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Actus Reus and Omissions Things to Consider

Actus Reus

Actus Reus and Omissions Things to Consider - Actus Reus After reading all of the assigned materials and cases from pp. 205-218, consider these questions: How do the courts make the determination that a voluntary act exists? What do the courts find sufficient to satisfy criminal liability? Compare and contrast what different courts do. What constitutes a voluntary act to one court in one jurisdiction might not satisfy another court in another location? Which courts get it right? Which do not? What would happen if culpability was regularly found without a voluntary act? Would our machine or system break down like the Penal Colony you read about in Week 2? Do evil thoughts count as an act for purposes of culpability? We will revisit this concept later when we discuss crimes like attempt, solicitation, and conspiracy. Mandatory Discussion Be sure to pay close attention to the materials about intoxication, habit, and seizures. When someone is intoxicated are their acts “voluntary?” Is a seizure voluntary? If these acts can be considered voluntary how should they be punished? What theories of punishment support imprisoning the epileptic who kills a child when they suffer a seizure while driving? Things to Consider - Omissions This discussion is based on the materials from pp. 218-241 in your textbook. Compare and contrast the cases you read and the different findings made by different courts. When is a failure to act criminal? Why do the courts seem to treat omissions differently? Should we be required to intervene in an ongoing crime? If intervening is too dangerous why not require a simple phone call to report? Could laws of omission be fairly enforced? When do the courts criminalize omissions? Do you agree with the decisions in the cases we read? Consider carefully the many note cases about a duty to others. Should we have a duty to a roommate? If a family member falls in the shower and is bleeding we have to call the ambulance, but if it is our friend and roommate we don’t? Does a rule that divides duties in this fashion make sense? If the right thing to do is to help the person in need why not require the assistance by law? Do the differences in facts of the cases distinguish the different findings regarding criminal culpability for an omission? The final cases regarding omissions deal with the removal of life support. Is the removal of life support really an omission? Is this consistent or inconsistent with other findings about omissions? Mandatory Discussion Should people with more to give have greater responsibility? Do Mark Spitts or Michael Phelps have a greater duty to a drowning child than the average person? What if they had an appointment they were late for? What if there was a life preserver on the shore that could easily be thrown to the victim? Does a millionaire have a greater duty to a starving child than someone with less money? Please check the Course Schedule in the Course Information Lesson for specific due dates and times for all assignments.

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