1. (A) No. All crimes require an “actus reus” (an act). The act must be a voluntary one. Here, the actus reus requirement is not satisfied, because Seth’s act was not voluntary; he was, in effect, Cain’s weapon. Since there was no voluntary act on Seth’s part, he cannot be criminally liable.
(B) Yes. Here, Seth’s actual act was voluntary, even if he wouldn’t have done it “but for” Cain’s threat. (Note that Seth may be able to defend against criminal charges due to duress, discussed in Chap. 4 (II), although it’s doubtful he’d win because duress is generally not available for homicide offenses.)
2. No. In order to be criminal, an act must be voluntary – that is, the act must have been committed under the actor’s will and control. Where the act is the result of an epileptic seizure, it is not voluntary and thus no criminal liability will attach. (However, an epileptic might become criminally liable for putting himself in a position where his potential loss of muscle control is likely to cause serious damage, e.g., by driving a car. Here, the actus reus would be the reckless act of driving while knowingly subject to seizures.)
3. (A) No. Crimes that punish status (instead of acts or omissions) are considered unconstitutional, in violation of due process and the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Robinson v. Cal. These include conditions like mental illness and addiction. Note, however, that a state can outlaw, say, public drunkenness – here, it’s not one’s status as an alcoholic that’s being proscribed, but the act of being sloshed in public.
(B) Yes. Statutes outlawing possession of narcotics are valid, provided they require that the person charged knew that he possessed the substance in question. (Note that he does not have to know it is illegal to possess the substance; he just has to know that he has it.) The fact that the possession was the direct result of an addiction, and/or the fact that the possession was for the defendant’s own use, makes no difference
4. (A) No, because she was under no duty to act. Normally speaking, in Anglo-American law a bystander will not be subjected to criminal liability merely for failing to assist another in distress, even though that assistance could have been given easily and without risk. Only where the bystander has some special legal duty to assist can there be liability for failure to assist. Here, nothing caused such a duty to come into existence. India’s intense dislike for Ima is irrelevant, since bad thoughts alone are not punishable, and India’s bad thoughts did not cause India to have a duty to assist.