November 13, 2017
Attempt actus reus hypo for consideration and reflection
Though we will start our review of attempt law by unpacking the required mens rea for attempt liability, the most challenging and controversial issues surrounding attempt throughout history has concerned the required actus reus for the crime. To facilitate our discussion of the actus reus of attempt liability, below is a list of hypothetical actions by a hypothetical troubled young man to get you thinking about where a line should be drawn between "mere preparation" and attempt liability:
Joe McAngry of Columbus truly believes modern technology is the root of much evil in the world, and he often tells his friends that the whole world would be better off without the likes of Apple and Google and Microsoft and their leaders. After watching a documentary about the Oklahoma City bombing and the Unibomber, Joe McAngry does the following:
1. E-mails friend saying he wished Tim Cook was dead and Apple and Google and Microsoft were bankrupt
2. Posts blog comment that he would love to see Apple and Google and Microsoft headquarters blown up
3. Does internet research on location of Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California
4. Does internet research about how often and when Tim Cook goes to his Apple office
5. Does internet research on homemade explosives
6. Rents hotel room for two nights in San Jose, California
7. Rents Ryder truck for driving to San Jose, California
8. Drives rented truck to San Jose, California, checks into hotel, sleeps
9. Drives in morning to Cupertino and drives around the Apple headquarters repeatedly
10. Parks near Apple headquarters, walks around asking employees when Cook is there
11. Returns to hotel room in San Jose, California, does more internet research on bomb-making, sleeps
12. In morning, buys fertilizer/gas/timer and other ingredients for making primitive bomb at hardware store
13. Drives again to Cupertino, now with bomb ingredients in truck
14. Parks in strategic location near Apple headquarters
15. Starts building homemade bomb insider rental truck
16. Waits, watches for Cook to arrive at work
17. Drives past security guard following Cook's car
18. Parks truck right next to Cook's car as he pulls into spot
19. Jumps out of truck with remote bomb trigger in hand
20. Runs away planning to push trigger after hiding behind stone wall
When SHOULD Joe McAngry be deemed guilty of attempted murder?
-- When could he be deemed guilty at common law?
-- When could he be deemed guilty under the MPC?
When do you want police to intervene?
When do you think the police legally can intervene?
When do you think the police will intervene?