This Practice Exam presumes that you have completed all 23 lessons in the following classes in Criminal Law.
Class 1 - Introduction
Class 2 - Understanding Criminal Statutes
Class 3 - The General Part
Practice Exam Instructions
In answering the questions, please organize your discussion clearly. You do not need to strictly follow “IRAC” or a similar structure, but it usually is a good idea to state a general legal rule before trying to apply it. It is also in your interest to state your conclusions clearly and early. In addition, don’t forget that the most important thing is showing your work; it’s not enough merely to get the right answer. I’m more interested in seeing how you get to the right answer, and whether you make good arguments on both sides. Please write in complete, grammatical sentences.
If your answer to a question depends on a fact you have not been given, make a reasonable assumption, and explain what you have assumed.
You will only have 2 hours to read the prompts and complete your responses. When you are ready, press "Start Timer" and begin.
Part One (50%)
After graduating from 7Sage School of Law, you are hired as an attorney for the Public Defender’s Office of the State of Southlandia. You’re quickly given your first case: you’ve been asked to defend Harold Gunton, a 76-year-old farmer who has been arrested after 12 ounces of methamphetamine were found in his truck, which he was driving across the state. In his confidential interview with you, Harold tells you that he had agreed to take a payment of $800 in order to transport a closed briefcase in his truck while he was delivering some of his crops to a distributor. The man who arranged the payment, Albert “Sharky” Jones, is well known in Gunton’s hometown as a man who sells unlicensed (and hence illegal) firearms. Gunton said he “didn’t know what was in the briefcase, and I never opened it up because Sharky told me not to and I wasn’t interested anyways.” He admits, however, that he “assumed that the briefcase contained guns” and claims that he was “surprised to discover that there were drugs in the case, because I didn’t know Sharky was in that line of business.”
Gunton is charged with two counts: (1) a violation of Southlandia Code § 716, which provides that “whoever knowingly possesses any quantity of methamphetamine is guilty of a first-degree felony” and (2) a violation of Southlandia Code § 731(b), which provides that “whoever possesses more than one ounce of methamphetamine is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor.”
Based on these facts, analyze whether you think Gunton will be found guilty of either or both charges (for your purposes, assume that a person can be convicted under both statutes). Southlandia courts follow common-law rules (such as the majority in United States v. Jewell) but they also look to the Model Penal Code for guidance. So you should analyze the issues under both the common law and MPC rules.
Part Two (50%)
Reconsider the dispute in United States v. Jewell over willful blindness. If you were a Southlandia legislator, what rule would you choose for how to handle the willful blindness situation? You could choose the majority’s common-law approach, the dissent’s Model Penal Code approach, or some other approach of your own design. Make an argument as to which approach would be better, looking to the theories of punishment you have studied. You can also use the fact pattern of Part One as an illustrative example to explain why one approach or the other is better.
Write your responses to Part One and Part Two in the Note section below.