TO: Nancy R. Daspit
FROM: Susie Student
DATE: May 25, 2008
RE: Robert Smith; robbery
(Two examples are shown; either form is correct)
(1) Under Georgia law, is Smith guilty of robbery when he
slipped a note to a bank teller but ran out of the bank before
he received any money?
(2) Whether Smith was guilty of robbery under Georgia law when
he slipped a note to a bank teller but ran out of the bank
before he received any money.
Probably yes. To be guilty of robbery, a suspect must (a)
have the intent to take something that does not belong to him,
(b) take at least one affirmative action in furtherance of that
intent, and (c) use force or intimidation in taking any action
in furtherance of that unlawful intent. In this case, Smith
intended to rob the bank because the note he passed to the
teller ordered the teller to give him money. This note
satisfies the intimidation element for robbery, and Smith’s act
of passing the note to the teller was an affirmative action in
furtherance of his unlawful intent.
Robert Smith is a twenty-five year old man living in
Atlanta, Georgia. On March 13, 2008, the police arrested Smith
for robbery of the Bank of America branch on Peachtree Street.
The bank teller said a man passed her a note saying, “I
have a gun. Put all of the money from your cash drawer into a
bag and pass it to me.” Before she could comply with these
requirements, the man ran out of the bank.
After being questioned, Smith came to the police station
voluntarily and agreed to participate in a lineup. The teller
identified Smith in this police lineup on March 16, 2008, and
the police arrested him immediately after he was identified.
Smith gave a statement to the police saying that he was at work
and not in the bank that day; however, he is a telephone
repairman, who goes on service calls at various locations. The
police are still checking his story.
Smith’s defense attorney has said that the crime of robbery
was not committed by anyone because the suspect, whoever it was,
ran out of the bank before receiving any money. My supervising
attorney has asked me to research whether this argument is
Note: Because only the headings would have been at the bottom
of the page, I moved both headings to the top of the next page
to avoid a “hanging heading.”
I. Smith is probably guilty of robbery under Georgia law
because his actions satisfied all of the elements of the crime.
Under Georgia law, a person is guilty of robbery if he (a)
has the intent to take something that does not belong to him,
(b) takes at least one affirmative action in furtherance of that
intent, and (c) uses force or intimidation in taking any action
in furtherance of that unlawful intent. State v. Johnson, 685
S.E.2d 587, 589 (Ga. 1994). The prosecution must prove beyond a
reasonable doubt that the defendant satisfies all three
elements. Id. at 588.
The law requires all three elements to ensure that both the
mens rea and actus rea for a crime are satisfied. Id. Thus, a
suspect must take some sort of action to accomplish the unlawful
result, as well as have the intent to commit that unlawful act.
Id. at 589.
This memo will now analyze the intent, the action, and the
force requirements to show that Smith probably is guilty of
A. Smith had the requisite intent to commit robbery.
To convict a suspect of robbery, the prosecution must prove
beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect possessed the
necessary intent to commit the crime of robbery. Johnson, 685
S.E.2d at 589.
A suspect’s intent is demonstrated through his actions.
Id. In Johnson, a suspect was accused of robbing a liquor
store. The cashier said Johnson came into the store and asked
for a specific, expensive bottle of wine. As the clerk walked
to the back of the store to get the wine, Johnson followed him.
When the clerk opened the door to the storage room, which also
contained the safe, Johnson grabbed the clerk’s arm and tried to
pin him to the ground. Johnson had a knife in his other hand.
When the clerk fought back, Johnson ran out of the store.
Later, when Johnson was questioned, he said he merely tripped
and grabbed the clerk’s arm to keep from falling to the ground.
He further said that he had opened his pocket knife to cut a
thread on his jacket. Thus, Johnson argued, he did not have the
requisite intent to commit a robbery. Id. at 589-590.
On an evidentiary motion, however, the court held that
actions can demonstrate a person’s intent. Id. at 591. The
court stated that using after-the-fact statements to determine
intent after the events had occurred was impossible because it
was like trying to read someone’s mind and would inevitably
result in the intent element never being satisfied. “No one
would admit to an intent to commit a crime once they got away
from a potentially criminal situation.” Id.
The mere threat of a weapon is sufficient to demonstrate
felonious intent. State v. Jones, 795 S.E.2d 435, 437 (Ga.
1995). (Now explain this thesis point, similar to the way the
previous thesis point was explained above.)
In this case, Smith demonstrated his criminal intent
through his actions. The bank teller identified Smith as the
person who handed her a note saying, “I have a gun. Put all of
the money from your cash drawer into a bag and pass it to me.”
While the teller was putting money in a bag, something caused
Smith to change his mind, and he ran out of the bank. Even
though Smith has said he was working, the bank teller identified
Smith as the suspect who gave her the note. Similar to the
defendant’s actions in Johnson, Smith’s actions demonstrate his
intent to commit a robbery.
Furthermore, the intent element is satisfied even though
Smith never drew a gun or showed a gun to the teller. Similar
to the defendant in the Jones case, who said he had a bomb in
the gym bag he was carrying although he never showed it to the
store manager, Smith’s note said he had a gun. As in Jones,
this threat of a weapon satisfies the felonious intent element.
Therefore, Smith’s actions demonstrate his intent to commit
B. Smith’s actions in going to the bank and passing the
teller a note were affirmative actions that furthered his
You would now follow the CREAC paradigm to analyze this
C. Smith’s note indicated he had a gun, which satisfies
the intimidation element.
You would now follow the CREAC paradigm to analyze this
Smith is probably guilty of robbery. He demonstrated the
intent to rob the Bank of America by going to the bank and
handing the teller a note indicating he had a gun and wanted
money. In addition to showing intent, these actions started the
process of a robbery, and thus were in furtherance of Smith’s
criminal intent. Because the note indicated that Smith had a
gun, the element of force or intimidation is also satisfied.
Thus, unless Smith’s alibi indicates he really was at work on
March 13, 2008, Smith is probably guilty of robbery.