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Comparison definition. Factual: The defendant must have a criminal intention to perform the act, but the crime cannot be accomplished due to factual circumstances surrounding the event. Legal: The defendant acts with the wrongful intent, but the act cannot result in a crime because an important element of the crime is lacking. See Impossibility.


What is a 'legal impossibility' as distinguished from a 'physical or factual impossibility' has over a long period of time perplexed courts and has resulted in many irreconcilable decisions and much philosophical discussion by legal scholars in numerous articles and papers in law school publications and by text writers. See, for example: 'Contemporary Problems of Criminal Attempts' by Paul Kichyun Ryu, Rpofessor Law, Seoul University in Korea, 32 New York University Law Review, page 1170 (1957); 'The Effect of Impossibility on Criminal Attempts' by John S. Strahorn, Jr., 78 University of Pennsylvania Law Review, page 962 (1930); 'Criminal Attempts -- The Rise and Fall of an Abstraction' by Honorable Thurman W. Arnold, Dean of University of West Virginia Law School and visiting Professor of Law at Yale (later Associate Justice, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia), 40 Yale Law Journal, ...

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