- Bob is a hard-working guy who lives in Smallville, USA. Bob is getting ready for work one day and listening to the national news at the same time. He hears a report from the director of the FBI that Osama Bin Laden is now in the United States and is hiding out somewhere near Smallville, USA. The FBI director advised the people of Smallville to be on the lookout for Bin Laden, that he is armed and dangerous and is planning a terrorist attack. The FBI director said they have intelligence information that Bin Laden was spotted in a brown Pontiac 2 door vehicle and had vowed to blow up an innocent person’s house as a show of his power in the USA. Bob looks out the window of his house as this news report is still happening. Bob has been watching the news for the last 24 hours because of the attack on the World Trade Centers in New York, and Osama Bin Laden was reported to be responsible for those attacks. Bob sees a brown 2 door Pontiac pull up in front of his neighbor’s house. An Arab man with a long beard gets out of the car carrying a large black package and begins walking up to his neighbor’s door. Bob realizes this man is Osama Bin Laden and he fears he is going to blow up his neighbor’s house. He grabs his gun and runs out the front door. He yells at the man firing his gun at the same time. Bob kills the man. His neighbor comes running out of the house as Bob is walking up to the man. His neighbor asked Bob what he had done. Bob said, “I just killed Osama Bin Laden! He was going to blow up your house!” Bob’s neighbor then said, “That’s not Osama Bin Laden! That is the pizza delivery man and that is the pizza I just ordered! Bob looked down and could see the Pizza Hut logo on the man’s shirt and could see a corner of the pizza box sticking out of the large black package. The man he killed was not Osama Bin Laden.
- John is not a hard-working guy. John also lives in Smallville. John has been in trouble his entire life and has been arrested many times. John was sitting at his house the same day the FBI warned the public that Osama Bin Laden was in the area. John did not hear this warning because his electricity had been shut off the week before. John called the electric company (Superior Energy) and after they refused to turn his electricity back on, he threatened to kill someone from Superior Energy. John was angry and bitter at Superior Energy. John told his friends and family he would get revenge against Superior Energy. John is sitting on his couch with a gun in his hand plotting his revenge and trying to figure out what he is going to do to Superior Energy. While John is sitting on the couch, he notices a Superior Energy electric company truck pull up in front the elementary school next to his house. The two men in the Superior Energy truck get out and begin unloading some equipment. John sees this as his opportunity to teach Superior Energy a lesson. He runs out his door and shoots both men while screaming obscenities at them and cursing Superior Energy. The neighbors and teachers at the school witness this and call the police. When the police arrive, John gives up and admits he killed the men. The police quickly realize that the two men John killed were not Superior Energy workers. One of the men was Osama Bin Laden and the other man was one of Bin Laden’s top men – also wanted by the FBI. The police also found plastic explosives in the bags the men were carrying and blueprints of the elementary school. Later the police found the two Superior Energy workers that Osama had killed so that he could steal the Superior Energy truck and uniforms from the dead men.
- What is more important when determining criminal culpability – the intent or the outcome? Explain.
- Would you charge either of these men with a crime? What crime? Do the elements fit your charge using the Texas Penal Code?
- Is it possible to have good intentions but a bad outcome? Did that happen with either man? Explain.
- Is it possible to have bad intentions but a good outcome? Did that happen with either man? Explain.
- If Osama Bin Laden were not killed by John, could he be charged with the death of the pizza driver? Explain.
Suggested Sections of the Texas Penal Code for Guidance
SEC. 2 .02. Exception
SEC. 2.03. Defense
S EC. 2.04. Affirmative Defense
SEC. 6.02. Requirement of Culpability
SEC. 6.03. Definitions of Culpable Mental States
Sec. 7.02. Criminal Responsibility for Conduct of Another
SEC. 8.02 Mistake of Fact
SEC. 9.32. Deadly Force in Defense of a Person
SEC. 9.33. Defense of Third Person