Oregon Law School 1L Study Guide for Criminal Law

Title: Oregon Law School 1L Study Guide for Criminal Law

I. Introduction to Criminal Law
Concept: The purpose of criminal law is to deter, punish, and rehabilitate offenders. It involves the prosecution by the state of a person for an act classified as a crime.

Case: Beccaria’s On Crimes and Punishments (1764)
IRAC: This is not a court case but a seminal work that provides the philosophical foundation for criminal law, dealing with issues such as the social contract, the rationalization of punishment, and the proper role of criminal statutes.

II. Elements of a Crime
Concept: A crime typically involves two elements: an actus reus (guilty act) and a mens rea (guilty mind).

Case: People v. Decina (1956)
Issue: Whether driving while knowing that one is susceptible to epileptic seizures qualifies as actus reus and mens rea for negligent homicide.
Rule: Conduct becomes criminal when it involves a voluntary act that results in harm.
Application: The defendant’s decision to drive while aware of his condition was a voluntary act that caused harm.
Conclusion: The court held the defendant guilty, the act and knowledge of possible harm satisfied the criteria for actus reus and mens rea.

III. Homicide
Concept: Homicide is the killing of one human being by another. It can be classified into degrees (first and second) and types (murder, manslaughter).

Case: People v. Anderson (1968)
Issue: Whether premeditation and deliberation, required for first-degree murder, could be inferred from the nature of the attack.
Rule: Under California’s 1872 Penal Code, first-degree murder requires “willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing.”
Application: The court found that the evidence did not necessarily infer premeditation and deliberation.
Conclusion: The court decided to overturn the first-degree murder conviction, ruling that there was not enough evidence to infer premeditation and deliberation.

IV. Oregon Revised Statute 163.115
Concept: In Oregon, murder is defined by statute, ORS 163.115, which includes intent to cause the death of another human being.

V. Defenses to Crimes
Concept: Defenses to crimes include self-defense, insanity, and intoxication.

Case: State v. Leidholm (1983)
Issue: Whether the defendant’s belief of being in imminent danger should be judged on a subjective or an objective standard.
Rule: A defendant is entitled to use self-defense if they believe they are in imminent danger.
Application: The court found that the defendant’s belief was based on her personal experience and thus came under self-defense.
Conclusion: The court ruled in favor of a subjective standard for imminent danger.

VI. Inchoate Crimes
Concept: Inchoate crimes involve steps taken toward committing a crime, e.g., attempt, solicitation, and conspiracy.

Case: United States v. Mandujano (1976)
Issue: Whether an incomplete act, absent the intent to commit a crime, is punishable under law.
Rule: Inchoate offenses are punishable, even if they don’t result in a completed crime.
Application: The court ruled that the defendant’s act constituted an attempt to commit a crime.
Conclusion: The court held the defendant guilty of attempted crime.

VII. Crimes against Property
Concept: Crimes against property involve interference with the property rights of others. For example, theft, burglary, arson.

Case: State v. Kipf (1965)
Issue: Whether the entry into a building with intent to steal qualifies as burglary.
Rule: The crime of burglary requires unlawful entry into a building with intent to commit a crime.
Application: The court found the defendant had entered the building with the intent to steal.
Conclusion: The court held the defendant guilty of burglary.

VIII. Sex Offenses and Rape
Concept: Sex offenses include rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, etc. Rape is defined under ORS 163.375 in Oregon.

Case: People v. Liberta (1984)
Issue: Whether a husband can be charged with the rape of his wife.
Rule: Non-consensual sexual intercourse qualifies as rape, regardless of the marital status of the parties involved.
Application: The court found that the defendant had sex with his wife without her consent.
Conclusion: The court held that a husband can indeed be charged with the rape of his wife.

IX. Sentencing and Punishment
Concept: Sentencing is the imposition of a penalty on a defendant following a guilty verdict.

Case: Oregon v. Ice (2009)
Issue: Whether the Sixth Amendment’s jury-trial guarantee applies to sentences for discrete crimes.
Rule: The judge has the discretion to decide whether sentences for multiple offenses run concurrently or consecutively.
Application: The court held that the state law allowing judges to impose consecutive sentences did not infringe on the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee.
Conclusion: Judges can impose consecutive sentences for multiple offenses.

This guide provides a fundamental understanding of criminal law for a 1L law student in Oregon. It includes the essential concepts, case laws, and the IRACs for each case. This guide should be used as a starting point to further explore and understand the complexities of criminal law. It is also advisable to supplement this guide with classroom notes and textbooks.

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