Talk:Mens rea

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Mens rea[edit]

Mens rea does *NOT* translate from Latin as "bad mind." Mens is Latin for "mind," and rea is Latin for "defendant." Therefore, the literal translation of mens rea is "defendant's mind." In the context of criminal law, the connotation is "a guilty state of mind." -- NetEsq 02:58 Jan 1, 2003 (UTC)

I agree that "guilty mind" is misleading in technical termsScMeGr 23:43, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Mens rea does *NOT* translate from Latin as "defendant's mind". Mens is Latin for "mind" (feminine singular). Rea is the Latin adjective for "accused" (feminine singular). Therefore, the *literal* translation of mens rea is "accused mind". [Rea is definitely not genitive and may not in any sense be translated literally as "of the defendant" or "defendant's".] In the context of law, the idiomatic translation is "criminal intent". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:41, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

"Rea" is a noun, not an adjective. In classical Latin, it would be in the nominative, ablative, or vocative case, and is very likely an ablative of description, which is often translated into English as a prepositional phrase beginning with "of." So, the previous comment is right; in classical Latin, "rea" cannot be genitive. Still, the ablative produces "mind of a defendant" or "mind of an accused person."

Statutory Rape[edit]

Statutory rape victims are not necessarily female - probably not a big deal, but the article does deal with legal definitions and that paragraph consistently refers to "the girl".

Can someone reword this a bit more generally?

Statutory rape refers to a minor who has been sexually assaulted, a minor would be any male or female child who is protected by the State and who has not attained the age of majority or the status of a major/adult

mens rea[edit]

this expression was first recorded in the 13 century when st. augustine said in respect to pajury that: reum linguam nisi mens sit rea..... —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 16:00, 16 April 2007 (UTC).

Augustine lived in the 4th and 5th centuries. The Leges Henrici Primi, which records (more or less) his comments on perjury, was written in the early 12th century. A small detail, yes, but small mistakes can have a large effect on credibility.

'I don't agree with the previous comments, as a Masters student of Criminal Law there is a need for recklessness to be treated in depth in it's own right. Recklessness is a complex element of mens rea and is far from settled.

all the other articles are about subtypes of mens rea. it'd be better to have them all in one article. right now they all add up to between 50-60K total, and i'm sure there's lot of redundancy that could be edited out if merged to make a comprehensive article. Foofighter20x (talk) 18:30, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

the more i think about this, the more i'm thinking the articles shouldn't be merged... Foofighter20x (talk) 16:36, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree that the articles should not be merged. Mens rea has a very specific legal meaning that is important to understand clearly, for anyone seeking to learn about criminal law in countries with legal systems based on English common law. I think merging terms muddies the meaning, as throwing too many distinct legal concepts into one article taxes the general reader, especially since what legally falls under each concept may vary from country to country and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. —Mattisse (Talk) 17:05, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
I concur. As any first-year law student can tell you, mens rea is hard enough as is. If people need more detail, that's what the other articles are for. --Coolcaesar (talk) 19:24, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

On that note, I'm withdrawing my proposal for a merger. The reason I brought it up in the first place was that the Crim Law template listed the elements of mens rea as elements of a crime. Since I've edited those sub-elements out of the template, it's probably just better to leave the articles alone and have the mens rea point to each of the sub elements. Thanks for the opinions! Foofighter20x (talk) 21:53, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Translation of Latin Phrase at Start of Article[edit]

I'm just writing this to say I'm changing the translation of the verb "sit", being a Latin subjunctive, which is correctly translated with the English subjunctive "be", not the indicative "is". It may sound a bit pedantic, but isn't that what law is about? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:03, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

The various and somewhat conflicting translations of the Latin are far from literal. I suggest showing both the literal translation and the idiomatic translation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:32, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

"in jurisdictions with due process"[edit]

"Thus, in jurisdictions with due process, there must be an actus reus accompanied by some level of mens rea to constitute the crime with which the defendant is charged (see the technical requirement of concurrence)." - This conclusion is far from obvious. It should be better explained or removed. --JensMueller (talk) 15:30, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

As I thought about it, mens rea is an essential component of due process in Germany, too, although we don't have common low here. From the principle of due process ("Rechtsstaatsprinzip") derives the need for punishment adequate to deed and guilt ("Prinzip des tat- und schuldangemessenen Strafens"). Deed and guilt seem to be essentially the same as actus reus and mens rea ... But as I said, this is far from obvious. --JensMueller (talk) 11:38, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

English Definition of "Knowingly"[edit]

I noticed in the section describing the English "modes of culpability" that knowingly is defined to include situations in which one "should know" that some result is "reasonably certain" to result from his/her conduct. I am a recent American law school grad and we spent what seemed like ages in torts/criminal law hammering home that knowingly, in American law, indicates a mental state in which a person, at a minimum, knew (or, possibly, for purposes of proof "must have known") that a given result was substantially certain under the circumstances. The phrase "should have known" is an objective (i.e. based on what a reasonable person would have perceived)standard that is reserved for the "lower" levels of culpability (objective recklessness, negligence.)

Does England really define "knowingly" with an objective standard? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aelsbeck (talkcontribs) 04:55, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

Finishing my LLB, I can only speak with limited authority on English law. But as nobody else has taken up the question, I will do my best to answer it. The definition of knowledge in England is "true belief" which doesn't go a long way to determine it's nature. This means we need to focus on specific offenese. Few common law offenses remain in the English law and those that do exist (murder, manslaughter, ...) usually require intention or recklessness. It follows that the question of the objective/subjective nature of knowledge appears mostly in the context of statutes. As a general rule of statutory interpretation, a subjective standard is presumed unless the statute requires an objective standard either explicitly or by necessary implication. As far as I know there's no statute that has displaced the presumption of subjective standard of knowledge. So... no, "knowingly" is not defined by an objective standard in English law.

If you think it's important, I can back up the answer with case law. Daebwae (talk) 15:00, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Recklessness (United States: "willful blindness")[edit]

Recklesness and knowledge are two distinct mental states. To prove knowledge, the prosecution can allege "willful blindness." If succesful, then the mens requirement of knowledge is satisfied. However, neither in England, nor to my knowledge in the US, can wilfull blindness satisfy the requirement of recklessness. Maybe I'm wrong but I'm confused why recklessness is lumped together with wilfull blindness.Daebwae (talk) 15:50, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Edits by[edit], a self-proclaimed academic, has twice tried to change this page to define mens rea as "the mind thing". Not only is this based on a false equivalence of reus/rea with the noun res (I defy anyone to find a single Latin dictionary that defines reus/rea as "thing"), but he/she even admits in the edit that this claim goes against the consensus of academic opinion ("…does not mean what most textbooks say it means"), which is enough to invalidate the edit on its face. The preceding version has an academic source published by Oxford, and it's trivially easy to find more. (Compare the alternative.) --Lazar Taxon (talk) 22:52, 8 October 2015 (UTC)