Note: These questions are selected from among the “Quiz Yourself” questions in the full-length Emanuel Law Outline on Criminal Law (ELOCL), which were in turn adapted from Law in a Flash on Criminal Law. We’ve kept the same question numbering here as in ELOCL.
1. Cain hates Abel and wants to kill him. Cain, Abel and their third brother, Seth, visit the Grand Canyon. Abel is peering over the edge.
(A) Cain pushes Seth into Abel, causing Abel to fall to his death. Has Seth committed an act that could result in criminal liability? _________________
(B) Instead of the facts in Part A, assume that Cain tells Seth: “If you don’t kill Abel, I’ll tell Mom you’ve been eating forbidden fruit.” If Seth pushes Abel off a cliff under this threat, has he committed an act that could result in criminal liability? _________________
2. King George III, an epileptic, has a seizure in a crowded bus. During his seizure, he hits another passenger, breaking his jaw. In hitting the passenger, has George committed the actus reus required for a crime (in this case, battery)? ________________
3. Sigmund Freud is addicted to cocaine.
(A) First, assume Freud is arrested under a state statute making it a crime to be addicted to a controlled substance. (The arrest comes about because Freud’s doctor realizes that Freud is addicted, and informs the police of this fact.) Is the statute constitutionally valid, as applied to Freud? _________________
(B) Now, assume that Freud is arrested for possession of cocaine when a police officer spots a baggy of the stuff on the passenger seat of Freud’s car during a routine traffic stop. The statute makes it a crime to possess cocaine, even if the possession is exclusively for the defendant’s own use on account of the defendant’s drug addiction. Is the possession statute constitutionally valid, as applied to Freud? _________________