A conviction for most crimes requires proof that the defendant acted with some kind of "bad" intent. To that end, a typical jury instruction might advise jurors that, to convict the defendant of a "general intent" crime, they must find that he or she acted with “wrongful intent.” That instruction
The overwhelming majority of criminal offenses require a specified state of mind. To be guilty, the defendant must have had a particular mental state when acting. Sometimes criminal statutes require that the defendant act “knowingly” or “with knowledge” of a particular fact or set of facts.
Most people are aware that murder and manslaughter are distinct crimes. They might even know that each has subcategories—murder is either in the first or second degree, while manslaughter is either voluntary or involuntary.
Sometimes it’s tempting to bury one’s head in the sand—there are some things you just don’t want to know about. But, at least when it comes to criminal law, willful blindness may not get you very far. Looking the Other Way State of mind is crucial in criminal law. In many cases, it’s clear