United States v. Moore

Last updated
United States v. Moore
District of Columbia Court of Appeals Seal.svg
Court United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Full case nameUnited States of America v. Raymond Moore
Argued September 10, 1971
Decided May 14, 1973
Citation(s) 486 F.2d 1139
Case history
Subsequent action(s) Certiorari denied, 94 S. Ct. 298 (1973).
Court membership
Judge(s) sitting David L. Bazelon, J. Skelly Wright, Carl E. McGowan, Edward Allen Tamm, Harold Leventhal, Spottswood William Robinson III, George MacKinnon, Roger Robb, Malcolm Richard Wilkey (en banc)
Case opinions
Per curiam.
Concurrence Wilkey, joined by MacKinnon, Robb
Concurrence Leventhal, joined by McGowan
Concurrence MacKinnon
Concurrence Robb
Dissent Wright, joined by Bazelon, Tamm, Robinson

United States v. Moore, 486 F.2d 1139 (D.C. Cir. 1973), [1] was a case decided by the D.C. Circuit that refused to recognize a common law affirmative defense of addiction in a criminal prosecution for the possession of heroin. [2]

Common law law developed by judges

In law, common law is that body of law derived from judicial decisions of courts and similar tribunals. The defining characteristic of “common law” is that it arises as precedent. In cases where the parties disagree on what the law is, a common law court looks to past precedential decisions of relevant courts, and synthesizes the principles of those past cases as applicable to the current facts. If a similar dispute has been resolved in the past, the court is usually bound to follow the reasoning used in the prior decision. If, however, the court finds that the current dispute is fundamentally distinct from all previous cases, and legislative statutes are either silent or ambiguous on the question, judges have the authority and duty to resolve the issue. The court states an opinion that gives reasons for the decision, and those reasons agglomerate with past decisions as precedent to bind future judges and litigants. Common law, as the body of law made by judges, stands in contrast to and on equal footing with statutes which are adopted through the legislative process, and regulations which are promulgated by the executive branch. Stare decisis, the principle that cases should be decided according to consistent principled rules so that similar facts will yield similar results, lies at the heart of all common law systems.

An affirmative defense to a civil lawsuit or criminal charge is a fact or set of facts other than those alleged by the plaintiff or prosecutor which, if proven by the defendant, defeats or mitigates the legal consequences of the defendant's otherwise unlawful conduct. In civil lawsuits, affirmative defenses include the statute of limitations, the statute of frauds, waiver, and other affirmative defenses such as, in the United States, those listed in Rule 8 (c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In criminal prosecutions, examples of affirmative defenses are self defense, insanity, and the statute of limitations.

Heroin chemical compound

Heroin, also known as diamorphine among other names, is an opioid most commonly used as a recreational drug for its euphoric effects. Medically it is used in several countries to relieve pain or in opioid replacement therapy. Heroin is typically injected, usually into a vein; however, it can also be smoked, snorted or inhaled. The onset of effects is usually rapid and lasts for a few hours.

Decision

The defendant Moore was charged with the possession of heroin, and in his defense sought to introduce psychiatric testimony that because of his heroin addiction he lacked substantial capacity to conform his behavior to the standards of the criminal law. The court refused to recognize Moore's proposed common law defense of addiction because of difficulties in administration and inconsistency with the Model Penal Code. [3]

Substance dependence, also known as drug dependence, is an adaptive state that develops from repeated drug administration, and which results in withdrawal upon cessation of drug use. A drug addiction, a distinct concept from substance dependence, is defined as compulsive, out-of-control drug use, despite negative consequences. An addictive drug is a drug which is both rewarding and reinforcing. ΔFosB, a gene transcription factor, is now known to be a critical component and common factor in the development of virtually all forms of behavioral addiction and drug addictions, but not dependence.

The Model Penal Code (MPC) is a text designed to stimulate and assist U.S. state legislatures to update and standardize the penal law of the United States of America. The MPC was a project of the American Law Institute (ALI), and was published in 1962 after a ten-year drafting period. The chief reporter on the project was Herbert Wechsler, and contributors included Sanford Kadish and numerous other noted criminal law scholars, prosecutors, and defense lawyers.

A dissenting opinion by Judge J. Skelly Wright advocated for the recognition of the common law defense. [4]

Related Research Articles

Actus reus, sometimes called the external element or the objective element of a crime, is the Latin term for the "guilty act" which, when proved beyond a reasonable doubt in combination with the mens rea, "guilty mind", produces criminal liability in the common law-based criminal law jurisdictions of England and Wales, Canada, Australia, India, Kenya, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand, Scotland, Nigeria, Ghana, Ireland, Israel and the United States of America. In the United States of America, some crimes also require proof of an attendant circumstance.

In criminal law, entrapment is a practice whereby a law enforcement agent or agent of the state induces a person to commit a criminal offense that the person would have otherwise been unlikely or unwilling to commit. It "is the conception and planning of an offense by an officer or agent, and the procurement of its commission by one who would not have perpetrated it except for the trickery, persuasion or fraud of the officer or state agent."

In the law of the United States, attorney–client privilege or lawyer–client privilege is a "client's right privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent any other person from disclosing confidential communications between the client and the attorney."

Forensic psychiatry medical specialty

Forensic psychiatry is a sub-speciality of psychiatry and is related to criminology. It encompasses the interface between law and psychiatry. A forensic psychiatrist provides services – such as determination of competency to stand trial – to a court of law to facilitate the adjudicative process and provide treatment like medications and psychotherapy to criminals.

Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665 (1972), is a landmark United States Supreme Court decision invalidating the use of the First Amendment as a defense for reporters summoned to testify before a grand jury. The case was argued February 23, 1972 and decided June 29 of the same year. The reporter lost his case by a vote of 5-4. This case is cited for the rule that in federal courts, a reporter may not generally avoid testifying in a criminal grand jury, and it remains the only case in which the U.S. Supreme Court has considered the use of reporters' privilege.

Nonintercourse Act Family of U.S. laws related to Native American tribal rights

The Nonintercourse Act is the collective name given to six statutes passed by the Congress in 1790, 1793, 1796, 1799, 1802, and 1834 to set Amerindian boundaries of reservations. The various Acts also regulate commerce between Americans and Native Americans. The most notable provisions of the Act regulate the inalienability of aboriginal title in the United States, a continuing source of litigation for almost 200 years. The prohibition on purchases of Indian lands without the approval of the federal government has its origins in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the Confederation Congress Proclamation of 1783.

Willful blindness is a term used in law to describe a situation in which a person seeks to avoid civil or criminal liability for a wrongful act by intentionally keeping himself or herself unaware of facts that would render him or her liable. In United States v. Jewell, the court held that proof of willful ignorance satisfied the requirement of knowledge as to criminal possession and importation of drugs.

Knock-and-announce, in United States law criminal procedure, is an ancient common law principle, incorporated into the Fourth Amendment, which requires law enforcement officers to announce their presence and provide residents with an opportunity to open the door prior to a search.

Actual innocence, also known as plain error, is a special standard of review in legal cases to prove that a charged defendant did not commit the crime(s) that he or she is accused of, which is often applied by appellate courts to prevent a miscarriage of justice. What makes the actual innocence standard interesting is that it may be invoked at any time, and not only in criminal proceedings but also in immigration and other civil proceedings.

Hartman v. Moore, 547 U.S. 250 (2006), is a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States involving the pleading standard for retaliatory prosecution claims against government officials. Following a successful lobbying attempt by the CEO of a manufacturing company against competing devices that the United States Postal Service supported, the CEO found himself the target of an investigation by U.S. postal inspectors and a criminal prosecution, which was dismissed for lack of evidence. The CEO then filed suit against the inspectors and other government officials for seeking to prosecute him in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights to criticize postal policy. The Court ruled, 5-2, that in order to prove that the prosecution was caused by a retaliatory motive, the plaintiff bringing such a claim must allege and prove that the criminal charges were brought without probable cause.

Dennis G. Jacobs is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He previously served as Chief Judge of the Second Circuit from October 1, 2006 to August 31, 2013.

Guilt (law) state of being legally responsible for the commission of an offense

In criminal law, guilt is the state of being responsible for the commission of an offense. Legal guilt is entirely externally defined by the state, or more generally a "court of law". Being "guilty" of a criminal offense means that one has committed a violation of criminal law, or performed all the elements of the offense set out by a criminal statute. The determination that one has committed that violation is made by an external body and is, therefore, as definitive as the record-keeping of the body. So the most basic definition is fundamentally circular: a person is guilty of violating a law, if a court says so.

The term aggravated felony was created by the United States Congress as part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to define a special category of criminal offenses. The INA says that certain aliens "convicted of an aggravated felony shall be considered to have been convicted of a particularly serious crime." Every "legal immigrant," including a "national but not a citizen of the United States," who has been convicted of any aggravated felony is ineligible for citizenship of the United States, and other than a refugee, every alien who has been convicted of any aggravated felony is ineligible to receive a visa or be admitted to the United States, if his or her "term of imprisonment was completed within the previous 15 years."

Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution Amendment guaranteeing rights related to trials and due process

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution addresses criminal procedure and other aspects of the Constitution. It was ratified in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment applies to every level of the government, including the federal, state, and local levels, as well as any corporation, private enterprise, group, or individual, or any foreign government in regards to a US citizen or resident of the US. The Supreme Court furthered the protections of this amendment through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

<i>United States v. Weitzenhoff</i>

United States v. Weitzenhoff, 35 F.3d 1275 is a legal opinion from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that addresses the confusing mens rea requirement of a federal environmental law that imposed criminal sanctions on certain polluters. The main significance of the court's opinion was that it interpreted the word "knowingly" in the statute to mean a general awareness of the wrongfulness of one's actions or the likelihood of illegality, rather than an actual knowledge of the statute being violated. Circuit Court Judge Betty Binns Fletcher authored the majority's legal opinion in this case.

<i>United States v. Peoni</i>

United States v. Peoni, 100 F.2d 401, was a criminal case that the prosecution must establish that the mental state of an accomplice to a crime include a purpose to aid or encourage, and thereby facilitate the criminal conduct of the principal. This showing of purpose is contrasted with showing knowledge that the principal would commit the crime, which does not necessarily imply that the purpose of acting to aid or abet was to facilitate the criminal act of the principal.

County of Oneida v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York State, 470 U.S. 226 (1985), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case concerning aboriginal title in the United States. The case, sometimes referred to as Oneida II, was "the first Indian land claim case won on the basis of the Nonintercourse Act."

Trademark infringement is a violation of the exclusive rights attached to a trademark without the authorization of the trademark owner or any licensees. Infringement may occur when one party, the "infringer", uses a trademark which is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark owned by another party, in relation to products or services which are identical or similar to the products or services which the registration covers. An owner of a trademark may commence civil legal proceedings against a party which infringes its registered trademark. In the United States, the Trademark Counterfeiting Act of 1984 criminalized the intentional trade in counterfeit goods and services.

The Assistance of Counsel Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right...to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence."

Several statutes, mostly codified in Title 18 of the United States Code, provide for federal prosecution of public corruption in the United States. Federal prosecutions of public corruption under the Hobbs Act, the mail and wire fraud statutes, including the honest services fraud provision, the Travel Act, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) began in the 1970s. "Although none of these statutes was enacted in order to prosecute official corruption, each has been interpreted to provide a means to do so." The federal official bribery and gratuity statute, 18 U.S.C. § 201, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and the federal program bribery statute, 18 U.S.C. § 666 directly address public corruption.

References

  1. United States v. Moore, 486F.2d1139 ( D.C. Cir. 1973).
  2. Bonnie, R.J. et al. Criminal Law, Second Edition. Foundation Press, New York: 2004, p. 587
  3. Bonnie, p. 590
  4. Bonnie, p. 587