Bar Exam (US) Criminal Law: In 1990, a nuclear accident occurred at the Yankee nuclear power pla...

Question

In 1990, a nuclear accident occurred at the Yankee nuclear power plant that was located just outside the Gotham city limits. As a result of the accident, nuclear wastes were discharged into the Gotham River, causing widespread contamination of local oyster beds. This was particularly catastrophic in light of subsequent medical studies which revealed that thousands of persons who ate the contaminated oysters developed cancer, leukemia, and other fatal diseases.

For ten years, the Yankee nuclear facility was closed down. But in 2000 officials at the power plant announced plans to restart operations. Gotham residents and environmentalists were incensed by the news. One such opponent who was instrumental in organizing demonstrations against the reopening was Deb M. Straighter, a waitress at a Gotham sushi restaurant. Despite local opposition, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) gave its approval and the Yankee nuclear plant reopened its facility. Deb, however, decided to continue her fight, and devised a plan to bring media attention to this problem.

She devised a scheme whereby she would contaminate oysters at her restaurant with small amounts of a poisonous substance called strychnine. Although she didn't want to seriously injure anyone, Deb believed that if some people got sick from eating the oysters they would attribute their illness to nuclear wastes from the power plant. To facilitate her plan, she enlisted the help of her boyfriend, Benny Peck. At first, Benny adamantly refused to go along with her scheme. But when Deb threatened to break off their relationship, Benny reluctantly agreed to assist her. Benny, a premed student at Gotham University, then sought the assistance of his friend, Phil Dispenser, a registered pharmacist. Benny falsely told Phil that he needed two ounces of strychnine for an experiment he was conducting with rats. Although a state statute made it a felony to sell strychnine without a prescription, Phil sold Benny the drug without a prescription. Benny then gave the strychnine to Deb who sprinkled it on some oysters at the restaurant where she worked. Mistakenly, she put too much of the poison on some of the oysters. A few of the customers who ate the oysters became sick and nauseous. One person suffered convulsions and died from the strychnine poisoning.

A statute in the jurisdiction provides: "Any intentional and premeditated killing or one occurring during the perpetration of a felony, is murder in the first degree. Murder in the second degree is murder with intent to cause serious bodily harm. Manslaughter is an unlawful killing due to recklessness." Assault with intent to kill or to cause serious physical injury is a felony in the jurisdiction. There are no separate felonies relating to adulterating food or poisoning.

The most serious crime for which Phil can properly be convicted is

AnswerChoose the correct answer.Choose all that apply. Correct Partially correct Incorrect Don't Know

  1. A
    Correct Answer
    first degree murder
  2. B
    Correct Answer
    second degree murder
  3. C
    Correct Answer
    manslaughter
  4. D
    Correct Answer
    selling drugs without a prescription
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