Criminal Law Multiple Choice Questions
Question 1 is based on the following fact situation.
1. In which of the following fact situations is defendant Smith most likely to be found guilty of the crime of larceny?
(A) Smith, with the intent to steal Bob's Chinese vase, travels to Bob's house and, finding the front door unlocked, enters Bob's living room where Smith knows Bob keeps the Chinese vase. Unbeknownst to Smith, Bob had taken the vase to Martha's gallery for a ten day Rare Chinese Art Exhibit. Smith sits down in Bob's living room and watches a 30 minute television program and then quietly leaves Bob's house.
(B) Smith a grocery clerk at check stand five of Carl's Supermarket was on duty on Saturday, May 15. Smith had been experiencing hard times lately because his wife had divorced him and he was trying to make payments on his house and car and also keep up with his child support obligations. Gertrude, a customer at Carl's Supermarket, purchased various items amounting to the total of seventeen dollars and sixty-five cents. Gertrude gave Smith a twenty-dollar bill for the groceries. Smith placed the twenty-dollar bill on top of the register and then returned two dollars and thirty-five cents to Gertrude. Before Smith turned to put the twenty-dollar bill into the cash register he decided that he needed the cash for himself. Smith surreptitiously pocketed the twenty in his pants pocket. Smith took the twenty home with him that day.
(C) Smith, with the intent to steal Barbara's new mink coat, travels to Barbara's house and enters through a side window after breaking it. Unfortunately, Barbara had decided to wear her mink coat to the ball that evening. After Smith saw that the mink coat was not there he remembered that Barbara said something about going out that evening. Smith decided to wait until Barbara returned home so he could then overpower her and take the coat from her. Smith went to the kitchen, prepared a sandwich, ate it, played cards, and awaited Barbara's return. By 11:30 p.m. Smith, tired of waiting for Barbara, decided to leave. He left through the open broken window.
(D) Smith, with the intent to steal, always had his eye on Herb's 1990 Pontiac Grand Prix. Several weeks went by and then one day Herb decided that maybe before he actually stole Herb's car it might be better if he knew exactly what the car was like. Smith believed that it would be a waste of time to steal a car that could not handle nicely around curves in the road, or that could not go at least 70 m.p.h. on the highway. With that, Smith asked Herb if he could borrow Herb's Pontiac. Herb, without hesitation, agreed, but added, "Please have it back by 12:00 midnight because I worry about my new car." Smith said, "No problem." Smith took the car but kept it out all night and did not return it until 9:30 a.m. the next morning.
Criminal law multiple choice Question 2 is based on the following fact situation.
Dan and Garp were competitors in the car rental business. Dan's business was fairly large and he operated it out of a commercial lot located at the airport of City. Garp, on the other hand, was just starting out. Garp had only six cars which he rented out. Garp's business was done out of his house with up to three cars parked in the garage to his house and the remaining cars parked outside of his house alongside the garage. Of course, there were occasions when all of Garp's cars were rented and he had none on his property at all. Dan knew that Garp's business was increasing and that this was putting a dent in the rental market. Dan vowed to put Garp out of business or at least cripple his efforts to rent cars. At 10 p.m. on last Tuesday evening, Dan went to Garp's house with the specific intent to commit felony crimes, including the common law crimes of larceny, robbery, or arson, and also competitive advantage, a statutory felony in this jurisdiction. Dan jumped the side fence to Garp's house and proceeded straight to the back door of Garp's attached garage. Finding the door open, Dan didn't hesitate to enter. Once inside, Dan thought about stealing the automobiles which were in Garp's garage. There were two autos parked inside the garage and the keys were on a key board located on the wall. Just before Dan picked up the keys, he spotted a five gallon gas can sitting on the floor. A light bulb flashed in Dan's head. He thought for a moment and then concluded that he could only drive one car away. On the other hand, if he was to burn Garp's car, garage, and house, he might be able to force Garp out of business. With that, Dan quickly poured gasoline out of the can. But just after Dan began pouring the gasoline he heard a noise from inside the living room. It sounded like footsteps. Dan panicked. He quickly took a match out of his pocket, lit the match, and threw it at the small puddle of gasoline on the ground. The gasoline did catch fire, but it only created a flame that was large enough to scorch the wall and burn a section of Garp's work bench. Dan ran out the back door and headed for home. Immediately after Dan got out the back door, Garp went into the garage, saw the small fire, and quickly put it out with the fire extinguisher which he kept nearby.
2. If Dan is charged with common law arson only, how should the court rule?
(A) Guilty, but only if the fire had burned Garp's dwelling house.
(B) Guilty, because the fire Dan set was sufficient to constitute common law arson.
(C) Not guilty, but only if the fire did not burn Garp's dwelling house.
(D) Not guilty, because Garp put the fire out.
Criminal law multiple choice Question 3 is based on the following fact situation.
Mary booked a flight on a US AIR airplane which was scheduled to fly from Los Angeles to San Francisco on Friday, February 16. Mary was a businesswoman who infrequently took airplane trips within California to attend business meetings and other work-related events. On this particular day Mary arrived at the airport in Los Angeles with plenty of time to catch the plane. Mary, being very nervous about her meeting in San Francisco, was smoking fervently the entire morning. At 12:50 p.m. the plane, loaded with passengers, raced down the runway bound for San Francisco. The stewardess informed all passengers about some safety precautions and also stated that the flight would only be 52 minutes in duration. Mary, feeling nervous and apprehensive about the meeting, made her way to the lavatory located in the rear of the plane. Since the lavatory was unoccupied, Mary went right in. While using the lavatory facilities, Mary noticed a sign which stated, "Smoking Is Prohibited On This Flight." Mary also noticed another sign which read, "Tampering With Lavatory Smoke Alarms Is A Crime. Violators Will Be Punished." Believing that a cigarette might calm her nerves, Mary immediately produced a cigarette from her purse and lit it. As Mary was enjoying the renewed and momentary relaxation which the nicotine gave her, the lavatory smoke alarm sounded. A chill went down Mary's spine. Immediately thereafter, a stewardess was banging on the outside of the lavatory door demanding that Mary open it. Mary complied and was immediately arrested by the airline employee. When Mary arrived in San Francisco the stewardess led Mary to the US AIR boarding counter where two Federal Agents, working out of the San Francisco International Airport Office, handcuffed Mary and informed her that she was being charged with the violation of a federal statute which read, "It shall be a federal crime for any person to smoke any material on an airline flight when such airline has informed said person that 'Smoking Is Prohibited On This Flight.'" As a result of the charge against her, Mary has been summoned into Federal Court, located in San Francisco, California. All of Mary's appearances have been made in San Francisco even though Mary resides in Los Angeles, California. At Mary's initial court appearance she argued that she could not be charged with the violation of the federal statute and be summoned into Federal Court because she did not know that what she was charged with was a violation of federal law.
3. If the judge properly holds Mary to answer the charges against her it will be because
(A) Lack of knowledge regarding federal territorial jurisdiction will not relieve one of being held to answer for a charged violation of federal statute.
(B) Lack of knowledge regarding federal territorial jurisdiction is only a defense to a specific intent crime.
(C) Mary may be properly held to answer for the charged violation in the territorial jurisdiction in which she is alleged to have committed the crime.
(D) Mary has no right to object to the territorial jurisdiction in which she is summoned to answer for the charged offense.
Criminal law multiple choice Question 4 is based on the following fact situation.
Johnny just finished drinking four Gin Martinis at Bob's Bar. It was twelve noon. Bob didn't know that Johnny had already consumed two shots of whisky before he arrived at Bob's Bar at 11:40 a.m. that Monday morning. When Johnny had finished his drinks he thanked Bob and headed for the door. While making his way for the car, Johnny thought about how much he hated his job, his home, and his life. Johnny repeated to himself the words, "Life sucks!" All of his depression was attributed to his girlfriend leaving him three days earlier. Johnny knew it. He didn't want to admit it. He tried to blame his depression on other things but he knew deep down inside that it was Julie that was getting him down. He was having a hard time resigning himself to the fact that she was gone. Just then it dawned on Johnny that he had to be at work. He quickly jumped into his car and sped off. Johnny was intoxicated but he didn't realize that he was driving at excessive speeds and in an erratic manner. Johnny worked in Houston, Texas. As he was traveling through town on his way to work he decided to run a few stop signs and red lights "to save alittle time." As Johnny was traveling at a speed of approximately sixty-five miles per hour he saw a Mazda RX-7 automobile appear in the intersection before him. Johnny had no time to stop. He hit the Mazda automobile. The Mazda, in turn, went careening into a few people who were crossing the street. Mary Gilbert, a thirty-six-year old woman, was one person who was crossing the street. Mary died immediately. Several other people were severely injured and required hospitalization. Johnny walked away with only minor bruises, and a pair of handcuffs. The Houston City Police Department arrested Johnny and has taken him into custody.
4. Which legal theory of criminal liability would be most applicable under the circumstances?
(B) Depraved-heart murder
(C) Involuntary manslaughter
Criminal law multiple choice Questions 5 - 7 are based on the following fact situations. Read each fact situation and then choose the most serious offense for which the defendant may properly be convicted. Your choices are
(B) Felony murder
(C) Voluntary manslaughter
(D) Involuntary manslaughter
Criminal law multiple choice question 5
5. Defendant and Neighbor are neighbors in an apartment building. Neither has liked the other very much. Defendant especially dislikes Neighbor because Defendant believes that Neighbor, a single woman, is trying to steal the love and affection of Defendant's husband away from her. One day the two of them get into a mutual disagreement and fight. During the fight Defendant forms the intent to kill Neighbor. Defendant quickly grabs a crescent wrench which was lying nearby and strikes three quick blows to Neighbor's head. Neighbor dies before the ambulance arrives.
Criminal law multiple choice question 6
6. Defendant was an epileptic. Defendant loved to drive his automobile and, indeed, Defendant thought an automobile to be an essential mode of transportation in modern day society. Although Defendant was told by several physicians that he was subject to, and would have, epileptic seizures he nevertheless continued to drive his automobile. Sure enough, two weeks ago Defendant left the shopping mall and was on his way home when he suffered an epileptic seizure. Defendant's car careened into a hamburger stand and killed six people. Eight others were wounded.
Criminal law multiple choice question 7
7. Defendant was a shopkeeper in a medium-sized city. Defendant had been in business about six years when he was first contacted by Deputy. Deputy was a Sheriff's Officer who had been on the force for two years. Deputy was corrupt. She began demanding that Defendant pay to her "trust fund" the sum of fifty dollars per week as "protection money." Defendant refused to do so. One day Defendant was driving his automobile toward home. Deputy pulled Defendant over for no apparent reason. When Defendant asked Deputy what was up she said, "You're under arrest. I'm taking you in." Defendant became extremely upset. Defendant knew that he had committed no crime. When Deputy approached Defendant to put the handcuffs on, Defendant threw three quick punches. Two to the abdomen and one to the head. Defendant got in his car and fled the scene. Deputy bled to death.
Criminal law multiple choice answer 1. (C) Smith is guilty of larceny only in hypothetical fact pattern (C) above. Thus, answer choice (C) is the correct answer. In fact pattern (C), Smith committed larceny when he ate a sandwich which belonged to Barbara. Under the common law, larceny consisted of (1) the trespassory taking, (2) and carrying away (3) of the personal property (4) of another (5) with the specific intent to steal the same. Answer choice (A) is incorrect because Smith never obtained any personal property of another, nor did he carry any property away. Answer choice (B) is incorrect because Smith would be guilty of the crime of embezzlement, rather than larceny, when he took his employer's property. Answer choice (D) is incorrect because Smith merely borrowed the car and had no intent to steal it, or permanently deprive the owner of the property.
Criminal law multiple choice answer 2. (B) The correct answer under these facts is answer choice (B) which states that Dan should be found guilty of common law arson. Under the common law, arson consisted of the (1) malicious (2) burning (3) of the dwelling house (4) of another. Students should also remember the rule that the slightest charring is sufficient to satisfy the "burning" element. Furthermore, Garp's garage is attached to the house. This "structure," including Garp's house and garage, is considered Garp's "dwelling house." Once the flame scorched the wall, the crime of arson was completed. Students should also note that the crime of burglary was not present under these facts as there was no "breaking" present. Because the fire here burned Garp's dwelling house, answer choices (A), (C), and (D) are incorrect.
Criminal law multiple choice answer 3. (A) Knowledge of federal territorial jurisdictional boundaries is not a defense to this federal criminal statute. The fact that Mary did not know that it was a federal crime to smoke on the plane as she did will not relieve her of liability for violation of this federal criminal statute. Unless the statute clearly states that the mental state must include knowledge of federal territorial boundaries, or that the act is a federal crime, this knowledge, or lack thereof, is not relevant and does not need to be proved by the prosecution, nor does it constitute a defense which the defendant may use. Very rarely, if ever, will a federal criminal statute specify that the defendant must have this specific intent or knowledge. Commonly the federal statute merely states what act is made criminal and the possible punishment. In these situations, lack of knowledge regarding federal territorial jurisdiction will not relieve one from being held to answer for a charged violation of federal law. Thus, answer (A) is correct. Answer choices (B), (C), and (D) are all incorrect answer picks as they are either incorrect statements of law, or are false statements under these facts.
Criminal law multiple choice answer 4. (B) Under these circumstances the most applicable legal theory would be depraved-heart murder. Answer choice (B) is correct. LaFave and Scott state that "Extremely negligent conduct, which creates what a reasonable man would realize to be not only an unjustifiable but also a very high degree of risk of death or serious bodily injury to another or to others - though unaccompanied by any intent to kill or do serious bodily injury - and which actually causes the death of another, may constitute murder." LaFave and Scott, Criminal Law, at p. 617. Furthermore, in the case of State vs. Snyder (1984) 311 N.C. 391, 317 S.E.2d 394, it was held that the defendant's driving of an automobile at the speed of sixty to seventy miles per hour involved a type of danger which could be classified as sufficient to constitute "depraved-heart murder." Answer (B) is the most correct answer according to the above discussion. Answer choice (A) could be argued as correct because Johnny's actions constituted a type of murder, but answer choice (B) is more specific; for that reason, it is preferred. Answer choice (C) is incorrect because Johnny's actions have "gone beyond" the unreasonable risk of injury or the grossly negligent conduct which is required for manslaughter liability. Answer choice (D) is incorrect because Johnny's actions have gone beyond a mere battery for the reasons just mentioned.
Criminal law multiple choice answer 5. (C) Defendant will be guilty of voluntary manslaughter under these facts. Voluntary manslaughter is an intentional killing but it is mitigated down from murder, usually because it is committed while in the "heat of passion." Answer choice (C) is correct. In a situation in which two persons engage in a fight and where the intent to kill is formed during the fight, the correct charge is that of voluntary manslaughter. It is important to note that this homicide would be considered murder, but for the fact that the intent to kill was formed during the fight or struggle and the defendant performed the death-producing blow while in the heat of passion. Answer choice (A) is incorrect because Defendant's act is not murder. Murder is defined as the unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought. Most jurisdictions today recognize various types of murder but they all have the common thread of the mental element of "malice" and they all require that this mental element be formulated, or planned, some time in advance of, and prior to, the killing. Answer choice (B) is incorrect because there is no felony murder under these facts. Under the common law there were certain enumerated felonies, such as burglary, larceny, arson, rape, and robbery, which were required to be either attempted or committed by the defendant for felony murder to apply. Finally, answer choice (D) is incorrect because Defendant's conduct, under the facts of this problem, was intentional. Defendant's conduct did not merely constitute the commission of an unlawful act, or the commission of an unlawful act constituting a high probability of death or serious bodily injury. Defendant's conduct here was intentional. The facts state that "During the fight Defendant forms the intent to kill Neighbor." This is an intentional killing. Involuntary manslaughter is not applicable under these facts.
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