Distinguish the difference between mens rea and actus rea.

1) Distinguish the difference between mens rea and actus rea.

This week, we read about two different elements for criminal offenses: actus reus and mens rea.  Actus reus, also known as the guilty act, is the physical act of a crime.  This can be anything from distruction of property to assault or murder.  Some may not think of it, but omission is also considered actus reus.  This is because knowing that someone intends to harm someone, and not bringing to the authorities attention, is just as bad as committing the crime.  Mens rea, or the guilty mind, is where someone is mentally intended to commit a crime (Storm, 2012). 

2) What role do you think motive should play in criminal cases? Explain your answer.

Motive, or the reason someone commits a crime, does not constitute the criminal intent (mens rea), but it makes a case on a reason they may have committed a crime.  Proving the motive and finding the facts will prove the case and prove that they committed a crime.  Motive is not required to reach the verdict.  Kramer (2015) explained that intent (mens rea) is thought of as referring to “what” was meant to be done, while motive is “why” it was done.

3) How do you think having to prove mens rea instead of motive has affected the criminal justice system?

To prove the various components of mens rea, it takes a very thorough investigation, including the ability to find the motive.  Some of the things that need to be asked was if the intent of the crime committed purposely, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently?  The analysis of the mental and physical state of the defendant would be able to assist in establishing the culpability of criminal acts (actus reus) and mens rea.  This will assist in determining the sentence and guilty verdicts (Carson & Felthous, 2003).

Thank you

answer this discussion question in 200 words no outside reference put in your own words

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