Tuesday, October 25, 2011

People v. Navarro case brief

People v. Navarro
“so long as he believes it to be his own, he cannot feloniously steal it.”
“if no specific intent or other special mental element is required for guilt of the offense charged, a mistake of fact will not be recognized as an excuse unless it was based upon reasonable grounds.”
-An honest mistake of fact or law is a defense when it negates a required element of the crime.
-Defendant was entitled to an acquittal since the specific intent required to be proved as an element of the offense had not been established.
-Mistake of fact: reasonable and in good faith when defendant charged w/ a specific intent crime.
-General Intent: have to act reasonable.
-Specific Intent: can act unreasonable if in good faith.
Perkins Rule - Mistake of Fact
1) Is the offense general intent, specific intent, or strict liability?
[Specific Intent]: Does the mistake of fact relate to the specific intent portion of offense?
Yes: Elemental Analysis: Does the mistake negate the specific intent element of the offense? If it does → Not guilty, acquitted.
No: Treat the offense as if it were a general intent crime.
[General Intent]: Did the defendant act with a morally blameworthy state of mind?
Reasonable or unreasonable?
Unreasonable: acted with culpable state of mind, can convict.
Reasonable: Morally innocent, entitled to defense for want of men’s rea.
Can apply Moral Wrong or Legal Wrong doctrine.
[Strict Liability]: A mistake of fact is never a defense.
Elemental Analysis → No element of mens rea to negate.
Culpability Analysis → Blameworthiness = irrelevant.

-The intent to commit an act that is immoral furnishes the requisite culpability for the related, but unintended, outcome.
-We can justify punishing without mens rea because you know it’s wrong.
a) Was mistake of fact reasonable? → convicted.
b) Was mistake of fact unreasonable?
→What was it you reasonably thought you were doing?
Was the def.’s conduct immoral had the situation been as he supposed?

-Authorizes punishment based on the harm that an actor caused, the actus reus of the greater offense, while ignoring the fact that the actor’s men’s rea was at the level of the lesser crime.
-Punish for the higher crime of the two.

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