Writing assignment, BCJ 2331, Criminal Law.
This wrting assignment requires you to read a hypothetical factual scenario and then write an essay identifying the crimes that occurred in the scenario and possible defenses to those crimes. You must explain what crimes occurred, explain the elements of each crime, and explain how the facts show that the elements of each crime occurred. You must also explain any applicable defenses and how the facts show that each defense exists.
• The essay will be in the form of a mock memorandum that is described further below.
• Your sole source for the law will be your textbook. You do not have to cite the book and no works cited or references section is needed. You should not perform any research outside of the textbook.
• The essay must be double spaced in Times New Roman font, 12 point, using the form memorandum attached.
You are a new assistant district attorney. The county has just experienced a major crime spree. Adam, Ben, Cam, and Don have been arrested. Your boss asks you to draft a memorandum discussing what crimes should be considered to have been committed by each individual (if any) and any defenses that might be raised. The purpose of this memorandum is to fully inform your boss of the possible criminal charges that might be brought and any defenses in this case; if, from the facts, you are unsure if a particular crime was committed, then you may explain why.
You must state the elements of the offenses (the law) and how the facts tend to show that the elements were met. You should also address any possible defenses suggested by the facts and whether those defenses would be successful at trial.
• Identify any crimes Adam, Ben, Cam, and Don may have committed (if any). You can address each person individually if you prefer.
• State the law defining each crime (from the textbook).
• Explain how the facts demonstrate each portion of the definition or element of each crime.
• Explain any defenses Adam, Ben, Cam, and Don may have to each crime you identify, if any.
• Identify if Adam, Ben, Cam, or Don are accomplices or accessories to the crimes the others committed.
You do not need to quote or restate the entire factual scenario in your memorandum; of course, you will refer to various facts throughout your discussion.
The M’Naughten rule applies in this jurisdiction. Also, conspirators are not liable for the crimes of co-conspirators.
Do not discuss any possible crimes in relation to Evan’s death or whether Vic committed any crimes.
The purpose of this assignment is to test your understanding of the legal issues revealed in the facts. Do not address issues relating to prosecution strategy, investigation tactics, plea bargaining, obtaining evidence, reliability of witnesses, possible punishment, or trial tactics. You should instead discuss whether the facts show that crimes occurred or legal defenses exist.
An investigation revealed the following facts, which are undisputed:
Adam, Ben, Cam, Don, Evan, and Vic are friends. One day, Evan’s body is found in a lake.
Adam suffers from various mental disorders. He hears voices that tell him to do things and believes that he can talk to the dead with his wristwatch. Adam believes that Evan is talking to him from beyond the grave (through his wristwatch) and telling Adam that Vic drowned Evan in the lake.
Adam plans to shoot and kill Vic. He has a gun, but his neighbor borrowed it. Adam goes over to his neighbor’s house one night to get the gun, but the neighbor is gone. Adam has permission to go into his neighbor’s house at any time, even when his neighbor is not home, but the door is locked. Adam breaks the lock to get inside; he knows how to fix the lock, however, because he has done this before. Adam can’t find his gun so he decides to leave. On the way out, Adam sees his neighbor’s wristwatch on the table. The voices tell him to take it, and he puts the wristwatch in his pocket. He fixes the lock, leaves, and goes to sell the wristwatch at a pawn shop. The wristwatch is not really worth any money and does not talk, so Adam throws it in the trash. He later finds his gun on his back porch — his neighbor had previously returned it.
Ben also believes that Vic killed Evan. He wants to hire someone to kill Vic, but he has no money (he’s too scared of Vic to try to kill Vic himself). He decides to rob someone to get the money. He hides in a dark alley with a gun and waits for someone to walk by. Ben is a habitual drunkard and real nervous, so he drinks a 12-pack of beer. Gloria is walking home through the alley. Ben points the gun at her, hits her on the head, and demands her money. Gloria fumbles in her purse for a minute and then gives him $750.
As he is taking the money, Ben, who is very drunk, accidentally shoots Gloria, severely wounding her, but not killing her. He puts Gloria in his pickup and drives to a remote location to dump her body. Thinking she is dead, he decides to have sex with her corpse. After he finishes, Gloria revives. Ben panics and runs away; Gloria later dies of her gunshot wound.
Adam, Ben, and Cam meet the next morning for coffee. They begin discussing Evan’s death. They all believe that Vic killed him. They begin to discuss whether someone should kill Vic in retaliation. Cam decides that he wants no part of this and leaves the meeting. Adam and Ben decide to kill Vic without Cam’s help. Ben gives Adam the $750 he stole from Gloria to buy a fast getaway car. Adam uses the $750 for a down payment on a used Mustang convertible that afternoon.
That night, Adam asks Don to drive him to Vic’s property where Vic lives in a trailer. Don, who is 16 years old and loves convertibles, agrees. Don drives Adam there in the car Adam bought with Gloria’s money. Ben did not come. When Adam gets out of the car, Don becomes scared and drives away, leaving Adam. Don drives to the nearest gas station and calls the police.
Adam crawls under a fence and walks to Vic’s trailer. He thinks he hears Evan’s voice in his head telling him that he is invisible and that he will receive a great reward if he kills Vic. Adam kicks open the door and walks into the trailer. Vic pulls out a gun and shoots at Adam, missing him. Adam again thinks he hears Evan’s voice in his head telling him to kill Vic. The voice is so loud that he can barely hear Vic’s gun still shooting at him or resist the voice’s influence. Adam then shoots Vic, killing him. Adam thinks about taking Vic’s expensive Rolex watch, but the voice tells him not to. He then leaves.
Cam had become concerned about his conversation with Adam and Ben that morning. He drove over to Vic’s place to see if Adam and Ben were up to trouble. Cam hears the gunshots and finds Adam crawling out from under the fence with the gun. There are blood spots on his clothes, and Adam tells Cam that he killed Vic. Cam drives Adam to Cam’s remote hunting cabin in the woods, where Adam stayed for several weeks before the police found him.
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