the criminal/s
Most jurisdictions that use felony murder treat it as 1st degree murder
- - Misdemeanor Manslaughter: one can be guilty of this if a death results from a
misdemeanor instead of a felony
o Conviction is often involuntary manslaughter
o Varies by jurisdiction and some move to get rid of this and felony murder
Statutory Approaches to Homicide
- 1st degree murder: must be shown that the homicide was willful, deliberate, and
o Willful: defendant must have intended to cause death
o Deliberate: cool mind, not acting out of an immediate passion or anger
o Premeditated: thought of beforehand, not on impulse
Time gap must be within reason, varies by court
- 2 degree murder: defendant lacked the specific intent to kill or lacked the premeditation
and deliberation element of 1st degree murder
- Intent to do Serious Bodily Harm and Deadly Weapon Doctrine

o Proving defendant only intended to cause serious bodily harm and not kill can
reduce murder to 2nd degree
o Deadly weapon doctrine: allows juries to infer that defendant intended to kill his
victim if a deadly weapon was used
Deadly weapon: any instrument likely to cause serious bodily harm under
the circumstances of its actual use
All depends on how item was used, something normally
considered deadly may not be in a certain case
AIDS and Murder
o Transmission of a disease can be criminal
o Unintentional passing can also be criminal, as well as knowing there is a risk
o Length of time it takes to discover poses problems with year and a day rule
o Some states have enacted statutes specifically related to AIDS

- The unlawful killing without malice aforethought
- Provocation: an act by one person that triggers a reaction of rage in a second person
o Can reduce a murder to manslaughter
o Usually treated as voluntary manslaughter
o Ex: catching a spouse in bed with someone else, and any resulting death from
mutual combat
o Words and gestures usually arent adequate for provocation
o Cant be used if there was a cooling off period b/w provocation and killing
- Imperfect Self-Defense and Defense of Others
o Self defense, if valid, will negate criminal liability
o Using self defense in a time that is not valid will not negate entire culpability, but
may reduce liability
o ISD also occurs when excessive force is used as protection
o Defense of others: if one reasonably believes that another is in danger, he can kill
to defend, however if he is mistaken, or uses more force than would have been
necessary, the crime will be manslaughter
- Involuntary Manslaughter
o Usually negligent or reckless manslaughter
o Also negligent homicide, vehicular homicide, and similar unintended, accidental
o Vehicular homicide: hitting and killing someone while driving
Many times drunk driving has its own statutes, often higher than
involuntary manslaughter
o Negligence: risk taken by defendant must be high and pose a threat of death or
serious bodily injury to the victim, some jurisdictions require defendant to be
aware of risk
Life and Death
- To be alive, fetus must leave mothers body and show some ability to live independently,
some courts say umbilical cord must be cut
- Abortion not included in feticide

Because of technology, people can be kept alive, so death is determined by brain death,
not heartbeat and respiration

- Not a crime today, but individuals can be restrained and examined
- It is criminal to encourage or aid another in committing suicide
Corpus Delicti
- Body of the crime, prosecutors have the burden of proving it at trial
- A confession is not enough to prove it, must be direct proof or evidence
Battery: intentional touching of another that is offensive or harmful
- Both intentional and negligent battery are crimes
- Actus reus= a touch
- Objects being held and items thrown are considered an extension of the body
Assault: when one puts another in fear or apprehension of an imminent battery
- The victim doesnt actually have to experience fear, just has to apprehend an impending
o Threat must also be eminent, a threat for an action in the future isnt sufficient
o Victim must also be aware of the assault
- Also, an attempted battery is considered assault
o Regardless of victims knowledge of the act
- If assault and battery both occur, defendant will only be charged with battery, the higher
offense b/c of the merger doctrine
Aggravated Assault and Battery
- If aggravated, a higher penalty imposed
- Aggravated if assault or battery is committed while actor is engaged in commission of
another crime
- Can be more serious if committed by certain people such as law enforcement officers and
other public officials
- Extent of injury also affects status
- Crime of intentionally dismembering or disfiguring a person, giving someone a serious
permanent wound
- Some states treat it as aggravated batteries
Rape: sexual intercourse with another against that persons will or without that persons consent
and by the use of force or under such a threat of force that a reasonable person would have
believed that resistance would have resulted in serious bodily harm or death
Nonforcible rape: also called statutory rape, sexual intercourse with someone under a specified
- Having sex with one who is incapable of consenting due to mental or emotional disability
is also rape
Sodomy: any sexual intercourse held to be abnormal

- Substantial disagreement over what is included

- Hard to enforce
Rape Shield Laws: state laws that prohibit use of most evidence of a rape victims past sexual
conduct, keeps defense attorneys from using evidence to show victims prior sexual experiences
prove there was consent
Incest: sex between family members
Megans Laws, Commitment, and Castration
- Megans Law: requires sex offenders to register with local law enforcement agencies
o Originated in NJ but all states have some form of it
o Availability of this info varies by state
- Chemical castration can be used on sex offenders
o Inhibit sex drive and sexual function
o Doesnt stop the underlying motivations of rape
- Kidnapping: taking away and holding a person illegally, usually against the persons will
or by force
o Felony and harsh crime, violation of Federal Kidnapping Act if it takes place
across state lines
o Must be a restriction of the victims freedom
o Must be asportation: movement
Amount in question
If kidnapping is incidental to commission of another crime, there is
- Parental Kidnapping
o Kidnapping ones own child in violation of a custody order
o A person cant escape a court order by fleeing to another jurisdiction
o Punished less severely than other kidnapping
Usually doesnt risk the childs welfare
- False Imprisonment
o One person interferes with anothers liberty by use of threat or force without
Unlawful restraint by one person of the physical liberty of another
- Crime of repeatedly following, threatening, or harassing another person in ways that lead
to a legitimate fear of physical harm
- Vary in the elements from state to state, but can include harassing, threatening, lying in
wait, or conducting surveillance of another
- Usually must have a pattern of acts
- Law not always effective b/c of short sentences and violation of restraining order

Crime to conspire to injure, threaten, oppress, or intimidate a person for exercising one of
their rights
Also, if a person deprives another of a right because of the alienage, race, religion, etc.