National University of Singapore The Biopolitics of China War on Terror Questions

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Week 2 Assignment Questions

  1. Courts overwhelmingly hold that amnesia of criminal acts brought on by drugs or alcohol does not render a defendant mentally incompetent to stand trial. Why is that? When could amnesia result in a determination of incompetence? See Gonzales v. State, 313 S.W.3d 840 (Tex. App. 2010), cert. denied 131 S. Ct. 921 (2011).
  2. Defendant and another person extorted money from a former married lover of the defendant by threatening to disclose the previous sexual relationship to the victim’s wife. At her trial, the defendant asked for instruction on the defense of duress, claiming the other person threatened to kill her if she didn’t cooperate in the extortion scheme, which lasted several months. The trial judge refused to give the instruction. Why not? Was the judge correct? See United States v. Nwoye, 663 F.3d 460 (C.A.D.C. 2011).

Extra credit assignments

  • Prosecutions for homicides that arise out of “passive” misconduct have their own special problems. “Passive” misconduct involves failure to take action when such action is needed and required to avoid some harmful result. Parental inaction that results in the death of a child is a frequent basis for criminal prosecution. In People v. Lewie, 953 N.E.2d 760 (N.Y. 2011) a mother left her 8-year-old child with an abusive boyfriend, who had a history of abusing both the child and the mother. When the child died from that abuse, the mother was charged with both involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment under New York law. Can she be convicted of either or both of these charges? What are the tests used?
  • The bank robber’s note “Give me the money” usually satisfies the requirement under the federal bank robbery statute that the robbery be done by “force and violence, or by intimidation” because the situation instills fear in a reasonable person that force or violence might accompany a refusal to give up the money. What if the teller to whom the note was given was part of the robbery scheme? If she goes to other tellers and gets them to give her money based on the note is the requisite “intimidation” present? See United States v. Gordon, 642 F.3d 596 (7th Cir. 2011).

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