Key Concepts: corpus delicti, ex post facto, motive, intent, and opportunity

 
Key Concepts: corpus delicti, ex post facto, motive, intent, and opportunity  

Capstone Cases: Illinois v. Lara, California v. Towler, 641 P. 2d 1253 (Cal. 1982), Smith v. Doe, Rogers v. Tennessee, 532  .

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Assignment: In a narrative format for the Complete section, construct one essay which addresses the following points: The minimum requirements for Completes are four (4) scholarly sources including at least one peer reviewed journal article (one published within the last seven years). I expect perfect APA technique and a minimum of 1,600 words of content overall, not including the references section.

The narrative essay should clearly define the key concepts of corpus delicti and ex post facto, motive, intent, and opportunity principles and will apply these principles to the Capstone cases of Illinois v. Lara, California v. Towler, 641 P. 2d 1253 (Cal. 1982), Smith v. Doe, and Rogers v. Tennessee, 532.  Your response will include the overview of the cases and will also need to address each question or statement listed below in an essay format.

In the case of  Illinois v. Lara, A jury found the defendant, Jason Lara, guilty of two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault based on the claim that he sexually penetrated an eight-year-old girl. On appeal, Lara argued that the State failed to prove the corpus delicti of the offense because the State failed to present any evidence corroborating Lara’s confession that he sexually penetrated the alleged victim. Provide some examples of how corpus delicti could have been proven for the more serious sexual assault offense alleged at issue in the case.

Do you believe that corpus delicti serves an important purpose, or should confessions be allowed to stand alone as evidence to support convictions?

Read the court’s opinion in California v. Towler, 641 P. 2d 1253 (Cal. 1982). Discuss how a defendant’s motive, intent, and opportunity can contribute to evidentiary proof that a murder has occurred.

In the capstone Case: Smith v. Doe, the Alaska Sex Offender Registration Act requires convicted sex offenders to register with law enforcement authorities, and much of the information is made public. The U.S. Supreme Court considers whether the registration requirement is a retroactive punishment prohibited by the Ex Post Facto Clause. Do you find that the Alaska registration law is not punitive and therefore not an ex post facto law? Why or why not?

Should restrictions on ex post facto laws apply to administrative procedures, such as parole hearings, or should they only apply to laws that define crimes themselves?

Read and compare the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Rogers v. Tennessee, 532 U.S. 451 (2001), where the Court considered whether a trial court can retroactively alter a common law rule that governs causation in homicide cases. What considerations does the Court identify determining whether to allow a retroactive change to the state’s longstanding common law rule?

Which opinion—majority or dissenting—do you find more legally persuasive?

 Book: Criminal Law Today, Sixth Edition 
            Frank Schmalleger
            Daniel E. Hall

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