Illinois Law School 1L Study Guide for Criminal Law

Illinois Law School 1L Study Guide for Criminal Law

I. Introduction to Criminal Law in Illinois
– Definition and Purpose: Criminal law regulates behavior considered harmful to society, prescribes punishments to offenders, and deters potential offenses.
– Sources of Criminal Law: Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS), specifically the Criminal Code of 2012, and common law decisions.

II. Principles of Criminal Liability
– Actus Reus: The physical act or unlawful omission that constitutes a crime.
– Mens Rea: The mental state or intent required for a crime; it can range from negligence to specific intent.
– Strict Liability Offenses: Crimes that do not require a mental state for conviction, common in regulatory offenses.
– Causation: The requirement that the defendant’s conduct caused the harm or result; it includes both factual and legal causation.

III. Homicide
– Murder: Defined by 720 ILCS 5/9-1, requires intent or knowledge that the acts create a strong probability of death or great bodily harm.
– Voluntary Manslaughter: A killing that would be murder but for the presence of sudden, intense passion resulting from serious provocation (720 ILCS 5/9-2).
– Involuntary Manslaughter and Reckless Homicide: Unintentional killing due to acts that are likely to cause death or great bodily harm to some individual (720 ILCS 5/9-3).

IV. Assault and Battery
– Assault (720 ILCS 5/12-1): An act that places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.
– Battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3): Causing bodily harm to another or making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature.

V. Sexual Offenses
– Criminal Sexual Assault (720 ILCS 5/11-1.20): An act of sexual penetration by force or threat of force, or with a person who is unable to give consent.
– Criminal Sexual Abuse (720 ILCS 5/11-1.50): Sexual conduct with the use of force or without consent.

VI. Property Crimes
– Theft (720 ILCS 5/16-1): Unauthorized control over property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of it.
– Robbery (720 ILCS 5/18-1): Taking property from the person or presence of another by use of force or by threatening the imminent use of force.
– Burglary (720 ILCS 5/19-1): Unauthorized entry into a building with intent to commit a felony or theft.

VII. Inchoate Offenses
– Solicitation: Encouraging, commanding, or requesting another person to commit a crime.
– Conspiracy (720 ILCS 5/8-2): An agreement between two or more persons to commit a criminal offense.
– Attempt (720 ILCS 5/8-4): Taking a substantial step towards committing a crime with the intent to commit that crime.

VIII. Defenses to Criminal Liability
– Self-Defense: Using force to protect oneself from imminent use of unlawful force by another.
– Necessity: Committing a crime to prevent a more significant harm.
– Duress: Committing a crime because of unlawful pressure by another person.
– Insanity: Lacking the mental capacity to understand the criminality of the conduct or to conform conduct to the law.
– Intoxication: May negate specific intent in some crimes, but generally not a defense to criminal liability.

IX. Complicity
– Accomplice Liability: Involves individuals who assist or encourage the principal in the commission of the offense.

X. Case Law Analysis Using IRAC

People v. LeFlore, 2017 IL App (1st) 142660
– Issue: Whether the evidence was sufficient to establish the defendant’s guilt for first-degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt.
– Rule: Under Illinois law, to convict for first-degree murder, the prosecution must prove the defendant intended to kill or do great bodily harm or knew that their acts would lead to such a result.
– Application: The court considered witness testimony and forensic evidence that linked the defendant to the crime scene and the fatal shooting.
– Conclusion: The court upheld the conviction, finding that the evidence was sufficient to show LeFlore’s intent to kill.

XI. Conclusion
Understanding the fundamentals of criminal law in Illinois, including the statutes and case law that dictate how various crimes and defenses are treated, is crucial for any law student. This guide is meant to provide a foundational overview of key concepts, but it should be supplemented with detailed case law analysis, statutory interpretation, and examination of the nuances that arise in practice.

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