mens rea

(redirected from Guilty mind)
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Mens Rea

As an element of criminal responsibility, a guilty mind; a guilty or wrongful purpose; a criminal intent. Guilty knowledge and wilfulness.

A fundamental principle of Criminal Law is that a crime consists of both a mental and a physical element. Mens rea, a person's awareness of the fact that his or her conduct is criminal, is the mental element, and actus reus, the act itself, is the physical element.

The concept of mens rea developed in England during the latter part of the common-law era (about the year 1600) when judges began to hold that an act alone could not create criminal liability unless it was accompanied by a guilty state of mind. The degree of mens rea required for a particular common-law crime varied. Murder, for example, required a malicious state of mind, whereas Larceny required a felonious state of mind.

Today most crimes, including common-law crimes, are defined by statutes that usually contain a word or phrase indicating the mens rea requirement. A typical statute, for example, may require that a person act knowingly, purposely, or recklessly.

Sometimes a statute creates criminal liability for the commission or omission of a particular act without designating a mens rea. These are called Strict Liability statutes. If such a statute is construed to purposely omit criminal intent, a person who commits the crime may be guilty even though he or she had no knowledge that his or her act was criminal and had no thought of committing a crime. All that is required under such statutes is that the act itself is voluntary, since involuntary acts are not criminal.

Occasionally mens rea is used synonymously with the words general intent, although general intent is more commonly used to describe criminal liability when a defendant does not intend to bring about a particular result. Specific Intent, another term related to mens rea, describes a particular state of mind above and beyond what is generally required.

mens rea

(menz ray-ah) n. Latin for a guilty mind, or criminal intent in committing the act. (See: intent, crime)

mens rea

‘guilty mind’, the term used to describe the mental element required to constitute a crime. Generally it requires that the accused meant or intended to do wrong or at least knew he was doing wrong. However, the precise mental element varies from crime to crime.
References in periodicals archive ?
Before Bozza, the Court issued seemingly diametrically opposite decisions in the early 1940s that address when providers of goods or services may share the users' guilty mind. Although these cases address conspiracy, they have implications for the law of aiding and abetting as well.
criminal law, and culpability centers on a guilty mind. So to intend
This economic understanding of the offense and Stein's market-focused criterion offer one approach to identifying clear signals of a guilty mind that can define liability in a traditionally murky area of the law.
In legal circles, they call that evidence of a guilty mind."
Much controversy surrounds the rationality and usefulness of this distinction, but the point for present purposes is that when there is a requirement to prove a certain state of mind (the so-called principle of ("mens rea" or "guilty mind"), it is a right of the accused under section 7 of the Charter to have this element of the offense proved against him or her.
Mens rae means "a guilty mind." Without that "guilty mind" you can't be convicted of most criminal offences.
Criminal statutes that create substantive offenses involving body armor require a defendant to possess a guilty mind (mens rea) while simultaneously committing a wrongful deed (actus reus).
By the same token, the facts which your customer is aware of at the time of the shooting are discoverable because, as the attorneys will argue to the jury, "The key to finding a man guilty of murder is the guilty mind, the culpable mindset.
They speculate on whether Moosbrugger possessed a "guilty mind" or instead was lacking mens rea (or a guilty mind) due to serious mental illness.
Cameron told the Jewish Chronicle: "You have to think of the mens rea (Latin for 'guilty mind').
But stories alone may not offer the level of precision that adjudicating a guilty mind requires, and it is worth considering whether articulating a more distinct factual predicate for liability, and then designing adjudication to privilege an analytic approach to identifying that predicate, could produce more accurate results.