Welcome

Welcome to my Law blog specifically intended as an aid to law students. I will post comments and white papers, from time to time, and I am happy to carry on conversations with students who are in need of help in law school.


I am most conservative and appropriate in my approach so if you comment and/or have questions to ask, please do so with an equal degree of appropriateness.



I am a Professor of Law at Concord Law School, an Internet Law School located in Los Angeles, though I live, teach and otherwise work out of Lakewood, Colorado, resting up against the foothills just west of Denver.

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I have no set schedule of posting, but I hope you will check in from time to time.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

6 – Theft Crimes (Robbery)

6 – Theft Crimes (Robbery)

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING IS TAKEN FROM SOME OF MY CLASS NOTES, SOME OF WHICH IS MY OWN PERSONAL WORK AND SOME OF WHICH BELONGS TO CONCORD LAW SCHOOL.  IT IS POSTED TO HELP MY IL STUDENTS IN PARTICULAR.  IT CANNOT BE DISSEMINATED WITHOUT EXPRESS, WRITTEN PERMISSION.

Roughly speaking, robbery is larceny plus violence or intimidation. Here are the elements: 1) Taking (trespassory); 2) And carrying away; 3) Personal property; 4) Of another; 5) With intent to permanently deprive; 6) By means of violence or intimidation (force or threat of force).

Note at first that robbery is a specific intent crime. The taking must coincide with the intent to permanently deprive. If not, not robbery. So, if the intent is a joke, no robbery.

Certainly where a weapon is used, there is force or the threat of force, but what if the perpetrator pretended to have a weapon? Whether or not the perpetrator is actually armed or not is unimportant. The essence of robbery is in putting the victim in fear of an imminent harmful contact (assault). So as long as the victim reasonably believed the perpetrator is armed, that is enough.

Professor Doug Holden
© 2010. Douglas S. Holden. All rights Reserved.

2 comments:

  1. Professor Holden,

    I have searched my notes and seem to be lacking on the "third party killer rule". Can you point me in the right direction?

    M. Webb

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Redline or Third-Party Killer Rule

    From Commonwealth v. Redline, 391 Pa. 486, 137 A.2d 472 (1958).
    Criminal Law, 4th Ed., Wayne R. LaFave, Hornbook Series, Thompson/West
    Section 6.4, n. 143, p. 354.
    Section 14.5, n. 54, 57, 59, p. 751,752.
    Section 15.4, n. 48, p. 799.
    Modern Criminal Law, 4th Ed., Wayne R. LaFave, American Casebook Series, Thompson/West
    Chapter 5, Section 5, # 6, p. 333.

    Felony murder is a form of vicarious liability – e.g. where A & B rob a store and A kills the clerk. Is B criminally liable for the act of A? (Make sure you refer back to a prior blog on this site where we discussed felony murder as one of the forms of malice to so murder.)

    1. The strict, traditional common law view. This is the minority position. Here, felony murder is any death that was a proximate, foreseeable result of committing the felony. If this is the case, B can be convicted of felony and perhaps first degree murder. (See below)
    2. The modern (majority) rule: Felony murder does not apply when a third party, such as a police officer, bystander or a victim of the felony, commits a justified homicide, that is, kills the felon. What happens when a third party (non-felon) kills an innocent third party? Here, a majority still holds that when a third party (non-felon) mistakenly kills another innocent third party, the death of the third party will be considered a foreseeable result of the felony. A small minority does not allow the felony murder rule to apply anytime a non-felon is the killer.

    Make sure that you take some time to plot the foregoing out on a chart and/or outline it. MEMORIZE it. Explain it to anyone who will listen to you. THIS IS A FAVORITE OF BAR EXAMINERS!

    Let’s try an example: Suppose two robbers have left the scene of a convenience store robbery and the clerk of the store follows the two robbers out of the store and shoots and kills one of them. Using our A & B example above, the store clerk shoots and kills robber A. Is robber B, the surviving co-felon, criminally liable for death of robber A, his co felon?

    It might surprise you, so make sure you start with the strict, traditional common law view. Then answer under the modern view.

    You would conclude “Yes” under the strict, traditional common law view and “No” under the modern view since the killing of the other robber was caused by a third party (non felon). This is an exception to the common law felony murder rule. It is called the Redline Rule (from a case where the defendant’s name was Redline) or the 3rd Party Killer rule. So, at common law, all felons are vicariously liable for a death caused during a felony. The modern rule – the redline rule or the 3rd party killer rule – is that there is no liability if a third party kills one of the felons, so here, the surviving felons are not liable.


    I hope this helps.

    Professor Holden

    ReplyDelete