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Criminal Defenses

1L

QuestionAnswer
What are CRIMINAL DEFENSES. The law recognizes that even though the State has established each element of a crime beyond a reasonable dourt, SOME CASES STILL WARRANT S "NOT GUITY VERDICT."
What are 2 ways (thus far) to avoid criminal liabilty? 1) Defendant raise a REASONABLE DOUBT to at least one element of the crime charged with; and 2) Defendnat may have a defense that is provided by the law (duress, self-defense, entrapment or mentall ill),
Discuss the MISTAKE OF FACT DEFENSE (mental state topic). Defendant asserts he made a mistake. Defendant claims he lacks culpable mental state. THESE MISTAKES are as to an element in the definition of the crime-then he may have a defense.
Discuss Mistake of Fact under the traditional approach (reasonable/unreasonableness). If charged with a specific intent crime Def. made a mistake (reasonable or unreasonable)-he did not have the intent "NOT GUILTY." If a strict liability crime-MISTAKE NOT A DEFENSE. A crime of malice or reckless-Def. made a reasonable mistake NOT GUILTY
If a Defendant is charged with a malice or reckless crime and the defendant made an UNREASONABLE mistake is that a defense. NO, Defendant is GUILTY.
Discuss MISTAKE OF FACT under the M.P.C. If the Def. claims he made a mistake, jury will be asked to decide: A) Did he really make that mistake and 2) If so did he still possess the mental state for the crime? No mental state-NOT GUILTY; Mental state-GUILTY.
Discuss the BURDEN OF PROOF DEFENSE U.S. Supreme court ruled that the State can either require the Def. to prove the defense by a preponderance of evidence OR can simply require Def. to raise a reasonable doubt on the particular issue- If successful-NOT GUILTY.
The four major insanity approaches used by most jurisdictions (a) M'Naghten Test, (b) Irresistible Impulse, (c) MPC test, and,(d) Durham Product Test.
(a) M'Naghten Test Under the M'Naghten Test, a defendant may be found not guilty by reason of insanity if his actions were the product of a mental disease or defect such that he did not know right from wrong or was unable to understand the nature of his actions.
(b) Irresistible Impulse Under the irresistible impulse test, the defendant may be found not guilty by reason of insanity if their actions were the product of a mental disease or defect such that the defendant was unable to control his actions.
(c) MPC Approach The MPC approach combines the M'Naghten Test and the irresistible impulse test so that a defendant may be found not guilty of insanity if they were either unable to understand right from wrong or were unable to resist performing the criminal act.
(d) Durham Product Approach Under the Durham Product approach, defendant may be found not guilty by reason of insanity if their criminal act was the product of a mental disease or defect.
Duress (conspiracy, attempt, possession, murder) Duress is a defense holding that the defendant reasonably believed she was under the threat of imminent physical harm or death unless she committed the crime in question.
Mistake of civil law a defense if the defendant believed they were rightful in doing the act.
Voluntary Intoxication depending on how much alcohol is consumed could establish that the parties could no longer establish the requisite state of mind to commit specific intent crimes.
No duty Defendant argues not liable for death because they had no relationship or special relationship to act existed.
Not the proximate cause Defendant argues they are not liable for death because of having no involvement.
Necessity If attempted larceny is found, defendant argues there was a necessity to do what they did to justify a crime.
Attempted larceny Defendant argues they did not have the requisite mens rea to commit larceny.
Factual Impossibility When a Defendant cannot commit a crime because of the factual impossibility, it will not serve as a defense as long as the mens rea was present.
Infancy The infancy defense claims that the defendant has not yet reached an age of criminal responsibility at the time of the offense, and therefore cannot be held responsible for his actions.
Coercion and intimidation a defendant’s stated reason that the act was not voluntarily done, but due to force or coercion in the form of intimidation and fear of death or serious bodily harm or injury to the defendant or to his/her family.
Consent when the victim might reasonably be shown to have consented to the defendant's actions. This defense is only valid when the def's action is not strictly forbidden by statute, such as with many strict liability crimes and so-called consensual crimes.
Self-defense A non-aggressor is justified in using force upon another if he reasonably believes such force is necessary to protect himself from imminent use of unlawful force by the other person.
Entrapment when it is established that the agent or official originated the idea of the crime and induced the accused to engage in it.
Nonexculpatory Defenses Those defenses that are not at all grounded in a lack of culpability of the defendant that is supported by some other important public policy consideration.
Excuses Apply in the case of a particular offense even though all elements of that offense are fully established, and typically apply to general offenses instead of particular offenses.
Justifications Defenses that are not grounded in the proposition that the harm caused by the defendant is not of the type sought to be prevented by the offense charged.
Offense Modification Defenses Come into play when the actor has satisfied all elements of the offense charged, but yet has not in fact caused the harm or evil sought to be prevented by the statute defining the offense.
Failure of Proof Defenses One in which the defendant has introduced evidence at his criminal trial showing that some essential element of the crime charged has not been proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
Statute of Limitations Legislative time limits on the start of criminal prosecutions that are created to protect people from having to defend against charges when the facts may have become obscured by the passage of time and to minimize danger of punishment for past acts.
Examples of Justification Defenses Necessity, public duty, domestic authority, self-defense, defense of another, and law enforcement.
MPC definition of Necessity Defendant actually (reasonably or unreasonably) believes there exists a threatened harm that would make the defensive response both necessary and proportional.
Examples of Excuse Defenses Infancy, duress
Example of Nonexculpatory Defense Entrapment
Partial Responsibility (diminished responsibility) An abnormal mental condition that renders a person unable to form the specific intent necessary for the commission of a crime (as first-degree murder) but that does not amount to insanity.
Insanity Defense The jury renders a verdict of "not guilty by reason of insanity" and the def. usually is committed to a mental hospital.
Imperfect Defense The belief was not reasonable to use deadly force in self-defense. Would downgrade murder to voluntary manslaughter. Partial responsibility (mental state) evidence would be appropriate.
Intoxication Defense Used in situations where there was alcohol or narcotic drugs. Note: May not get far because intoxication may be an element of the crime. Must negate a required element of the crime.
Involuntary Intoxication When a person is forced to consume an intoxicant against his/her will. may not be able to distinguish right from wrong at the time of committing the wrongful act and therefore would have a valid defense.
Created by: Rochelle28nm