Instructions: Consider the scenario below and answer the questions.  The required format for this task appears after the Questions section below. Remember that you can email me if you need clarification.

Scenario: Sam Seller (“Seller”) specialized in stealing priceless antiques from museums and illegally selling them. Seller stole a priceless antique clock from the Maple Museum of Antiquities.  Betty Buyer (“Buyer”) was a wealthy socialite who wanted the clock for her private collection. Buyer knew that Frank Friend (“Friend”) knew Seller. Even though Buyer knew it would be a felony to buy the clock because it was stolen and of great value (it is defined as a dangerous felony in the jurisdiction), Buyer asked Frank Friend (“Friend”) to arrange for a meeting with Seller so she could buy the clock from him. Even though Friend knew that setting up the meeting would be a felony offense (viz., Facilitating the Sale of Stolen Antiques), Friend set up the meeting.

On the agreed upon time, Friend drove Buyer to the meeting site. Buyer sat in the back seat of Friend’s car. A few minutes later, Seller arrived with the clock and sat in the front passenger’s seat of Friend’s car.

After some initial conversation, Buyer and Seller began to argue about the price of the clock.  Buyer reached into her waistband, pulled out a gun, and held it to the back of Seller’s head. While Buyer had her finger on the trigger, she yelled, “This is a robbery! Give me that clock now!” (Assume Buyer correctly defined the situation as a robbery) Seller gave the clock to Buyer. Due to the stress of the situation Seller had a heart attack and died in the car.

Buyer announced, “I am out of here!” She opened her door, exited the car and ran away. When Buyer was 10 paces from the car, Friend pulled out his own gun and shot Buyer as she ran. Friend’s bullet struck Buyer. She was severely injured but survived. Ultimately, Buyer and Seller were both arrested.

Questions:

  1.   The local prosecutor wants to bring a murder charge against Buyer. Which murder charge would be most appropriate? The strongest answers will address the following points in the following order:
    • begin by stating the name of the type of the most serious murder with which Buyer could be rightfully charged under these facts (i.e., voluntary manslaughter? involuntary manslaughter? 1st degree? misdemeanor? felony? reckless? something else?)
    • define that type of murder that you identified in your response above (i.e., what are its elements?)
    • explain how Buyer’s acts and the scenario facts show that the murder charge you identified is the most appropriate one (i.e., apply the facts to the murder you identified and show how the facts satisfy its elements)

The response to this question is worth up to 20 points.

  1.   The local prosecutor wants to bring a murder charge against Friend, too. Will she be able to do so if the jurisdiction follows the agency theory of felony murder? How about if the jurisdiction follows the proximate cause theory of felony murder? The strongest answers will address the following points in the following order:
    • define the agency theory of felony murder
    • explain how Friend’s acts and the scenario facts show that he did/did not commit felony murder under the agency theory
    • define the proximate cause theory of felony murder
    • explain how Friend’s acts and the scenario facts show that he did/did not commit felony murder under the proximate cause theory of felony murder.

The response to this question is worth up to 20 points.

  1. Friend is also charged with aggravated assault because of shooting Buyer. If these events occurred in a Model Penal Code jurisdiction, would Friend have a valid self-defense claim against his shooting of Buyer? Begin your answer with either the word yes or the work no and then explain your reasoning. The strongest answers will Include an explanation of how the MPC approach to self-defense differs from the Common Law approach to self-defense.
Law Lesson 3