Legal and moral problems in criminal attempts

Laud-Hammond, Archibald Nii Maatei , Philosophy, University of Virginia
Diamond, Cora, Philosophy, University of Virginia
Thomas, George, Philosophy, University of Virginia
Woozley, A. D. (Anthony Douglas), Philosophy, University of Virginia
Low, Peter, Philosophy, University of Virginia

This dissertation is about criminal attempts in the Anglo-American common law tradition although aspects of the subject as treated in the Continental civil law tradition are considered where necessary. Three main problems are dealt with. It is traditionally thought that in Anglo-American criminal jurisprudence mere preparation to commit a crime does not constitute an attempt to commit the crime hence it is non-criminal. This legal thesis is rejected. I argue that given the raisons d'etre of punishing attempts any act done with the intention of committing a substantive crime ought to constitute an attempt to commit the crime hence punishable.
I also argue that with respect to the doctrine of impossibility in criminal attempts, the distinction that is so often drawn between "legal" and "factual" impossibility is a silly distinction which ought to be abolished; and, furthermore, the whole doctrine of impossibility ought to be eliminated.
On the question of quantum of punishment the submission is made that the almost universal practice of punishing criminal attempts less severely than completed crimes is not based on any rational foundation hence unjustified both in law and morality. The line of argument employed in the entire dissertation is utilitarian.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Criminal attempt -- Evaluation, Common law -- Evaluation, Jurisprudence, Criminal attempt -- Moral and ethical aspects
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