Deliberation, Responsibility, and Excusing Mistakes of Law

11 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2011 Last revised: 29 Aug 2014

Alexander A. Guerrero

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Philosophy; University of Pennsylvania - Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy

Date Written: April 1, 2011

Abstract

This paper argues against Gideon Yaffe’s defense of the doctrine that mistakes of law should not excuse offered in his paper "Excusing Mistakes of Law." I question Yaffe's strategy for defending the distinction drawn between excuses based on mistakes of law and excuses based on mistakes of fact. In particular, I question whether Yaffe's reliance on the notion of deliberation can do the work he suggests it can in providing a normative defense for the fact that "false beliefs about non-legal facts often excuse, but false beliefs about the law rarely excuse."

Keywords: mistake of fact, mistake of law, deliberation, responsibility, criminal law

Suggested Citation

Guerrero, Alexander A., Deliberation, Responsibility, and Excusing Mistakes of Law (April 1, 2011). Jurisprudence (2014, Forthcoming); NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 11-66. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1911448

Alexander A. Guerrero (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Philosophy ( email )

433 Cohen Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy ( email )

3401 Market Street
Suite 320
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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