Mens Rea and Strict Liability

Christopher Hurtado —  April 1, 2010 — Leave a comment
Mens Rea and Strict Liability | Christopher Hurtado
If two people commit burglary together, and one intentionally kills the owner, should the other burglar be found guilty of felony murder if this other burglar did not know that the killer was armed? Why or why not?

 

If the law states that anyone who is an accomplice to someone who commits murder during the course of a burglary, then the burglar who was an accomplice in the burglary to the killer should be found guilty of felony murder, regardless of whether he knew the killer was armed. 7. Suppose that a truck driver runs over a cardboard box in the middle of the road, just because it is too much trouble to avoid it. Unfortunately, a child is playing in the box, and the child is killed. Should the truck driver be found guilty of murder or manslaughter? What if the truck was stolen or contained illegal cargo, so the truck driver was committing a felony at the time? Then should the driver have been found guilty of murder or manslaughter? Why or why not?

If the circumstances are that a truck driver runs over a cardboard box in the middle of the road, just because it is too much trouble to avoid it and a child is playing in the box and that child is killed, then the truck driver should be found guilty of manslaughter, not murder. If, however, the truck was stolen or contained illegal cargo and the law states that anyone who kills someone while driving a stolen vehicle or transporting illegal cargo is guilty of felony murder, then the truck driver should be found guilty of felony murder.

Christopher Hurtado

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Christopher Hurtado is President and CEO of Linguistic Solutions and Adjunct Instructor of Philosophy and Political Science at Utah Valley University. He holds a BA in Middle East Studies/Arabic and Philosophy and an MA in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies. He coauthored Vacation Spanish: A Survival Guide for Mexico, the Caribbean, Central & South America. He is married to children's book author and homeschool mom, Alysia Gonzalez. Together they have nine children. They are active in their church and in their community.

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