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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » A simple question (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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mastermindreader
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Tony- Those are all good, but remember that in an actual test you'd have to give the reasoning behind each answer. Another issue, though, revolves around whether or not there was a conspiracy prior to the initial assault. There is also an argument that could be made that the son was guilty of attempted murder only for his initial actions. (I wouldn't necessarily agree with it, but it does form the basis for what could be a fairly complex defense strategy aimed at getting just a manslaughter conviction.)

Danny- Congratulations! But I'd hoped no one would spill the beans this early in the thread! Smile
TomBoleware
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Like Tony, I was going to say I got a feeling the dad is somehow trying to cover up for the son.

Sounds like a screwed up cover up.Smile

Tom
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mastermindreader
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Tom- You're not supposed to add facts to the hypothetical. Accept the facts to be true as given. You seem to be overlooking the fact that the father actually believed that he killed his wife

That's how hypotheticals work, after all.

As we say in court, you're assuming facts not in evidence.
TonyB2009
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Bob, I am beginning to see I was wise to drift into maths and physics. I was seriously considering law at 18, but my father said he would not support a lawyer, doctor or politician in the family, which limited my college choices. It is a more complex area than I realized.

As the mother was still alive when the fire was set, I assume they could both be charged with reckless endangerment(or as we could put it in Ireland, acting without due care and consideration causing actual bodily harm), and with assault on her. The other charges I mentioned in my last post I think I still stand by.
Steven Keyl
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I'm neither a lawyer nor law school graduate but I was pre-law for my undergrad, so would qualify as a pseudo-layman. Can I play?
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mastermindreader
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Yes, Steve. Please do!.
mastermindreader
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Quote:
On May 27, 2015, TonyB2009 wrote:
Bob, I am beginning to see I was wise to drift into maths and physics. I was seriously considering law at 18, but my father said he would not support a lawyer, doctor or politician in the family, which limited my college choices. It is a more complex area than I realized.

As the mother was still alive when the fire was set, I assume they could both be charged with reckless endangerment(or as we could put it in Ireland, acting without due care and consideration causing actual bodily harm), and with assault on her. The other charges I mentioned in my last post I think I still stand by.


Given that intentionally burning the house down also recklessly endangered the firefighters as well as any neighbors, I'd say you've found a good one that was hidden in there!
TonyB2009
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Quote:
On May 27, 2015, mastermindreader wrote:
Quote:
On May 27, 2015, TonyB2009 wrote:
Bob, I am beginning to see I was wise to drift into maths and physics. I was seriously considering law at 18, but my father said he would not support a lawyer, doctor or politician in the family, which limited my college choices. It is a more complex area than I realized.

As the mother was still alive when the fire was set, I assume they could both be charged with reckless endangerment(or as we could put it in Ireland, acting without due care and consideration causing actual bodily harm), and with assault on her. The other charges I mentioned in my last post I think I still stand by.


Given that intentionally burning the house down also recklessly endangered the firefighters as well as any neighbors, I'd say you've found a good one that was hidden in there!

So I am no longer bottom of the class. I am enjoying this more now.
LobowolfXXX
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The part about about them assuming she's dead when she has blood spurting from her head reminds me of the joke about the guy who calls 911 and says he actually he actually shot and killed his friend. The operator says she'll send someone, but asks if the guy knows for a fact he's dead. He says, "I think so...he's not moving, and he's lying there with blood all around him." The operator says, "Well, maybe he's alive...the paramedics could help. You've got to make sure he's actually dead, first of all." The guy says, "Hang on." After a pause, the operator hears five gunshots. "OK, he's dead. Now what?"
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
LobowolfXXX
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Quote:
On May 26, 2015, mastermindreader wrote:
Arthur, the question is not whether they would be found innocent or not. It simply asks what crimes were committed assuming that all of the facts presented are true. It is simply a test of what you learned in law school and actually has little bearing on what actually occurs in court rooms. You will note for example, that the scenario takes place in a mythical common law jurisdiction, indicating that correct answers will reveal your understanding of common law.

Lobo is right, though. The question is far more complex than it appears and the answer(s) could well be used to determine a pass or fail in criminal law. And he is also correct that the second part of the question would go to how you would defend the case after you knew what the charges were.

In the bar examination questions like these also give an insight into the applicants skill in legal reasoning. You just don't give a list for an answer, but you're required to include the rationale behind every element of it.


The only thing I was graded on in my first year criminal law class was a 2-question (with sub parts), 8-hour essay final.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
mastermindreader
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Pretty much the same with me, Lobo. On th bar exam, I think I filled two complete testing booklets with my analysis and answers to the question in the OP.
Steven Keyl
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Best guesses...

Both of them:

  • Conspiracy; rationale: together they planned to carry out an assault of the mother
  • Obstruction; rationale: Setting the fire was an attempt to cover up the evidence of a criminal activity.
  • Reckless Endangerment; rationale: by setting the fire in a house they are engaged in conduct which has a very high chance of seriously injuring another person, whether it be a firefighter, people in a neighboring house, people alive in the house, etc.
  • Felony Murder; rationale: a murder that occurs during the commission of a felony would be classified as felony murder. As the death occurred during the commission of multiple felonies it would clearly fall under this umbrella. (Don't know if this falls under common law or if it is statutory; I suspect it may be the latter, in which case it couldn't be included under Bob's initial conditions)


The Son:

  • Aggravated Assault; rationale: This is an intent to harm which displays wanton disregard for human life. The son's actions easily fall into this category.
  • Attempted Murder; rationale: Putting the live round in the gun was an action that was designed to bring about the death of his mother.
  • First Degree Murder; rationale: Simply because the bullet didn’t cause the actual death does not absolve the son of guilt. The fire is considered an "intervening cause" and would only absolve the son if the injury resulting from the initial assault was an unforeseeable event.  That the mother would be injured by a bullet does NOT classify as an unforeseeable event, nor does the subsequent fire set to cover up the act, therefore the son is still fully liable for the murder. So whether the son committed the murder with a bullet or with fire, he committed murder in the 1st degree because it was willful (intent) and deliberate (it was planned and premeditated while they laid in wait for her to return).


The Father:

  • Assault; rationale: simple assault is creating the fear of serious harm or injury toward another person. The act of pretending he had a loaded gun aimed at his wife perfectly fits the definition of assault.
  • Criminally Negligent Homicide; rationale: His actions directly contributed to her death. If the father hadn’t brought about the initial assault the subsequent events wouldn’t have occurred and she would still be alive.
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mastermindreader
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Steven- As I noted earlier in this thread, felony murder is indeed statutory and didn't exist under common law.

The first conspiracy theory (conspiracy to commit assault on the mother) isn't quite so clear. The father simply told the son what he intended to do. They didn't plan anything together. The son later acted on his own by replacing the blanks with real bullets.

The question hidden in there, however, is whether or not the son had a duty to report, or try to prevent, his father's intended act.


The second conspiracy, though, (conspiring to cover up the crime by burning down the house) is another story.
TonyB2009
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I never spotted that the son might have reported this and so stopped it. There could be another charge there - accessory before the fact, I think the cop shows would term it.
Steven Keyl
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Bob, on the first conspiracy theory, in your original scenario you said, "His son agreed to help, because he didn't like her much either." At that point, they've committed conspiracy, no?

It's also unclear from the original scenario if the son was present at the shooting. If not, then Tony's charge of accessory before the fact is another good one.

These are fun to think about. When this one has been exhausted you should come up with a few more, Bob.
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LobowolfXXX
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Quote:
On May 27, 2015, Steven Keyl wrote:
Bob, on the first conspiracy theory, in your original scenario you said, "His son agreed to help, because he didn't like her much either." At that point, they've committed conspiracy, no?

It's also unclear from the original scenario if the son was present at the shooting. If not, then Tony's charge of accessory before the fact is another good one.

These are fun to think about. When this one has been exhausted you should come up with a few more, Bob.


A criminal conspiracy requires both an agreement to engage in the criminal activity and also a substantial step in furtherance of the criminal act. If you and I agree to rob a bank, we aren't yet guilty of conspiracy, but if you then go to the store to buy a ski mask and I stake out the bank to learn the guards' schedules, now we're guilty of conspiracy.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
mastermindreader
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Quote:
On May 27, 2015, Steven Keyl wrote:
Bob, on the first conspiracy theory, in your original scenario you said, "His son agreed to help, because he didn't like her much either." At that point, they've committed conspiracy, no?

It's also unclear from the original scenario if the son was present at the shooting. If not, then Tony's charge of accessory before the fact is another good one.

These are fun to think about. When this one has been exhausted you should come up with a few more, Bob.


You're right, Steven. Mistake on my part. But the point still remains that he gave no help at all and, in fact, had completely different intentions than the father.

It doesn't really matter whether or not the son was present as far as accessory charges would go. A getaway driver at a bank robbery is an accessory before and after the fact, as well as a co-conspirator and aider and abettor. It' doesn't matter that he never went into the bank.

It could be argued, though, that conspiracy, accessory, and aiding and abetting charges, only apply to the house burning.
TonyB2009
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Surely, Bob, the son could be done for conspirace, accessory, etc, in relation to the assault on the wife as well as the house burning?
mastermindreader
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Maybe. But you need to explain your reasoning. It could be argued that they had no common purpose at all in the first event. How would that effect conspiracy charges or aiding and abetting? And who would be an accessory to what?

Not saying you're wrong. But what is your rationale? (Note that the reasoning is actually more important than getting the "right" answer.) In court, obviously, both sides would be argued.
tommy
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It is a cool question and I can’t figure it out. Over here, to avoid double jeopardy, they normally lump all the minor offence into one charge if they are all part of one enterprise. I think here they would keep it simple and charge the son with murder and the old man with manslaughter. The judge then would hear the details and take them into account when it came to sentencing them. I mean, I do not think they would charge the old man with manslaughter by burning a house causing the death of his wife and charge him with burning the house separately. If they did so, then I think that would put him in danger getting two sentences for the same enterprise. I think they might charge him separately with conspiracy with the son to pervert the course of justice though. I have not read anybody else’s answers yet as I wanted to see if I could get alone. Every time I try to figure it out my it sends me circles.
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