Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Knowingly Definition:

Acting voluntarily and intentionally and not because of mistake or accident.

Related Terms: Willfully

"A defendant acts knowingly as long as he is aware of the existence of facts that make his conduct unlawful; he need not know that his actions are illegal."

Such were the words of the then-86-year old Mr. Justice William Justice Bauer of the United States Court of Appeals in Curtis v Montgomery.

Compare with Legal Definition of Willfully.

Justice William Rehnquist (1924-2005) of the Supreme Court of the United States, in US v Bailey, adopted these words:

"(A) person who causes a particular result is said to ... act knowingly if he is aware that that result is practically certain to follow from his conduct, whatever his desire may be as to that result."

In US v Jorge De Castro-Font, Justice Francisco Besosa of the United States District Court (Puerto Rico) used these words:

"Knowingly means that the act was done voluntarily and intentionally and not because of mistake or accident.

"It has also been held to mean that the defendant knew what he or she was doing and was aware of the nature of his or her conduct, and that the defendant did not act through ignorance mistake or accident."

In US v Torres, Madam Justice Kathleen Cardone of the United States District Court at El Paso, Texas wrote:

"A person acts knowingly if he is aware that [a particular result is practically certain to follow from his conduct, whatever his desire may be as to that result. This definition is equally applicable to the failure to do an act. Unless the text of the statute dictates a different result, the term knowingly merely requires proof of knowledge of the facts that constitute the offense."

REFERENCES:

  • Curtis v. Montgomery, 552 F. 3d 578 (2009)
  • US v De Castro-Font, 587 F. Supp. 2d 372 (2008; Footnote #1)
  • US v Bailey, 444 U.S. 394 (1984)
  • US v. Torres, 599 F. Supp. 2d 767 (2008)

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