What does this guy’s brain have anything to do with the criminal trial tip of the day. Everything is the answer. More specifically it is Mens Rea . Don’t overlook the mens rea in every case. i almost did .

In preparing for a criminal trial , one gets caught up in witnesses , getting your client ready to testify , jury selection , and the other things you have to do to get ready. Sometimes the basic elements of the offense are overlooked. I tried a child abuse case this week . One of the key issues was that the child witness recanted several times to various people including the forensic examiner . I got so caught up in that one critical component of the case , I almost forgot the mental element.

Mens rea is defined as a guilty mind or criminal intent. In a child abuse case , one of the elements is knowingly .

          "Knowingly" means that a person acts knowingly with respect to the conduct or to circumstances surrounding the conduct when the person is aware of the nature of the conduct or that the circumstances exist.  A person acts knowingly with respect to a result of the person’s conduct when the person is aware that the conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result.3

            The requirement of "knowingly" is also established if it is shown that the defendant acted intentionally

There is only one mental element in a Tennessee child abuse and neglect charge. The conduct must be knowingly . No other mental element will suffice like recklessly.

Bottom line is to not forget the mens rea of the criminal conduct .