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Ball/Oberman Crim Law Casebook

Actus Reus: Class Sessions 7-8

Actus reus, or the act requirement, is the first part of culpability in criminal law. (The second part, mens rea, will be covered in Chapter 4.) Almost every crime must have an act, but defining that act can be tricky. Sometimes something that seems like an act isn’t an act; other times, something that does not seem like an act is one. When you read these cases, notice distinctions between voluntary and involuntary acts, and between conduct and the results of conduct. Consider why the court reaches the decision it does in each case, and what its decision says about its  corresponding concept of blameworthiness.