Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Mens Rea

  • Nathalie DeFabriqueEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1008


Guilty mind


Mens rea is a Latin term used to describe the mental component of criminal responsibility. The concept of mens rea developed in England when judges decided that a criminal act alone in and of itself did not make an individual criminally responsible. The person is considered liable for the criminal act if during the offense he or she was believed to be in a guilty state of mind. If one is considered to be in a guilty state of mind, it supposes that the individual possessed knowledge of wrongfulness and a willingness to offend. In short, mens rea is the person’s appreciation of the fact that the conduct was criminal. The concept of mens rea is the state of mind that the prosecution must prove that a defendant had when committing a crime.


References and Readings

  1. Dubber, M. D. (2002). Criminal law: Model penal code. New York: Foundation Press.Google Scholar
  2. Goldstein, A. M. (2003). Evaluation of criminal responsibility. In A. Goldstein (Ed.), Handbook of psychology (Vol. 11). Forensic psychology. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  3. Yates, K. F., & Denney, R. L. (2008). Neuropsychology in the assessment of mental state at the time of the offense. In R. Denney & J. Sullivan (Eds.), Clinical neuropsychology in the criminal forensic setting. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cook County Department of CorrectionsChicagoUSA