Knowledge and Belief as Criminal Law Mental States

13 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2018 Last revised: 6 Dec 2018

See all articles by Kevin Cole

Kevin Cole

University of San Diego School of Law

Date Written: October 31, 2018

Abstract

Given how often they appear in criminal statutes, the mental states of “knowledge” and “belief” are surprisingly undertheorized. This short piece offers some descriptive and normative ideas about why these mental states sometimes are used not simply for grading purposes but rather to distinguish criminal from noncriminal conduct.

Keywords: mens rea, knowledge, belief, recklessness

Suggested Citation

Cole, Kevin L., Knowledge and Belief as Criminal Law Mental States (October 31, 2018). Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, Forthcoming; San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 18-369. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3276376

Kevin L. Cole (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States

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