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There are now 10 comments... what are your thoughts?
  1. Jeremy says

    Frack = ‘dangerous’? though i suppose it’s in scare quotes.

  2. Why on earth are they called “scare” quotes? Writers use them to say “so-called” or “so to speak” — not to say “boo!”

  3. Zach says

    I guess this one I’m really having a problem with. Why, if buying talc-cocaine is still illegal (the mistake in fact being the cocaine being talc instead of cocaine), is the voodoo-guy not in trouble (the mistake in fact being that voodoo is bunk instead of voodoo being legitimate)?

    • The short answer is that the voodoo example wasn’t about mistake. Joe the voodoo guy couldn’t have been charged with KILLING Simon, because his act did not cause Simon’s death. His example was all about actus reus. But he did sincerely attempt to commit the crime.

      But Joe is distinguishable here, as well. Frack could have succeeded, had he not been stymied by the cops. Joe never could have succeeded. His attempt wasn’t merely impossible due to happenstance, but because the universe doesn’t work that way.

      In most jurisdictions, there’s no way he could be punished for attempt, because he never got close to succeeding. In an “any overt act” kind of jurisdiction, the prosecutor might have more discretion to charge him, though it’d probably still be laughed out of court.

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