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What do the legal terms Actus Reus and Mens Rea mean?
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High School Teacher
Mens Reais Latin for "guilty mind" and in a legal setting (it originated as a concept in English law) it means the mental portion of the crime a defendant is accused of. That is to say, did they intend to commit the crime? Were they mentally capable of it? Sometimes in informal terms, you'll hear a prosecutor looking for motive and intent, did the defendant have a reason to commit the crime and followed through with a clear decision to do so?
Actus Reusis Latin for "guilty act" and is the actual act of committing the crime, the physical action that a person is charged for. In some legal systems, and in general in legal thought, a person cannot be considered guilty of Actus Reus if Mens Rea cannot be proven. Those ruled unfit for trial or mentally incompetent to stand trial fall under this category.
Posted by brettd on June 16, 2012 at 9:40 PM (Answer #1)
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