Below are 10 fictitious criminal law cases that demonstrate an aspect related to criminal liability. Read each case carefully, and then prepare an appropriate response to the question that follows each case.
You should use your text and outside research to prepare your answers for each case. There is no required length for your answers, but you must correctly and completely respond to each question, and spelling, grammar, word usage, and punctuation count.
Facts of the Cases:
Alicia pointed a gun at Al’s back when they were in the drug store. Alicia told Al that she would kill him if he did not shoplift the various over-the-counter drugs that Alicia wanted. Al shoplifted what Alicia told him to take.
Question: Why might Al’s criminal act be insufficient to charge him with a crime?
Bella broke in and entered her neighbor’s house. Bella intended to steal her neighbor’s computer.
Question: Explain the criminal act that Bella committed. Then explain Bella’s criminal conduct.
Carl stabbed his wife for no apparent reason. Carl’s wife died.
Question: Explain the criminal act that Carl committed. Then explain the bad result.
Deb has been diagnosed by a psychiatrist as suffering from schizophrenia. Deb had been committed to a state mental facility, but recently she escaped when the guard was sleeping. Deb murdered an elderly person she found living on the street by hitting the person over the head with a rock.
Question: If you were defending Deb, what type of defense might you use?
Ed saw a stranger drowning in the lake where he was swimming and heard the person yelling for help. Ed was the only person around, but did not want to get involved, so he did nothing and continued swimming on his own. The person drowned and died.
Question: Should Ed be charged with a crime?
Fiona dropped her purse in front of the police station and the contents spilled to the ground. When a police officer went to help her pick up the contents, he found a burglary tool. The police officer arrested Fiona.
Question: Fiona claims she did not commit a criminal act. As the police officer, argue why you believe she did commit a crime.
George hated his ex-wife and intended to hack into her computer and introduce a virus. Moments before George was able to hack into his ex-wife’s computer, someone else did, and the ex-wife’s computer shut down due to the virus that was introduced.
Question: What element is missing if the prosecutor wanted to charge George with hacking into and shutting down his ex-wife’s computer?
Hanah needed some copy paper for her home computer to complete some party invitations. Hanah did not have time to stop and purchase paper on her way home, so she took a packet of paper from the office. Two days later, Hanah purchased a packet of paper and replaced the packet she had taken from her office.
Question: Based on intent, how would you defend Hanah against a charge of theft?
Ike was daydreaming and walking his dog Barney – a black lab – down a city street. Ike was just about to cross the street and had entered the crosswalk (the light was red) when suddenly a van with “Bugs R’ Us” stenciled on the side came flying around the corner. Zeke was driving the van. Zeke tried to avoid Ike and turned the wheel sharply, causing the van to swerve up on the sidewalk. The van just missed Ike. Unfortunately, Barney was hit by the van and the dog flew up into the air and crashed through a store window. Glass was flying everywhere, and Barney became so excited that when he crashed into Mary Mishap, a customer in the store, he took a bite out of her neck. Mary died on the way to the hospital because of the profuse bleeding from the neck wound caused by Barney’s bite.
Question: What defense would you use in a case against Zeke for Mary’s death?
Jill was stopped for driving at a speed that was 20 miles per hour over the speed limit. Jill stated that she should not receive a ticket because her speedometer was broken, and she did not have knowledge that she was speeding.
Question: Why should Jill still receive a ticket (base this on criminal liability issues and not emotions?