In this essay, I will describe the elements of a criminal act, address the law of factual impossibility, the law of legal impossibility, and distinguish whether the alleged crime in the scenario is a complete but imperfect attempt or an incomplete attempt. I will address the ethical or moralistic concerns associated with allowing a criminal defendant to avoid criminal responsibility by successfully asserting a legal defense such as impossibility. The court was clearly wrong to dismiss the charge against Jack of attempted murder of Bert.
A crime consists of an actus reus and a mens rea, in order to obtain a conviction of a criminal charge there must be a concurrence between the actus reus and mens rea. The elements of a criminal act (actus reus) are: act, cause, social harm or omission condemned under a criminal statute (Lippman, 2012). The elements of mens rea: purposely, knowingly, recklessly, and negligently (Lippman, 2012). Attempted murder is the failed attempt to kill another human being deliberately, intentionally or recklessly (USLegal, 2014). “Georgia Code Title 16, Section 16-4-1: A person commits the offense of criminal attempt when, with intent to commit a specific crime, he performs any act which constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of that crime. Section 16-4-2: A person may be convicted of the offense of criminal attempt if the crime attempted was actually committed in pursuance of the attempt but may not be convicted of both the criminal attempt and the completed crime….” (Young, 2014, para. 1-2).
Attempted murder, involved the voluntary act of Jack pointing a gun and firing it (act) at Bert that resulted in (causation) death of Pratt (social harm), which proves the elements of actus reus. Jack had the intent to kill Bert because Jack pointed the gun at Bert and fired (purposely), Jack was fully aware that if he pointed a gun at a human being and fired it, his actions could cause harm (knowingly), and Jack fired the gun with Pratt sitting in the car with Bert (recklessly), which proves the elements of mens rea. A concurrence between the mens rea and the actus reus is present; therefore, a conviction in the attempted murder of Brett can be obtained.
The subjective approach of criminal attempt concentrates on a person’s intent rather than on his or her acts (Lippman, 2012). The objective approach emphasizes the danger caused by a defendant’s actions (Lippman, 2012). Jack’s intent can be established through the objective approach to criminal attempt because his actions come extremely close to the commission of the crime. The three major legal tests for the actus reus of attempt: physical proximity, unequivocality or clarity of purpose to commit a crime, and model penal code or substantial step toward the commission of a crime (Lippman, 2012). Under the physical proximity test Jack aimed the gun at Bert and fired it. The unequivocality test demonstrates that if an ordinary individual observed Jack’s...