PROFESSOR HUMBACH December 23, 2005
FINAL EXAMINATION TIME LIMIT: 2 hours.
TAKING THIS EXAMINATION, YOU ARE REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH THE
DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES REVEAL YOUR IDENTITY ON YOUR EXAMINATION PAPERS OTHER THAN BY YOUR EXAMINATION NUMBER. ACTIONS BY A STUDENT TO DEFEAT THE ANONYMITY POLICY IS A MATTER OF ACADEMIC DISHONESTY.
This is a closed book examination.
This examination consists of 5 questions based on three fact situations. The questions are to be answered in the Examination Booklets provided by the Registrar's Office. Please clearly number your answers to each of the questions (1 to 5). Follow the instructions carefully and answer only what is asked.
Unless the context otherwise requires (such as where the facts are specifically stated to arise in a particular state), base your answers on general principles of criminal law as generally applied in American common law jurisdictions. If you are aware of more than one rule among the jurisdictions, discuss the alternatives. Do not assume the existence of any facts or agreements not set forth in the questions.
Legal arguments are called for, and your grade will be based substantially on the quality of your legal argumentation. Remember, your answer should first make clear where you are going—what you are going to talk about. It should also:
(1) state the rules, considerations or principles that are relevant to deciding the issues raised by the facts,
(2) point out the specific features of the factual situations that make the rules, considerations or principles relevant, and
(3) pull the two together with appropriate conclusions.
Remember, too, to keep your answers on point, and answer only the questions asked. In so doing, do not circle around your point. Aim for the bull's eye. Otherwise, you will risk running out of time. You have about 20-25 minutes per question, plus about a 1/2 hour of reading time.
Lawman Shot Man Who Killed Partner
Rene Romo, Journal Southern Bureau
– Deputy Billy Anders and his close friend and partner, Deputy Robert Hedman, arrived at Earl Flippen's remote rented house about 6 p.m. on Dec. 18 in response to a call of shots fired. Flippen had already shot and killed his pregnant girlfriend, Deborah Rhoudes, and placed her body in a closet. Rhoudes' 3-year-old daughter, Victoria, was still in the house with Flippen. Flippen backed his car up to the front door and tried to load Rhoudes' body into it when the two deputies showed up. Flippen slammed his front door and armed himself. ALAMOGORDO
As Anders called for backup from a sheriff's department truck, Hedman went to the back door. There, Flippen shot Hedman, 49, in the head, killing the officer.
The sometimes fuzzy videotape from the camera in the patrol car released to reporters on Monday showed Anders hearing the shot and calling to his partner: "You OK, Bob?" Anders walked to the front of the house, where the 3-year-old girl was crying. Suddenly Flippen, obscured in darkness, fired a shot; Anders fired back four times, hitting Flippen three times.
Anders then picked up Flippen's handgun, moving it first 5 feet, then about 20 feet away, and handcuffed Flippen. "You lay there, buddy," Anders told Flippen. The time was 6:06 p.m. Flashlight in hand, Anders then headed around the side of the house to search for Hedman. Over the next 20 seconds, Anders shouted: "Bob? ... Bob? ... Bob? ... Oh, God. Bob. ... "
Anders then walked quickly around the side of the house to the front. He told the little girl to "back up" and go inside the house. Anders then fired a final shot at Flippen at close range hitting him in the chest and killing him.
Less than 30 seconds had gone by between Anders finding his fallen friend and the last shot fired at Flippen.
District Attorney Scot Key said that there was "no question" that Flippen was alive when Anders fired the last shot and that the chest wound, which perforated Flippen's heart, was fatal.
When Anders was indicted last March, residents around Cloudcroft, where the veteran law enforcement officer lives, rallied to his support, holding fund-raisers to raise thousands of dollars for his defense.
Friends and neighbors have described Anders as a caring, considerate individual.
Flippen, by contrast, was a convicted felon, a member of a white supremacist prison gang called the Aryan Brotherhood and was suspected in several area home burglaries, Prosecutor Key said. "This is not a guy who you would recruit as your victim, but having said that, we don't get to pick victims. A victim is a victim."
1. Assuming that the first three shots that hit Flippen were lawful (i.e., justifiable self-defense), and that they would have proved fatal within minutes or hours, was the fourth shot (which “perforated Flippen's heart”) either murder or manslaughter? Which, and why?
2. Assuming Anders is convicted of either murder or manslaughter, which of the traditional rationales for punishment would justify the kind of severe sentence that is now normally imposed for those crimes?
and his family came to the
difficult re-election, and wanting to cater to certain strong
traditional-values elements in the county, the local prosecutor has brought
charges against Mr. Belun and his “wives” under the following
If any persons, not married to each other, lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together, … they shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than fifty dollars, and may, in the discretion of the court, be imprisoned not exceeding six months.… In prosecutions for adultery and fornication, and for lewdly and lasciviously cohabiting together, the persons named in the indictment shall be presumed to be unmarried persons in the absence of proof to the contrary.
At trial Mr. Belun’s lawyer maintains that Mr.
Belun is, indeed, “married” to each of his co-defendants and seeks to introduce
evidence of ceremonies that were performed in the their homeland, as proof. The
prosecutor objects to the introduction of such evidence, including with respect
to the first Mrs. Belun, on the grounds that it is irrelevant since the word
“married” in the statute refers solely to the legal status of that name which
is provided under
lawyer has telephoned you and asked for some help in arguing for a proper (i.e.,
acquittal-producing) interpretation of the
Six months ago, a high school student named Harry took a neighbor’s car without permission and went joyriding with some friends. He was stopped by the police and, when he could not produce a driver’s license or registration, he was arrested. Harry later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor unauthorized use of a vehicle and was given a suspended sentence. Last week, still without a license, he did it again, though this time with his mom’s car. In her anger (and fear) she called the police who soon found Harry and the car and put him under arrest. This time it was for felony “unauthorized us of a vehicle,” as it was his second offense. Unfortunately, the reason they had so little trouble finding Harry was that he had just been involved in a serious accident caused when another driver ran a red light and Harry crashed into the side of her car. Even more unfortunately, the passenger in the other car, sitting at the point of impact, was fatally injured.
The prosecutor has decided to charge Harry with murder and, if convicted, it looks as though he’ll be in his 50’s before he gets out, if then.
4. In a state that recognizes the traditional felony-murder doctrine, will the murder charge stick?
5. In the alternative to felony murder, how about “depraved indifference” homicide?
<end of examination>
 Original story slightly modified for purposes of this exam.