October 8, 2011
When investigating crimes, two elements, Mens Rea, the mental element, and Actus Reus, the physical element, must be present. Mens Rea is “Latin for a guilty mind, or criminal intent in committing the act” (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Mens+Rea). Actus Reus is “Latin for a "guilty act." The actus reus is the act which, in combination with a certain mental state, such as intent or recklessness, constitutes a crime” (http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/actus_reus).
My first crime is murder. Under the Texas Penal Code, murder is committed when a person: “(1) intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual; (2) intends to cause serious bodily injury and commits an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual; or (3) commits or attempts to commit a felony, other than manslaughter, and in the course of and in furtherance of the commission or attempt, or in immediate flight from the commission or attempt, he commits or attempts to commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual”(Tex. Penal Code § 20.04). The intent to cause bodily injury or death describes the mens rea, or the guilty mind, of this crime. The actus reus, or guilty act, of murder would be the actual commission of the crime. As described in the above statute, murder can also be committed while during the commission of another felony act, an individual commits a dangerous act that results in the death of another individual. The following scenario is an example of murder as described in Chapter 5 of the Texas Penal Code: A man walks into a convenience store brandishing a handgun. He approaches the counter and demands that the person behind the counter put all of the money in the register and the safe into a bag and give him the bag. The person behind the counter does as he is told and begins to fill the bag with the cash...
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