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Thread: A hypothetical criminal law case: Who has the right answer?

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    Default A hypothetical criminal law case: Who has the right answer?

    Czar Nicholas wins tickets to a Tchaikovsky and the Destroyers Concert from a local radio station. Lenin and Trotsky want the tickets, and decide to steal them from Nicholas. They hide behind some bushes and when Nicholas walks by, they jump him. While Trotsky holds Nicholas down, Lenin, instead of grabbing the tickets, whips out his Swiss Army knife and slits Nicholas' throat. Is Trotsky liable as an accompice to Nicholas' death?

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    Trotsky is a liable accomplice and would most likely be charged in the death of Nicholas, along with Lenin, even though he's not the one to actually slit his throat. Happens very frequently actually- people thinking they're just going to steal something, when the person they're with decides to do more. In most states they have a statute for 'Accessory before (or after) the fact to capital murder." Trotsky could also be charged with First Degree Murder (or any of the lesser charges.)

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    I do believe Elisa speaks the truth...nice hypothetical though Big.

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    Elisa is right. This is also sometimes known as felony-murder. In real life it can get pretty interesting. We recently had a big case in Denver over this issue--the facts which I would detail except that I don't remember them all. So yes, pay attention to the company you keep and choose wisely.
    Last edited by matclone; 04-13-2007 at 04:27 PM.

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    You see, my sources tell me Trotsky can only be charged as an accomplice to the robbery but not to the death of Nicholas because he did not have the MENS REA (guilty mind) for the murder.

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    If felony-murder is the law in Trotsky's state, your sources are wrong. The guilty mind requirement is met by way of his participation in the felony.
    Last edited by matclone; 04-13-2007 at 04:43 PM.

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    "Murder is the unlawful and intentional killing of a human being by another. The maximum penalty for murder is usually life imprisonment, and in jurisdictions with capital punishment, the death penalty may be imposed. As with most legal terms, the precise definition varies between jurisdictions. For example, in some parts of the United States anyone who commits a serious crime during which any person dies may be prosecuted for murder (see felony murder). Many jurisdictions recognize a distinction between murder which is premeditated, and manslaughter."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder

    Taken from Wikipedia- because I didn't feel like typing my own version!

    So you see, if he committing a 'serious crime,' ie. Robbery, and death occurred, he could be charged with murder.

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    True, the felony of robbery but not of murder. Lenin killed Nicholas unexpectedly and Trotsky only wanted the tickets. Lenin gets the murder sentence while Trotsky only the felony of robbery.

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    The chances of Trotsky being convicted of First Degree Murder are very slim in this case, however, he could be charged with it. And like the wonderful American Justice System- he has the option of going before a jury of his peers and roll the dice that way and like I said, I would bet he would not be convicted of first degree murder.

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