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Minimum Culpability Requirements Under the Model Penal Code

This is an elementary lesson that introduces the concept of default rules in the Model Penal Code. It focuses on several sections of MPC § 2.02 relating to minimum culpability requirements. After completing this lesson, students should understand that, except in rare cases, the MPC requires a state of mind as to every material element of an offense, and that generally recklessness is the minimum level of culpability required. Students will also obtain a working knowledge of the terminology of the MPC, including elements, material elements and the various states of mind. They will also be introduced to the hierarchy of states of mind expressed in § 2.02(5). This lesson uses sample statutes and scenarios to allow students to practice applying the default rules and hopefully to provide an understanding of why default rules are desirable.

Lesson Completion Time

35 minutes
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Lesson Authors

Lesson ID

CRIM22