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Homicide (Causation - Part II)

This is one of a series of lessons on homicide, and one of two lessons on the topic of causation as applied in homicide cases. Although some crimes require only a mens rea and an actus reus (and, perhaps, an attendance circumstance), other crimes are "result" crimes in that they also require proof that defendant "caused" a particular result. Homicide is the quintessential result crime. This lesson builds on an earlier lesson dealing with causation in homicide cases by focusing on the Model Penal Code's approach to causation. This lesson is intended for students who have studied the MPC's causation provisions in class, and who wish to refine their understanding of the topic.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss the Model Penal Code's approach to causation.
  2. State the provisions and elements of MPC § 2.03.
  3. Define the "but for" test.
  4. Identify the MPC four basic mental states in relation to the issues of causation.
  5. Analyze the MPC approach to strict liability offenses that is different than for crimes that involve the mens rea of purpose, knowledge, recklessness or negligence.
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