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Latin. An act does not make a person guilty, unless the intention be also guilty. To constitute a crime the intent and the act must concur; a mere overt act, without wrongful intention, does not make guilt. There is not a maxim more true, nor one which should be more seriously considered than this; for by the various degrees of criminality in the offender, the punishment should be inflicted. There are more gradations in crime, even where attached to the same offense, than ' colors in the bow.' This maxim applies only to criminal cases; in civil matters it is otherwise.


Homicide, or the mere killing of one person by another, does not, of itself, constitute murder; it may be murder, or manslaughter, or excusable, or justifiable homicide, and therefore entirely innocent, according to the circumstances, or the disposition or state of mind or purpose, which induced the act. It is not, therefore, the act which constitutes the offense, or determines its character; but the quo animo, the disposition, or state of mind, with which it is done. Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea:' People v. Pond, 8 Mich. 150. 


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