corpus delicti of murder
1. Sometimes people mistakenly say that the body of a murder victim provides the corpus delicti of the crime of murder. What actually constitutes the corpus delicti of murder?
2. What is the historical basis of the ex post facto and bill of attainder provisions, and why would they have application in today’s legal system?
3. Should vicarious criminal liability exist? What are the implications of holding a corporation liable for the actions of its employees? What about holding parents responsible for the actions of their children? Who benefits from such liability, and who can be harmed by it?
4. Narcissa, Carolyn, and Henry are drinking in a bar. All three were laid off from their jobs as bank tellers at 4EverSafe Bank three months earlier. They remain unemployed in spite of serious efforts by all three to find employment. Unhappy, broke, and drunk, the discussion turns to quick ways to make money. Narcissa comments, “We should rob 4EverSafe. We know how to do it.” Carolyn responds, “Really. 4 o’clock is the right time, right before the money is moved into the vault and the guards are transitioning.” Henry nods and says, “That is the right time,” and waves to the server to bring him another beer. The conversation about this subject continued for 15 minutes. During that time, they discussed the timing, point of entry, how they would disguise themselves, and where they would hide the stolen money. An hour later they all went their separate ways. The next day Narcissa called Carolyn and asked her to go with her to the store to purchase the disguises they had discussed in the bar, which they did.
While at the store, they decided that they would also need weapons for the robbery, so they each applied for a handgun license. They picked up the handguns together two days later after the background checks were completed. That evening, they met at Narcissa’s home to further discuss the plans and texted the following message to Henry from Carolyn’s phone: 2moro is the day in re money plan. B @ location at 3: 50. Nrssa & Crlyn. On her way home after leaving Narcissa’s, Carolyn was stopped by a police officer for speeding. He observed the mask, the new handgun, and a bag in the back seat of her car. He arrested her for the traffic violation and obtained a search warrant to seize the items in the back seat and to search through her phone. After reading the text sent to Henry, the officer concluded that she was a member of a conspiracy to commit a robbery.
After consulting with an attorney, Carolyn agreed to confess in exchange for a reduced charge. The next day, Narcissa arrived at the bank at the appointed time. Undeterred by the absence of Henry and Carolyn, she donned her mask, put the gun in her purse, and entered the bank, only to be surprised by the police. She was arrested, and all three— Narcissa, Carolyn, and Henry— were charged with attempted bank robbery and conspiracy to commit a robbery.
a. Applying the mere-preparation test for attempt, has Narcissa committed attempted robbery/conspiracy to rob? Has Carolyn? Has Henry? Explain.
b. Applying the overt-act test for attempt, has Narcissa committed attempted robbery/ conspiracy to rob? Has Carolyn? Has Henry? Explain.
c. Applying the substantial test for attempt, has Narcissa committed attempted robbery/conspiracy to rob? Has Carolyn? Has Henry? Explain.