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OLEMISS / Criminal Justice / CJ 210 / koppersmith v state

koppersmith v state

koppersmith v state


CJ 210 Criminal Law, Dr. Danny Hall Study Guide Test 1: Chapters 2,3,4

What is a rational basis test?

Highlight = Important Case Highlight = Main Concept Highlight = Key Terms

[Chapter 2: Constitutional Limits on Criminal Law]

-Rule of Law: ​specific law, describes crime, spells out punishment

-all laws passed at the state and local level are presumed to be constitutional ● Challenger must prove that action is considered unconstitutional

-Void for vagueness 

-indecent, immodest, and filthy acts

● How do you know what’s an indecent, immodest, and filthy act?

● Do you have to guess if it’s you?

-considered unconstitutional

-Ban on Ex Post Facto Laws 

-Problem: can not hold someone/arrest someone for a crime when at the time it was  committed, was not illegal

● Is not effective on someone who has committed a murder

-Equal Protection 

-can discriminate against

● Not race or gender but age

What is a omissions as criminal acts?

-Rational Basis Test: 

● Does this statute make sense?

● Is there a reason to do this?

○ US Supreme Court uses this

-Heightened Scrutiny Test: 

● Discriminate based on sex, almost never happens but does sometimes ○ Pregnancy termination, sexual assault

-Strict Scrutiny Test: 

● Discriminate based on race

● Almost never going to happen because it’s unconstitutional We also discuss several other topics like to ensure that majority rule does not become oppressive modern democracies

-Free Speech 

-Freedom of Expression

● Limits (not protected by the constitution)

○ Nude dancing, nudity, sexual activity, excretion

○ Profanity

○ Libel and slander

○ Fighting words

○ Clear and present danger

-Burning the flag

● Constitutional

○ Political protest

-Rokicki v. People 

-Hate Crime 

● Yelled and became aggressive at an employee who was cutting his pizza because he was a homosexual

What is a legal cause?

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● Wouldn’t have been deemed a hate crime if he hadn’t become aggressive -Right to Privacy 

-Griswold v. Connecticut 

● Planned Parenthood gave contraceptives to married couples

● Unconstitutional, invades privacy

-Bank Records

● No right to privacy

-Criminal Sentencing 

-Death Penalty 

● Lethal injection

○ Drugs we give “inflict some pain”

○ Against the 8th Amendment

● Proportionate 

○ Must be convicted of a killing before you can be given the death penalty ● Disproportionate 

○ Examples:

■ Falsified a document, sentenced to 15 years hard labor in chains

■ Being addicted to drugs because addiction is an illness

-Kennedy v. Louisiana 

● Raped his eight year old daughter

● Inflicted the most severe damage, worst sexual assault a doctor had seen in his 4 years of practice

● Supreme Court said this did not qualify for the death penalty We also discuss several other topics like murray hall ttu

-Mentally Retarded Murderers 

● Substantial intellectual impairment

● Impairment impacts everyday life

● Retardation is present at birth

● Life in prison but they do not qualify for the death penalty

-Death Penalty for Juvenile Murderers 

● Under 18 when crime is committed does not qualify for the death penalty -Ewing v. California 

● Felony grand theft, 25 years to life

● Three-strikes Law

● If they let him out he will keep committing more crimes

[Chapter 3: The General Principles of Criminal Liability (Actus Reus)]

-The Criminal Act (Actus Reus) 

-King v. Cogdon 

● Cogdon suffers from hallucinations

● Cogdon believes German soldiers are hurting her daughter so she takes an ax to “kill the german soldiers” and hits her daughter, Pat, in the head twice

○ Not a voluntary act because psychologists agreed it wasn’t intended Don't forget about the age old question of counter culture study guide


-People v. Decina 

● Decina has an epileptic seizure in his car and runs over and kills 4 kids ○ He was diagnosed with Epilepsy, aware of his seizures We also discuss several other topics like chapter 6 microbial nutrition and growth

○ Voluntarily got into his car and drove

○ Voluntary act

-Intent is very important

● The more intentional the act, the harsher the punishment

● Status + Act = Voluntary

-Omissions as Criminal Acts 

-Supposed to do something and you didn’t

● First person to arrive at the scene of an accident and you don’t act, you can be charged

-People v. Oliver 

● Oliver buys jewelry from Cornjeo, Cornjeo gets in her car, and they drive back to her house

● Cornjeo asks to borrow a spoon and goes into the bathroom to “shoot up” drugs ○ Oliver knows that he is doing drug

● Cornejo comes out of the bathroom and collapses on the living room floor ● Oliver leaves and goes back to the bar to see her boyfriend

● Oliver’s daughters get home and see Cornejo collapsed on the floor, they drag him out by the shed “incase he became violent when he woke up”

● Oliver gets home hours later and checks on Cornejo

○ Cornejo is blue, not breathing, and flies are attracting to him

● Oliver was convicted, she had the right to act but didn’t

-State v. Miranda Don't forget about the age old question of psc exam

● Miranda, 21, living with girlfriend, 16, and her two children

● Called 911 and took 4 month old into hospital for “choking on milk”

● Doctors found the child had fractured ribs, skull fractures, injury to left arm, rectal tear, and nasal hemorrhages

○ All injuries were seven days to three weeks old

● Miranda was held accountable because he had the right to act but chose not to -Commonwealth v. Pestinakas

● Kly had met with the Pestinakas about pre-arranging his funeral because he had been in the hospital for weakened walls in his esophagus

● Kly got well enough to be discharged and made arrangements to live with the Pestinakas

● Pestinakas cancelled his doctor to come check on him, never picked up his meds, starved and dehydrated him, left him on an enclosed porch, and collected over $30,000 of his money

● Pestinakas were charged for his death


-Actual possession: “banned stuff in your pocket”

-Constructive possession: “in my apartment”

-Knowing possession: doesn’t know it’s illegal to have meth, but know you have meth -Mere possession: have no idea you are in possession of a banned “thing” ● Carrying your friends suitcase that has stolen money in it but you don’t know there’s stolen money in the suitcase

[Chapter 4: The General Principles of Criminal Liability (Mens Rea, Concurrence, Causation)]

-Evil Intent (Mens Rea) 

-”an act doesn’t make the actor guilty, unless his mind is guilty”

-Model Penal Codes (MPC’s) Mental Attitudes 

1. Purposely

2. Knowingly

3. Recklessly

4. Negligently

-State v. Stark 

● Tested positive for HIV

● Knows and still has sexual relations with 3 women and has unprotected sex without telling them

● Guilty for purposely having sex with these woman and exposing them to HIV ○ He said he intended to do it

-State v. Jantzi 

● Jantzi went to the home of Rex, his roommates estranged husband, with her ● Jantzi slashed Rex’s tires with a knife

● Rex is told that his car is being vandalized and proceeds to chase Jantzi down a bike path, while still in possession of the knife

● Jantzi hides in the bushes hoping to have gotten away but Rex jumps on top of Jantzi and is accidentally stabbed by Jantzi

● Jantzi is convicted of assault

○ Acted recklessly because he knew he had a dangerous weapon and that a confrontation would occur, but did not intend to stab him

-Koppersmith v. State 

● Couple gets into a fight

● Cindy tries to go into the house, Koppersmith grabs her, she bites him, and he slings her off the porch

● Cindy falls into the flowers that is lined with bricks and it kills her

● He acted negligently when he pushed her off the porch because he didn’t know there were bricks in the yard

-Liability Without Fault (Strict Liability) 

-Makes accidental injuries a crime

-Strong public interest in protecting public health and safety


● Misdemeanors (running a red light, running a stop sign)


-Mental state will trigger your actions

● Formed by purpose, knowledge, recklessness, or negligence

● Criminal Intent (Mens Rea) triggers a criminal act (Actus Reus), you must have a plan to do something in advance

● Example:

○ You’re waiting at your friend’s house, friend calls you and says to break the lock and go inside and wait for her because it’s cold outside. Once

you are inside you decide to steal the TV. You are not committing

burglary because you had no criminal intent prior to getting inside


-Holding someone accountable for their actions

● Applies only in homicides, bodily harm in assault, and damage to property in malicious mischief and arson

● Must prove causation beyond a reasonable doubt

a. Factual Cause (also called “but for” cause)

b. Legal Cause (also called “proximate” cause)

-Factual Cause (“but for” cause) 

● “But for” cause means if it wasn’t for the offender’s conduct, the result wouldn’t have occurred

● The cause triggered a chain of events that ended in death or injury to a person or damage to property

● Example:

○ I push a huge rock down a hill towards a crowd of people because I want to see them panic and scatter, unfortunately the rock hits and kills 2

people. If I hadn’t pushed the rock they would still be alive.

-Legal Cause (“proximate” cause) 

● A subjective question of fairness

● Is it fair to blame the defendant for the harm triggered by a chain of events her action(s) set in motion?

● Example:

○ Same rock scenario except on the way down, the rock gets stuck against a tree. A year later an earthquake moves the rock and it proceeds down the hill and kills 2 people, now there is an intervening cause (something else) to take into consideration.

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