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Guilty Acts, Guilty Minds - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Guilty Acts, Guilty Minds

Stephen P. Garvey


“You can’t be convicted of a crime without a guilty act and a guilty mind.” A lawyer might express the same idea using Latin: “You can’t be convicted of a crime without actus reus and mens rea.” Guilty Acts, Guilty Minds proposes an interpretation of mens rea and actus reus as limits on the authority of a democratic state to ascribe guilt through positive law to those accused of crime. Actus reus and mens rea are portrayed as necessary conditions for the legitimacy of state punishment. The actus reus requirement disables a democratic state from using its authority to ascribe guilt to those who ... More

Keywords: criminal law, state authority, legitimacy, mens rea, actus reus

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780190924324
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190924324.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Stephen P. Garvey, author
A. Robert Noll Professor of Law, Cornell Law School

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