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View Diary: Voter fraud mastermind nabbed in St. Peter, Minnesota (108 comments)

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  •  Dear prosecutor, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OldDragon, twigg, NonnyO, viral

    Were you absent in 1L CrimLaw in law school?

    Here is a refresher if you are serious about not wanting to charge her:

    Every crime requires two things:  mens rea (guilty intent) and actus reus (guilty act).

    Here, you have an admitted actus reus.  Granny admits she showed up to vote.

    But, as she has dementia and doesn't recall ever casting the first vote, where is her mens rea?  where is her intent to commit voter fraud?

    Without a mens rea, you don't have both elements of a crime and are therefore not required to prosecute it.  this is where your prosecutorial discretion comes into play.  Do the right thing and dismiss the case.

    In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

    by Cixelsyd on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 01:37:35 PM PST

    •  It sounds like (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoregon, NonnyO, viral, schnecke21

      There may actually be little or no prosecutorial discretion here, according to the office of Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie (a Democrat), although there seems to be a bill working its way through the legislature to give prosecutors the same discretion on this matter as in other possible crimes.

    •  If you read the original article (4+ / 0-)

      It does show that the Police went through considerable effort to avoid this mess, they even went through statutes going back to the 1800's to see if there was a way out. But the way the law is written, they have to notify the prosecutor, and upon notification, she has no choice. The police detective even called her to apologize. The article also states that the legislature is going to take up changing the law to allow Prosecutors more discretion. The Excerpts here make it look as tough the prosecutor is more or less doing this by choice, or at least not making much of an effort to avoid it.

    •  Yeah ... not all require a guilty act (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jahiegel, NonnyO, RiveroftheWest

      Showing criminal intent can be enough ... but not in this case.

      For example ... in a conspiracy to defraud, an actual fraud doesn't have to have occurred.

      In this case a crime does have to have happened, and intent is required otherwise it is just a mistake.

      Neither is this a case of a defendant pleading ignorance. You can be fully aware of the law, and still make a simple mistake.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 02:01:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nope (0+ / 0-)

        The guilty act in an attempt or conspiracy is doing something that was an actual step toward committing the crime.  In conspiracy, the act is making and agreement.

        You can have a crime without bad intent (strict liability) in some cases, but you can't have one without an act.  There are no pure thought crimes for now.

        In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

        by Cixelsyd on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 10:19:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Except there are plenty of people succesfully (0+ / 0-)

      prosecuted for crimes who did not have the intent of committing a crime. For instance, people who drive borderline intoxicated (thinking that they are perfectly sober) and getting into accidents- there's no intent, but that doesn't stop them from being prosecuted.

      •  Incorrect. (0+ / 0-)

        Crimes without intent are always minor offenses.

        In DUI, the intent is that you got behind the wheel knowing you'd been drinking.  You may have been mistaken as to your BAC, but you still knew you had been drinking and drove.  Intent is there.

        In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

        by Cixelsyd on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 10:21:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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