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the intention to commit a wrongful act, the element that establishes criminal responsibility; a criminal mind
Latin 'guilty mind'
Latin phrase meaning "guilty mind."
in Anglo-American law, criminal intent or evil mind. In general, the definition of a criminal offense involves not only an act or omission and its consequences but also the accompanying mental state of the actor. All criminal systems require an element of criminal intent for most crimes. Only Anglo-American systems, however, employ the term mens rea. Countries such as France and Japan simply specify that there must be a criminal intent unless a specific statute directs otherwise.