Friday, October 12, 2012

United States v. Balint case brief

United States v. Balint
258 US 250 - Supreme Court 1922

-Defendants were indicted for violating the Narcotic Act of 1914 by selling derivatives of opium and coca leaves without the written order form from the purchaser, as required by the act.
Defendants file demurred on the grounds that the indictment failed to charge that they knew they were selling prohibited drugs.


Is lack of knowledge a defense to a crime?



-The mens rea requirement has been modified with regards to statutes whose purposes would be obstructed by such a requirement. This is instanced by regulatory measures where the emphasis of the statute is evidently upon achievement of some social betterment rather than punishing a crime.
-It is doubtless Congress felt it was better to protect the innocent purchaser to danger from the drug than to protect innocent sellers from a penalty.

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