Friday, September 14, 2012

United States v. Jackson case brief

United States v. Jackson: Hodges recruited the Ds to rob a bank. On June 14th Allen arrived w/ Jackson and Scott with guns. They drove to the bank but after checking security cameras and observing the tellers separating deposits, they postponed until the 21st. Hodges confessed the robbery plot to the FBI. On the 21st the FBI surveillanced the bank and later arrested the Ds in their car outside the bank right before their attempt. Ds were convicted of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and each charged with attempted robbery for the 14th and the 21st. The Ds appeal b/c their conduct never crossed the line which separates “mere preparation” from “attempt”. But the court finds that Ds took substantial steps, strongly corroborative of the firmness of their criminal intent, toward commission of the crime.. Under the MPC formulation – either type of conduct on the 14th and 21st standing alone would constitute a substantial step toward their criminal purpose thus the ruling is affirmed.

Duke v. Jackson? Although there are problems with real proof and the defendants still have an opportunity to repent – we don’t want to wait until the crime is being committed to stop it! There would be no other way to prevent the bank robbery (or Duke) without incurring a seriously dangerous situation:

      1. Duke – you would have to put him in a car with a 12 year old girl

      2. Jackson – you have to wait for the bank to begin to be robbed.

        1. This MUST be crime specific! So you must think about deterrence, the actual means of law enforcement and balance them with fear of repentance and problems with proof. There is really NO CLEAR TEST!

Proximity Test: (as formulated in United States v. Mandujano)

      1. D must have been acting w/ the kind of culpability otherwise required for the commission of a crime he is charged with attempting
      2. (2) D must have engaged in conduct which constitutes a significant step, which is strongly suggestive of Ds firmness of intent.

How the Model Penal Code is Different (§5.01): (based off the equivocality test and the proximity test – the MPC formulation recognizes the difficulty in distinguishing preparation and acts that constitute attempts. The DIFFERENCES between the MPC and the other approaches:

      1. (1) Shift emphasis from what remains to be done- the chief concern of the proximity test- to what the actor has already done.

        1. The fact that further major steps must be taken before the crime can be completed doesn’t preclude a finding that the steps already undertaken are substantial.
      2. (2) Although it is intended that the requirement of substantial step will result in the imposition of attempt liability only in those instances in which some firmness of criminal purpose is shown, no finding is required as to whether the actor would probably have desisted prior to completing the crime

      3. (3) The requirement of proving a Substantial step generally will prove less of a hurdle for prosecution than the res ipsa approach which requires that the actor’s conduct must itself manifest the criminal purpose.


      1. (1) Definition of Attempt. A person is guilty of an attempt to commit a crime if acting with the kind of culpability otherwise required for commission of the crime he:

        1. (a) Purposely engages un conduct which would constitute the crime if the attendant circumstances were as he believes them to be; or
        2. (b) When causing a particular result is an element of the crime, does or omits to do anything with the purpose of causing or with the belief that it will cause such result without further conduct on his part; or
        3. (c) Purposely does or omits to do anything which under the circumstances as he believe them to be, is an act or omission constituting a substantial step in the course of conduct planned to culminate in his commission of the crime.

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