Criminal Justice


            From the story above, Joe has committed common law larceny. Larceny is described as the wrongful taking of another person’s property. It involves taking someone else’s property with the intention of depriving the owner of its possession. Additionally, larceny involves trespassory taking, whereby a person has no permission to access the property (Brody, et al., 2001). It is also important to note that in order for a person to have possession over something, they must have the power to act over it. Moreover, the person being charged with larceny must have taken control over the property without considering how long they have had it. Additionally, the defendant must have moved the property from its original placement. In this case, Joe with no doubt committed larceny. He took the CD without permission with the intention of keeping it permanently. By having listened to the CD, he gained control over Sue’s property. Additionally, he also moved it from Sue’s house to his’ where he played and listened to it. In summary, Joe is guilty of larceny under common law.

Burglary is constituted by several elements that must be satisfied if the defendant is to be found guilty. Burglary is defined as the illegal breaking and entering the home of another person’s dwelling without his or her consent and with the intent of committing a crime (Brody et al., 2001). Breaking largely involves gaining illegal entry into another person’s dwelling. It does not matter if the person used force or not as long as they gained entry into the property. Entering usually follows the breaking act whereby a defendant physically goes into the property. Entry can be proved even if only a part of the body gained entry into the building. In common law, burglary is defined in terms of breaking and entry at night although daytime burglaries are also prosecutable. Additionally, a burglary accusation must prove that the person had the intent to commit a felony under common law. In this case, Joe satisfies all the above elements except the last one. He broke and entered Sue’s house but did not have the intention to commit crime. In summary, it is possible to prosecute Joe of a breakage and entry case but not with burglary.

Arson is constituted by the act of burning of another person’s dwelling or any real property with a malicious intent (Brody et al., 2001). In Washington, DC, an accusation of arson must prove several elements. First, a person must have burnt or attempted to burn a building. Secondly, the property that was burnt must have been owned by someone else. Burning one’s own real property does not constitute arson (Brody et al., 2001). Additionally, the act of arson must have been intentional and not by any means accidental. Moreover, the defendant must have intended to commit a crime. In this case, Joe did not commit arson, as he did not light the fire intentionally. Additionally, he did not have any criminal intent when he put the cookie sheet into the microwave. Under DC law, it is impossible to prove that Joe committed arson.

Under the Model Penal Code, manslaughter is divided into two categories generally referred to as criminal homicide. The first case is where the death of another person occurs from the reckless actions of the defendant. This is what is referred to as involuntary manslaughter under common law. Involuntary manslaughter involves the killing of another person unlawfully and unintentionally. A person found guilty of involuntary manslaughter must have acted carelessly thus putting the life of another person in danger. Involuntary manslaughter can be committed while a person is in the process of a lawful or an unlawful act (Brody et al., 2001). In this case, Joe acted negligently when he put a metal sheet into the microwave. The action resulted to Sue’s death. The law expects an ordinary person to know what things put other’s life at risk. Therefore, under the Model Penal code, Joe committed an involuntary criminally negligent manslaughter.

Under the Model Penal Code, manslaughter can either occur when a person’s actions unintentionally result in the death of another (Brody et al., 2001). In one of the forms of manslaughter under this code, a person must have voluntarily killed another. When a person’s actions in the heat of passion result in the death of another, this is usually treated as manslaughter. Additionally, when the defendant in a murder case was genuinely provoked by the victim, the charge can be reduced to manslaughter. Additionally, a killing that was committed by a person under mental or emotional duress is taken as manslaughter. Under the case being analyzed here, Joe did not intend to kill Sue and the purpose for his action was different from this. Additionally, the law does not require that a person should save another in the case of danger not unless it is their duty to do so. For example, if Joe was a firefighter, it was his duty to try to save Sue in the burning house. In this view, Joe did not commit manslaughter and can only be charged with the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter as seen above.

The Model Penal Code defines murder as the purposeful and unlawful killing of another person (Brody et al., 2001). A charge of murder must prove beyond doubt that a person had intent to kill. The lack of such evidence reduces the case to manslaughter. Additionally, when a person’s actions are seen as extremely negligent or reckless, it is possible to charge a person with murder. Additionally, a person must have acted with certain awareness in order to be charged with murder. The Model Penal Code gives another form of murder called felony murder (Brody et al., 2001). This is where a person committing a crime acts in a reckless manner, which results in the death of another person. In this case, Joe did not commit murder as he acted unknowingly and without the intent to kill. In conclusion, Joe committed larceny and involuntary manslaughter. On the other hand, arson, burglary, manslaughter and murder cases against him are not applicable.


Brody, D. C., Acker, J. R., & Logan, W. A. (2001). Criminal law. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers.

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