Unit II Essay

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Part 1

In the case of Johnson v. State (1995), the Supreme Court sought toestablish if the trial court made an error in ruling that the corpusdelicti and extrajudicial confessions were admissible(Schmalleger &amp Hall, 2010).

The main issue in the case was whether testimonies of witnesses,which were based on the suspect’s confession, were admissible incourt. The extrajudicial confession can be used in the courthouse ifthere is corpus delicti. In the robbery case, this wouldinvolve independent evidence of some form of injury related to thecrime. In the case, this was derived from the fact that the accusedperson was in procession of some of the things stolen from thevictim. However, it was not possible to corroborate that there wasrobbery with violence. The court ruled that although there was proofof theft, it could not conclusively be decreed that it was violent.This is because there was no confirmation of the use of force(Schmalleger &amp Hall, 2010).

Therefore, although the Supreme Court concluded that there was corpusdelicti for theft, there was no evidence that the injuries on thevictim were as a result of the robbery with violence. Consequently,the condition was not sufficient for the murder case (Schmalleger &ampHall, 2010).

Part 2

In the Tennessee v. Reeves (1996), two girls had been convicted ofbeing delinquent for attempting to poison their teacher. The CarrollCounty Court established that they were guilty of trying to committhe crime (Schmalleger &amp Hall, 2010).

The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the trial court. Althoughthe girls did not put the poison in the coffee, they brought it tothe crime scene. Thus, they were prepared to proceed with thecriminal act. According to Tennessee attempt law, a person who iscapable of committing the offence is guilty if he or she“intentionally engages in action or cause a result that wouldconstitute an offence”, take steps that are an element of acriminal activity or “acts with intent to complete a course ofaction that would constitute the offense”. However, corroborativeevidence of the intent is critical. The court established that therewas a discrepancy between the model penal code and the intentions ofthe legislature to abandon old provisions of the common law.Therefore, the question was whether preparedness is equivalent to thecriminal act itself. Consequently, the court could have argued thatthere was no substantive step taken by the offenders (Schmalleger &ampHall, 2010).

The court withheld the decision of the lower court. However, if thesubstantial steps requirement was taken into consideration, the courtruling could have been different. This is because the girls did notuse the poison, despite its presence in the crime scene.

Part 3

The principle issue in the Commonwealth v. Mcllwain School BusLines (1980) was whether a corporate organization could be heldlegally responsible for a crime. It involved an incidence whether aschool bus owned by McIlwain School Bus Lines Inc. killed children.Consequently, the company was charged with homicide. This resulted inan appeal (Schmalleger &amp Hall, 2010).

In its arguments, the corporation stated that the statute thatdefines homicide by a vehicle does not involve pieces of equipmentthat are essential, but its operations. Secondly, the offense couldonly be committed by natural persons. However, the court ruled thatthe corporations should be considered as legal entities and,therefore, can have criminal liability. Despite this, they are notliable if the crime is as a result of negligence of an individual oris nonfeasance. For example, a corporate can violate the law leadingto the death of persons. According to the law, homicide by vehicle is“committed by any person who unintentionally causes the death ofanother person while engaged in the violation”. This includesindividuals as well as corporate (Schmalleger &amp Hall, 2010).

This decision has an impact on the legal systems. For example,business entities will be legally responsible for the loss of liferesulting from poor policies or violation of the law. Additionally,individuals will not be punished for corporate crimes.


Schmalleger, F. &amp Hall, D. (2010). Criminal Law Today.Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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