Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1934424
 


 



Felony Murder and Mens Rea Default Rules: A Study in Statutory Interpretation


Guyora Binder


SUNY Buffalo Law School

2000

Buffalo Criminal Law Review, Vol. 4, pp. 399-485, 2000
Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2000-001

Abstract:     
The Model Penal Code's influential approach to culpability included default rules assigning a culpable mental state to every conduct, circumstance and result element of each offense. Such rules have been enacted in half of the American states. The Code's drafters also rejected what they understood to be the felony murder rule's imposition of "a form of strict liability for... homicide." Yet almost every state has retained some form of the felony murder rule and so repudiated the Model Penal Code's proposed reform. Because the Model Penal Code's disapproval of felony murder flows from its general disapproval of strict liability, the adoption of the default rules and the retention of felony murder liability are inconsistent at the level of principle. This article explores this tension by examining the applicability of culpability default rules to felony murder provisions in the jurisdictions with both. It concludes that in many of these jurisdictions, default rules should be understood to condition felony murder on negligence or recklessness.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 88

Keywords: criminal law, homicide, felony murder, culpability, statutory interpretation

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Date posted: September 29, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Binder, Guyora, Felony Murder and Mens Rea Default Rules: A Study in Statutory Interpretation (2000). Buffalo Criminal Law Review, Vol. 4, pp. 399-485, 2000; Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2000-001. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1934424

Contact Information

Guyora Binder (Contact Author)
SUNY Buffalo Law School ( email )
528 O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
United States
716-645-2673 (Phone)
716-645-2640 (Fax)
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