Chapter

The Need for an Act

Gideon Yaffe

in Attempts

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199590667
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595530 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590667.003.0009
The Need for an Act

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Some have resisted criminalizing attempt on the grounds that there ought not to be any thought crimes. This concern is ameliorated by requiring an act in furtherance of one's intention for criminal liability for attempt. This chapter argues that this requirement is justified for evidential reasons: without an act in furtherance of his intention, we lack sufficient evidence that the defendant was trying to commit a crime. But why think an act is indispensable evidence of trying, evidence that cannot be replaced by other evidence, such as a confession? It is argued that without action we lack evidence that the defendant would have completed the crime, given ability, opportunity and no change of mind. Given the view of guidance by intention offered in Chapter 3, it follows that without an act we lack sufficient evidence that the defendant is trying to commit the crime.

Keywords: attempt; action; means; thought crimes; evidence; confession

Chapter.  11801 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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