Mens Rea: What is it and why does it matter?

Criminal Intent

mens rea, criminal intent, specific intent, general intent, malum prohibitum, malum in seI listened to the podcast below, featuring Robert Alt of the Buckeye Institute in Ohio, with great interest. Indeed, Alt focused on a topic that the academy discusses extensively, mens rea (or criminal intent).Alt addressed a specific problem of modern penal laws, which he refers to as malum prohibitum. In particular, Alt spoke about modern criminal laws defined without the element of criminal intent. Although strict liability regulations may appeal to lawmakers, they can yield absurd and devastating results. Alt illustrated the point Read more

Definitions, N.J. Criminal Code, N.J.S.A. 2c:1-14


definitions, n.j.s.a. 2c:1-14In the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, these terms have the following definitions, unless a different meaning plainly applies:

Statute includes the Constitution and a local law or ordinance of a political subdivision of the State.

Act or action means a bodily movement whether voluntary or involuntary.

Omission means a failure to act.

Conduct means an action, omission, and Read more

Lesser Included Offenses under New Jersey Law

Lesser Included OffensesIn an unpublished opinion, the Superior Court, Appellate Division of New Jersey reversed a jury’s guilty verdict for a defendant charged with third-degree terroristic threats, second-degree burglary, and fourth degree stalking. State v. Jose Ortiz. The panel held the judge violated the doctrine of Lesser Included Offenses by failing to charge simple assault at trial.

The news story appeared on nj dot com. This post will summarize the legal doctrine the panel applied to this case. Read more