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Aspects of Criminal Responsibility

Crimes of attempt, conspiracy, and solicitation are known as inchoate or unfinished crimes. Crime commitment is a six-step process; these steps include the idea of committing a crime, its evaluation, decision-making, preparation, initiation, and completion of the crime (Portman, 2021). The first, second, and third stages of the process are not punishable – the idea and decision cannot be criminalized; however, stages four, five, and especially six are punishable. Inchoate crimes represent stages four and five of the mentioned process. While it is not that difficult to understand why an attempt to commit a crime is clearly a punishable act, there are more issues regarding conspiracy and solicitation. It can be difficult to differentiate between ideas or words and actual solemn agreements to commit the crime, resulting in premature interventions. The same can be said about solicitation – differentiation between the earnest attempt to force somebody to commit a crime and a mere idea can be challenging in blurred borderline cases.

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Actus reus is “the voluntary act that is at the core of a crime,” and mens rea is “the evil state of mind of the person committing the guilty act” (Study.com, 2019). Most offenses in criminal law are described as having both of these elements – thinking about the crime does not make one guilty, and it is rare to commit a crime without a guilty mind. Establishing and proving actus reus can be a quite precise and specific procedure that is in most cases sufficient. However, doing the same regarding mens rea seems to be more challenging as it is necessary to prove what a person had in mind. There may be a wide range of cases where a person may successfully lie about their state of mind, or the investigation can come to wrong conclusions due to external circumstances.

References

Portman, J. (2021). Incomplete crimes: Conspiracy, attempt, and solicitation. Lawyers.com. Web.

Study.com. (2019). Mens rea & actus reus: Concurrence & examples. Web.

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StudyCorgi. 2023. "Aspects of Criminal Responsibility." January 21, 2023. https://studycorgi.com/aspects-of-criminal-responsibility/.

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StudyCorgi. (2023) 'Aspects of Criminal Responsibility'. 21 January.

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