Question

Sometime people mistakenly say that the body of a murder victim provides the corpus delicti

  1. of the crime of murder.  What actually constitutes the corpus delicti of murder?
  2. What is the difference between causation in fact and proximate cause?
  3. What is an ex post facto law?  Why is the creation of ex post facto laws regarded as impermissible in our legal system?
  4. What are necessary attendant circumstances?  How might they play a role in a criminal conviction?
  5. Why is it necessary to require a "substantial step" before mere plans become a criminal attempt?
  6. What is the difference between conspiracy and criminal solicitation?
  7. Why is it easier for prosecutors to build a case when they are not required to establish whether the defendant is a principal in the first degree, principal in the second degree, or an accomplice?
  8. Should vicarious liability exist?  What are the implications of holding a corporation liable for the actions of its employees?  What about holding parents responsible for the actions of their children?  Who benefits from such liability, and who can be harmed by it?

Answer & Explanation
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1. Sometimes, people mistakenly say that the body of a murder victim provides the corpus delicti of the crime of murder. What actually constitutes the corpus delicti of murder?

Some individuals mistake corpus delicti for a corpse or a person who has died. In Latin, corpus delicti means "body of crime." It could refer to the real thing for which the crime was perpetrated, such as a dead person or the wreckage of a burning house, according to West's Encyclopedia. This is the law in the United States. The prosecution in a criminal case must show that someone was wounded, lost, or harmed, and that the harm, loss, or pain was caused by the unlawful act.

 

2. What is the difference between causation in fact and proximate cause?

In negligence cases, causation is a crucial factor to evaluate. You must show that your harm was caused by the defendant's conduct or negligence. Actual and proximate (or legal) causation are the two types of causality in law. The term "proximate causation" refers to whether the breach caused damage that was "reasonably foreseeable."

 

3. What is an ex post facto law? Why is the creation of ex post facto laws regarded as impermissible in our legal system?

Ex post facto legislation is prohibited by two articles of the United States Constitution. Ex post facto rules are linked to tyranny because they take away people's ability to predict whether or not their activities will be punished, and they allow for random punishment at the whim of those in authority.

 

4. What are the necessary attendant circumstances? How might they play a role in a criminal conviction?

Acts reus, mens rea, and actus propterra are the four components of a crime. "External circumstances" are factors that are unrelated to the three fundamental components but must exist in order for a conviction to be valid. In a legal rape case, for example, the victim's age will be a complicated factor.

 

5. Why is it necessary to require a "substantial step" before mere plans become criminal attempts?

Any action committed with the intent of committing a specified offence under the Criminal Code is described as an attempted crime. When a person performs something that is a substantial step toward committing a crime but does not actually commit that crime, they are guilty of attempting to commit that crime.

 

6. What is the difference between conspiracy and criminal solicitation?

Criminal efforts, criminal solicitation, and criminal conspiracy are examples of inchoate crimes. This is due to the fact that a crime does not need to be committed in order to be punished. Rape is an incipient crime since the scheme will almost surely never be set up and the intended crime will almost certainly never take place.

 

7. Why is it easier for prosecutors to build a case when they are not required to establish whether the defendant is a principal in the first degree, a principal in the second degree, or an accomplice?

When all sides of a dispute are represented by qualified lawyers, the system works best. All powerful claims must be backed up by indisputable evidence. Obtaining a trial date can be a lengthy and arduous procedure, and due to the high quality of the evidence, most cases are resolved by a jury.

 

When prosecutors are not required to jointly prove criminal responsibility, it is easier to build a case since they are not required to prove all of the necessary elements of a primary principle, a secondary principal, or an accomplice. All the prosecutor has to do is show that both parties acted illegally.

 

8. Should vicarious liability exist? What are the implications of holding a corporation liable for the actions of its employees? What about holding parents responsible for the actions of their children? Who benefits from such a liability, and who can be harmed by it?

Vicarious liability is a legal concept that establishes a party's legal responsibility for harm caused by their actions, even if they were not the ones who caused the injury. Parents are taking on vicarious responsibility as a result of the rise in youthful criminality (Beckett, 1985). In different jurisdictions, parents are held financially liable for their children's actions. If a parent knows or has cause to suspect that their child needs to be controlled and fails to take reasonable steps to manage the child, the "negligent auditing" doctrine holds them responsible.

 

 

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Step-by-step explanation

1. Sometimes, people mistakenly say that the body of a murder victim provides the corpus delicti of the crime of murder. What actually constitutes the corpus delicti of murder?

Some people get corpus delicti mixed up with a corpse or a deceased person. This is not correct. Corpus delicti is Latin for "body of crime." According to West's Encyclopedia, corpus delicti can refer to the real thing on which the crime was committed, such as a dead person or the burned ruins of a house, or it can refer to the act itself, such as murder or arson. This is American law. Evidence indicating a crime has been committed is also referred to as corpus delicti.

 

In a homicide case, the corpus delicti includes a deceased corpse. A prosecution in a criminal case must establish that someone was hurt, lost, or harmed, and that the damage, loss, or harm was caused by illegal behavior in order to prove corpus delicti. The prosecution must prove corpus delicti beyond a reasonable doubt in addition to a defendant's confession (People v. Ochoa, 2011). Although a thorough examination of corpus delicti is outside the scope of this work, in a criminal murder case, corpus delicti is defined as the defendant's wrongful death of a victim (University of Minnesota, 2015c).

 

If the victim's body is never found, the prosecution may find it more difficult, but not impossible, to show corpus delicti. If there is sufficient circumstantial or direct evidence, such as bloodstains, surveillance film, or witness testimony, the prosecution can prove corpus delicti and convict the defendant of criminal homicide even if the victim's body is not present (University of Minnesota, 2015c).

 

2. What is the difference between causation in fact and proximate cause?

You must establish that the defendant was negligent in most personal injury instances. In a negligence case, causality is a crucial factor. Simply put, you must establish that your injuries were caused by the defendant's acts or negligence. In law, there are two types of causality: actual and proximate (or legal) causation. The "but for" test identifies the true cause of the problem (Ebrom, 2018).

 

The actual reason, often known as "cause in fact," is straightforward. The term "cause" refers to the manner in which the breach caused the accident. If a texting driver collides with a biker, for example, the driver is at fault. The fundamental cause of injury, however, must be determined as the proximate cause by law. As a result, without the proximate cause, the damage would not occur. Proximate causation, which is concerned with how the loss or harm actually occurred, is an important principle of insurance. Proximate causation, on the other hand, assesses whether the damage was "reasonably foreseeable" as a result of the defendant's infringement (Estey & Bomberger, LLP, 2021).

 

The following is how actual cause and proximate cause interact: the real cause, or factual cause, follows the chain of events that led to the damage. Proximate causation, on the other hand, continues the chain and determines if the outcome was anticipated at some stage. In fact, proximate causation breaks the causation chain if it is not foreseeable, and it holds that holding the defendant liable for all unanticipated consequences of his breach is simply unfair.You must show both genuine and proximate cause in order to win a personal injury claim (Valiente Mott, 2020).

 

3. What is an ex post facto law? Why is the creation of ex post facto laws regarded as impermissible in our legal system?

The word "ex post facto" is most often used to characterize a penal system that punishes conduct retroactively, therefore criminalizing action that was permissible at the time. Ex post facto legislation is banned by two sections of the United States Constitution (Art 1, § 9 and Art. 1 § 10. , respectively). The article solely applies to penal legislation, not to court rulings made in the past. In contrast, the Legal Process Clause can be invoked to object to retroactive judicial rulings (Giannelli, 2000).

 

According to the Constitution Annotated, Library of Congress (n.d.), both the federal and state governments are prohibited from establishing ex post facto laws, and the Court applies the same analysis whether the statute in question is a federal or a state enactment. When ex post facto laws were established as part of the original Constitution, many people mistook them for all retrospective laws, or laws governing or controlling previous transactions, whether civil or criminal in nature.

 

Ex post facto rules are associated with tyranny because they rob people of the ability to predict what actions will or will not be punished, and they allow for random punishment at the whim of those in charge. It punishes conduct that was previously unpunished before the enactment of the legislation (Buan, 2018). Ex post facto rules are exacerbated by the inclusion of the "corruption of blood" concept. This viewpoint holds the relatives of a person accused of committing a crime responsible for their relative's actions. The founders attempted to escape the mistakes of history once more. In Republican and Imperial Rome, blood corruption was a long-standing custom. The accused would be murdered, his possessions seized, and his family would be murdered or deported (Matthews, 2021).

 

One potential concern with the Court's current reading of the Ex Post Facto Clause, according to the Heritage Foundation (n.d.), is that many criminal laws could be reclassified as civil. As a result, the Ex Post Facto Clause, as it is commonly understood, safeguards only the most egregious abuses of the legislature's ability to make laws retroactive. When it comes to personal liberty, they are extremely effective. The phrase, on the other hand, is of little help to people who have been damaged by most types of retroactive civil law, which usually affect property rights in some way.

 

4. What are the necessary attendant circumstances? How might they play a role in a criminal conviction?

The key accompanying situations are known as the "external circumstances." They are elements of a crime that are distinct from the crime's actus reus, mens rea, and punishment. It usually has an impact on the offender's punishment. They are further details that aid in the identification of the crime. For example, in a statutory rape case, the victim's age would be a complicating factor (Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners legal team, n.d.). These are equally vital as the general elements, but they must be present (or "attendant") to the primary elements. They are called elements because the conviction would be invalid without them.

 

5. Why is it necessary to require a "substantial step" before mere plans become criminal attempts?

Under the Criminal Code, an attempted crime occurs when a person undertakes any act with the intent of committing a specific crime, which is an important step toward the commission of that crime. Pa. 901(a) Case No. 18.In comparison to the former overt act test, the Criminal Code definition broadens the scope of attempted culpability by focusing on the activities actually undertaken by the accused rather than the acts that must be done before the actual execution of the crime.

 

Attempts, plots, and solicitations are examples of inchoate crimes. The difficulty in holding a defendant accountable for an inchoate or incomplete crime is assessing the level of progress required to impute criminal guilt, which is particularly difficult with attempts because the act is always left incomplete. According to USLegal, Inc. (n.d.), a person is guilty of an attempt to commit a crime when they do something that is a substantial step toward the commission of the crime, but not the actual commission of the crime, with the purpose of actually committing the crime, according to USLegal, Inc. (n.d.).

 

6. What is the difference between conspiracy and criminal solicitation?

Criminal attempts, criminal solicitation, and criminal conspiracy are examples of inchoate crimes, sometimes known as unfinished crimes. This is due to the fact that the actual crime linked with the solicitation, conspiracy, or attempt does not have to occur for a crime to be punished. According to the MCShane Firm, LLC (n.d.), it is "criminalizing the pre-stages of criminal behavior even though criminal crime may never occur."

 

It does not require the requested party to actually conduct the crime, unlike conspiracy or attempt, which require additional activity to instigate the crime. To enlist someone's assistance, all you have to do is ask them to commit a crime. Incitement to commit a crime is akin to attempting to commit a crime (Fowler, 1979). The proposal could signal a conspiracy because it criminalizes the encouragement of a contract to conduct a crime. Rape is an incipient crime since the conspiracy will almost certainly never be set up and the intended crime will almost certainly never be carried out. Many of the same rules apply to solicitation as they do to attempts and conspiracy (University of Minnesota, 2015b).

 

7. Why is it easier for prosecutors to build a case when they are not required to establish whether the defendant is a principal in the first degree, a principal in the second degree, or an accomplice?

Regardless of whether the case is a criminal prosecution or a civil tort action, all viable legal cases will share basic characteristics when it comes to case strength. However, indisputable, provable proof is a key component of all strong claims. Poor claims may be actively battled by experienced legal counsel, resulting in a waste of time that the court system cannot afford. Getting a trial date can be a long and frustrating procedure, and most cases that go to a jury trial do so because the evidence is of high quality (Sekulow, 2018).

 

Defendants who choose to represent themselves in criminal proceedings or who have a mediocre or inadequate defense attorney are at a significant disadvantage. Because the system works best when both sides of a case are represented by qualified counsel, most prosecutors would prefer to prosecute a case against a competent, zealous criminal defense attorney rather than one against a defendant appearing pro se (Stimson, 2020).

 

It is easier to create a case when prosecutors are not obliged to jointly prove criminal responsibility since they do not have to prove all of the necessary elements of a primary principle, a secondary principal, or an accomplice. The prosecutor just needs to prove that both parties engaged in illegal behavior. Because the degree of involvement is frequently difficult to quantify, laws and lawsuits attempt to classify guilty accomplices based on illegal action and purpose (University of Minnesota, 2015a).

 

8. Should vicarious liability exist? What are the implications of holding a corporation liable for the actions of its employees? What about holding parents responsible for the actions of their children? Who benefits from such a liability, and who can be harmed by it?

Vicarious liability is a legal concept that outlines a party's legal obligation for actions that cause injury, even if they are not the party who actually caused the harm. Vicarious liability, also known as imputed liability, holds that any party in an authoritative legal relationship with another party is legally liable if their actions affect the other party (Corporate Finance Institute, 2020).

 

According to Coverys, the application of vicarious liability is based on two legal notions (n.d.). The first is known as "respondeat superior," which is Latin for "let the master answer." For respondeat superior to apply, an employee's carelessness must occur while functioning within the bounds of his or her role within the practice. According to this principle, even if you did not commit the conduct, you might be held liable for the negligence of your employees or partners. The second concept, known as "visible authority" or "visible agency," is concerned with independent contractors. The injured party's reasonable perception that the independent contractor is operating on your behalf or for your practice is the basis for the apparent authority/apparent agent responsibility principle.

 

Parents' vicarious liability for their children's crimes refers to how parents are held liable for any criminal acts committed by their children. Parents are embracing vicarious responsibility as a result of the rise in youthful crime. It intends to hold parents responsible for their children's criminal activities. This is because they have been entrusted with the care of these children in order to build the parents' faith in their children (Beckett, 1985).

 

In various jurisdictions, parents are held financially liable for their children's activities. When a kid reaches the age of majority (typically 18, in most states), they are no longer considered juveniles, and their parents are no longer liable for their actions. If parental rights over a minor have expired because the legal parent-child relationship has ended, the parent is no longer liable for the youngster's actions. If a parent knows or has cause to believe that his or her child needs to be controlled and fails to take reasonable steps to do so, the parent is also liable for the child's negligent behavior. This legal notion is known as "negligent auditing" (FindLaw, 2018).

 

According to FindLaw (2018), the Family Car Doctrine holds the owner of a family car legally liable for any harm caused by a family member while driving if the owner was aware of—and approved of—the family member's use of the car. This doctrine, known as reckless entrustment, has been adopted by almost half of the states. As a result, even if a parent's motor insurance policy does not specifically name a minor household member, the parent is nonetheless liable under the family car principle.

 

Many states have laws that follow the "Family Purpose Doctrine," which stipulates that the owner of a vehicle is financially liable for the irresponsible operation of the vehicle when it is driven by other family members. This doctrine applies if the family member uses the car for family purposes with their permission. Typically, any family purpose, including pleasure driving, can suffice (Nolo, 2015).

 

REFERENCES:

 

Beckett, E. (1985). Vicarious liability of parents for actions of their children who are found to be delinquent. Legislation/Policy Analysis. https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/vicarious-liability-parents-actions-their-children-who-are-found-be

 

Buan, L. (2018, March 9). Rappler's cyber libel case will make cybercrime law unconstitutional - lawyer. RAPPLER. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://www.rappler.com/nation/197809-rappler-cyber-libel-unconstitutional/

 

Constitution Annotated, Library of Congress. (n.d.). Ex post facto laws. Congress.Gov. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://constitution.congress.gov/browse/essay/artI-S9-C3-2/ALDE_00001089/

 

Corporate Finance Institute. (2020, May 5). Vicarious Liability. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/knowledge/other/vicarious-liability/

 

Coverys. (n.d.). Vicarious liability. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://www.coverys.com/Knowledge-Center/Vicarious-Liability

 

Ebrom, L. (2018, May 3). Cause in fact and proximate cause in a personal injury lawsuit. LegalMatch Law Library. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/cause-in-fact-and-proximate-cause-in-a-personal-injury-lawsuit.html

 

Estey & Bomberger, LLP. (2021, February 19). What is the difference between actual and proximate cause? Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://www.ebtrialattorneys.com/what-is-the-difference-between-actual-and-proximate-cause/

 

FindLaw. (2018, November 12). Parental Civil Liability. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://www.findlaw.com/family/parental-rights-and-liability/parental-civil-liability.html

 

Fowler, S. E. (1979). Criminal attempt, conspiracy, and solicitation under the criminal code reform bill of 1978. George Washington Law Review, 47(3), 550-572. https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/criminal-attempt-conspiracy-and-solicitation-under-criminal-code

 

Giannelli, P. (2000). The ex post facto clause. Faculty Publications, 22(3), 1-7. https://scholarlycommons.law.case.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1515&context=faculty_publications

 

Matthews, J. L. (2021, December 15). Three terrifying acts forbidden in the US Constitution. Medium. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://medium.com/exploring-history/three-terrifying-acts-forbidden-in-the-us-constitution-a0e7655291cb

 

Nolo. (2015, July 17). Vicarious liability for parents of teen drivers. Www.All-about-Car-Accidents.Com. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://www.all-about-car-accidents.com/resources/auto-accident/auto-insurance-issues/vicarious-liability-parents-teen-drivers

 

People v. Ochoa. (2011). People v. Ochoa, 966 P. 2d 442 - Cal: Supreme Court 1998. Google Scholar. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=13299597995178567741&q=corpus+delicti+criminal+homicide&hl=en&as_sdt=2,5

 

Sekulow, J. (2018, April 11). What is needed to build a strong legal case. Medium. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://medium.com/@jaysekulowny/what-is-needed-to-build-a-strong-legal-case-f250923f5ff2

 

Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners legal team. (n.d.). Attendant circumstances. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Firm. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://www.lacriminaldefenseattorney.com/legal-dictionary/a/attendant-circumstances/

 

Stimson, C. (2020, October). "Progressive" prosecutors sabotage the rule of law, raise crime rates, and ignore victims. The Heritage 

Foundation. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://www.heritage.org/crime-and-justice/report/progressive-prosecutors-sabotage-the-rule-law-raise-crime-rates-and-ignore

 

The Heritage Foundation. (n.d.). No. . .ex post facto law shall be passed. The Heritage Guide to the Constitution. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/articles/1/essays/63/ex-post-facto

 

The MCShane Firm, LLC. (n.d.). Criminal solicitation, criminal attempt, criminal conspiracy. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://www.themcshanefirm.com/pa-criminal-lawyer/criminal-solicitation-attempt-conspiracy/

 

University of Minnesota. (2015a, December 17). 7.1 Parties to crime - Criminal Law. Pressbooks. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://open.lib.umn.edu/criminallaw/chapter/7-1-parties-to-crime/

 

University of Minnesota. (2015b, December 17). 8.3 Solicitation - Criminal Law. Pressbooks. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://open.lib.umn.edu/criminallaw/chapter/8-3-solicitation/

 

University of Minnesota. (2015c, December 17). 9.1 homicide - criminal law. Pressbooks. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://open.lib.umn.edu/criminallaw/chapter/9-1-homicide/

 

US Legal, Inc. (n.d.). Attempt - Criminal Law. USLegal.Com. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://criminallaw.uslegal.com/incohate-crimes/attempt/

 

Valiente Mott. (2020, April 26). "Cause in fact": How to prove it and win your negligence claim. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://valientemott.com/blog/cause-in-fact-how-to-prove-it-and-win-your-negligence-claim/

 

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. (n.d.). Corpus delicti. TheFreeDictionary.Com. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/corpus+delicti