Circumstances and “Impossibility”

Gideon Yaffe

in Attempts

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199590667
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595530 | DOI:
Circumstances and “Impossibility”

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In cases misleadingly labeled “impossible attempts”, defendants fall short of completion because some circumstantial element of the crime is absent. Unable to show that the stereo the defendant received was stolen, the prosecution charges an attempt to receive stolen property. When does such a defendant have an intention that commits him to the stereo's being stolen? This chapter argues that the defendant has the needed intention if he has a de re intention that represents the stereo as stolen. A de dicto intention suffices, but is not necessary since, unlike a de re intention, it commits the agent to causing it to be the case that the stereo he receives is stolen, which is not required for completion of the crime. The chapter also argues that under some conditions whether or not the defendant's intention commits him to the legally relevant property depends on whether the object has it.

Keywords: attempt; de re; de dicto; intention; circumstances; impossibility

Chapter.  23606 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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