How to Ace FYLSE/Criminal Law Outline

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Felony Murder[edit]

Murder is the unlawful killing of another person with malice aforethought and the malice can be established by the intent to commit certain dangerous felonies where death is a natural and probable consequence of the defendant’s conduct and occurs during the commission of the felony, even if the death is accidental.

Al and Bill offered Clara, whom they had just met in a bar, a ride to her home when the bar closed. She accepted, but the two men instead drove her to a remote area where first Bill, and then Al, forcibly raped her. When Clara attempted to push Al away, he subdued her by choking her. Bill watched, but took no part in Al's activities. Clara died as a result of the choking. Al and Bill were arrested.**
1. The evidence was insufficient to support the conviction of Bill for first degree felony murder?

Here, Al and Bill committed rape of Clara, one of the dangerous felonies. Clara was choked to death when she attempted to push Al away and Al subdued her by choking Clara, thereby meeting the actus reus for murder and the causation requirements. While Bill was not involved in the act of the killing Clara, her death was a natural and probable consequence of Al's conduct and occurred during the rape by the two. The fact that Bill was present and did nothing to stop Al and let her die add the malice required for felony murder. Even if they argued that they did not intend to suffocate Clara to death and it was true, they are still liable for Clara's accidental death under the felony murder rule.


The crime of conspiracy requires: (1) an agreement between two or more people to accomplish an unlawful or fraudulent purpose, and (2) an overt act taken in furtherance of the conspiracy. Under the majority rule, all parties to the conspiracy must agree to pursue the unlawful or fraudulent purpose; however, under the minority rule, the agreement of only one participant is sufficient to establish the conspiracy (for instance, in circumstances where one participant conspires in an effort to commit a crime and the other is an undercover law enforcement officer). Regarding the overt act requirement, nearly any act taken by any co-conspirators in furtherance of the unlawful objective will suffice.

Co-Conspirator Liability[edit]

Co-conspirators are liable for both conspiracy as a separate crime, for and all foreseeable crimes committed by any co-conspirators in furtherance of the unlawful objective. There is no doctrine of merger applied to conspiracy, and thus one may be convicted of both conspiracy and the underlying crime(s) committed in furtherance of it. A co-conspirator need not personally participate in an underlying crime committed by a co-conspirator in furtherance of the conspiracy, so long as the crime was a foreseeable result of the unlawful objective.

Receipt of Stolen Property[edit]

The crime of receiving stolen property requires that the defendant: (1) receive property that has been wrongfully taken from the rightful owner with the intent not to return it to its true owner, and (2) know that the property in question was wrongfully taken from its rightful owner. A defendant's knowledge may be express or implied under the circumstances, and, furthermore, the knowledge requirement may be met if the defendant under the circumstances is "willfully blind" to the fact that the property has been stolen.


A person is permitted to protect oneself from imminent harm arising from the use of unlawful force. The force used in self-defense must be proportionate to the harm threatened. Deadly force may be used in self-defense if the person is without fault, confronted with unlawful force, and is threatened with imminent death or great bodily harm. Non-deadly force may be used to resist an improper arrest even if a known police officer is making the arrest.

Defense of Others[edit]

A defendant has the right to defend others if he reasonably believes the party being assisted would have the legal right of self-defense. The level of force used is justified if proportionate to the threat faced. Defense of others may not be used to aid a criminal or criminal activity.

Mistake of Fact[edit]

Mistake of fact is raised as a defense to show the defendant lacked the state of mind required for the underlying crime. Reasonableness must be shown to disprove the state of mind for all crimes except for specific intent crimes.


Kidnapping requires refraining a person's ability to move or leave along with either concealment or movement of the person.


Attempted kidnapping requires the specific intent to kidnap as well as a substantial step toward completion of the act.