Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Criminal Law Humor 

At the start of the semester, our Criminal Law professor warned us that she has a twisted sense of humor at times. The cases which provide the best opportunities for learning, or which establish notable developments in the law, are the unusual ones. In criminal law this usually means bizarre. So as a way of dealing with all the heinous and heartbreaking details in the cases we have to read and discuss, she uses gallows humor. And I have to say, she does keep us laughing.

Last evening we were discussing the various levels of recklessness in common law and the Model Penal Code, and where intent fits in. Someone brought up a question of where criminally negligent murder fits in, and she pointed out that criminally negligent murder by definition is unintentional. She made a comparison to Torts, and that negligence is separate from the intentional torts.

"I mean, you can't negligently batter someone."

Pause.

"Unless you're at a bread factory."

Pause.

"You know, you could negligently knock someone into a vat, at which point they'd be negligently battered. But not baked!"

Pause.

"But you know - way back in time one of the forms of the death penalty was to be boiled in oil. So they could be battered first before being deep-fried."

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:06 AM