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Strict Liability

Criminalizing V. Grading

Professor Kenneth Simons has posited a distinction between at least two kinds of strict criminal liability. What he terms "strict liability in criminalizing" reaches the cases, mentioned above, of the "greater legal and moral wrongs," as well as the simple case where the defendant believes he is possessing sugar. Strict liability in grading, however, covers the "greater crime" situation, where the defendant knows he is involved in a low level of criminality, but turns out to have committed a greater harm than he envisioned. The distinction is helpful in several ways, most importantly because it distinguishes between the person who is not culpable at all and the person who is, in any event, culpable with regard to (part of) the result.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal LawStrict Liability - Historical Reasons For Development, Sentencing Factors V. Elements, Arguments For Strict Criminal Liability, Criminalizing V. Grading