2018 (October Term)

United States v. Voorhees, 79 M.J. 5 (although it is true that wrongdoing must be conscious to be criminal, Congress is not required to include an explicit mens rea in every article of the UCMJ). 

(when a statute is silent as to mens rea, an appellate court only reads into the statute that mens rea which is necessary to separate wrongful conduct from innocent conduct; a statute’s silence can be indicative of a general intent scienter).

(general intent merely requires the intent to perform the actus reus even though the actor does not desire the consequences that result). 

United States v. Rodriguez, 79 M.J. 1 (that a crime is comprised of both an actus reus and a mens rea necessarily means both components must exist at the time an offense is committed if the offense is to amount to a crime at all; although a criminal actor must possess the requisite intent when he commits a criminal act, circumstantial evidence from before or after the act may be used to prove an actor had the requisite intent at the time of the act). 

United States v. McDonald, 78 M.J. 376 (in determining the mens rea applicable to an offense, a court must first discern whether one is stated in the text, or, failing that, whether Congress impliedly intended a particular mens rea).

(the existence of a mens rea is presumed in the absence of clear congressional intent to the contrary).

(a general intent mens rea is not the absence of a mens rea, and such offenses remain viable in appropriate circumstances). 

(the appropriate mens rea can be implied from context).

2015 (September Term)

United States v. Caldwell, 75 M.J. 276 (it is a fundamental principle of criminal law that wrongdoing must be conscious to be criminal; this does not mean that an accused must know that his actions constitute criminal conduct; rather, an accused must have knowledge of the facts that make his conduct fit the definition of the offense). 

(the general rule is that a guilty mind is a necessary element in the charge sheet and proof of every crime). 

(even when a mens rea (guilty mind) requirement is not explicitly included in a criminal statute, that does not necessarily mean that such a requirement can be dispensed with; rather, generally speaking, criminal statutes should be interpreted by courts as still including broadly applicable mens rea requirements, even where the statute does not contain them). 

(an inference of a mens rea requirement by a court is not merited when there is an indication of congressional intent to the contrary). 

(in inferring a mens rea requirement in a statute that is otherwise silent, courts must only read into the statute that mens rea which is necessary to separate wrongful conduct from innocent conduct).    

(in some instances, the mere requirement in a statute that a defendant commit an act with knowledge of certain facts — i.e., that the defendant possessed general intent — is enough to ensure that innocent conduct can be separated from wrongful conduct). 

(general intent requires knowledge with respect to the actus reus of the crime). 

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