Tagged: mens rea

Q&A Roundup Part 2

I’m writing a response to an essay on “consent as a felt sense” and looking for a deeper explanation of mens rea and the reason why it ought form the basis for not just a legal system, but for the social norms of a community. I know there is some...

Let’s Make a New Law!

Any moderately well-informed person these days is aware of the shocking injustices that happen whenever criminal laws get written by people who don’t really understand what criminal law is, or how it works. (Brilliant summary here.) They tend to create crimes that are ill-defined, overbroad, and usually an overreaction to...

A Neat Primer on Neuroscience and Criminal Law

  One of our favorite topics here at the Criminal Lawyer has been the interaction of brain science and criminal law. So it’s with a pleased tip of the hat to Mark Bennett that we have the video linked above, an excellent summary of modern neuroscience as it applies to...

Using Neuroscience to Gauge Mens Rea?

Over at Edge, in a short video, we get an intriguing look at criminal justice from the perspective of neurological science. Put all this together, as you can see here, and we discover little areas that are brighter than others. And this is all now easily done, as everyone knows,...

Why Conservatives and Defense Lawyers Should LOVE the New Hate Crimes Law

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama signed into law the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act. As usual, the Act included provisions that had nothing whatsoever to do with National Defense Authorization. And one of the tacked-on provisions was the much-debated Hate Crimes Prevention Act. We wrote about this back on May...

How Would a “Cultural Relativity” Defense Work?

Amir Efrati has an interesting article in today’s Wall Street Journal, headlined “Cultural Background Gains Traction as a Legal Defense.” It’s a well-known fact that some things that are criminal in one society are perfectly acceptable in another. Some lawyers are starting to claim that it should be a defense...

Grammar Schooled: Over-Zealous Feds Get an “F” in Adverbs

In a sort-of unanimous opinion today, the Supreme Court reversed the conviction of a Mexican who’d tried to get a job by using counterfeit Social Security and Alien Registration cards along with a fake name and date of birth. He’d been convicted of aggravated identity theft, 18 U. S. C....

Thought Police?

Guilt or innocence, one might say, is all in the mind. After all, there are very few crimes that can be committed without the requisite mens rea, or mental state. If we’re going to punish someone, their acts cannot have been mere accident. We want to know that they had...