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PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D Excuses as Defenses Bakersfield.

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Presentation on theme: "PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D Excuses as Defenses Bakersfield."— Presentation transcript:

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2 PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D Excuses as Defenses Bakersfield College Criminal Law Criminal Law Today

3 By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Calif. Penal Code sect. 26 All persons are legally capable of committing crimes except: All persons are legally capable of committing crimes except:

4 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Calif. Penal Code sect. 26 (cont) Children under the age of 14 years, Children under the age of 14 years, In absence of clear proof (“Rebuttable”) that at the time of committing the act charged, they knew of its wrongfulness. In absence of clear proof (“Rebuttable”) that at the time of committing the act charged, they knew of its wrongfulness.

5 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Calif. Penal Code sect. 26 (cont) Idiots, Idiots, Possessing an IQ between Possessing an IQ between

6 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Calif. Penal Code sect. 26 (cont) Those who commit the act charged or made the omission under an ignorance or mistake of fact. Those who commit the act charged or made the omission under an ignorance or mistake of fact.

7 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Calif. Penal Code sect. 26 (cont) Those who commit the act without being conscious thereof. Those who commit the act without being conscious thereof.

8 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Calif. Penal Code sect. 26 (cont) Those who commit the act charged or made the omission charged through accident or misfortune. Those who commit the act charged or made the omission charged through accident or misfortune.

9 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Calif. Penal Code sect. 26 (cont) Those (except for crimes punishable by death) who commit the act or made the omission charged under threats or menaces to show they had reasonable cause to believe their lives would be in danger if they refused. “Duress” (more to follow) Those (except for crimes punishable by death) who commit the act or made the omission charged under threats or menaces to show they had reasonable cause to believe their lives would be in danger if they refused. “Duress” (more to follow)

10 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Calif. Penal Code sect. 26 PC 26 does not “apply” to the police. PC 26 does not “apply” to the police. Police may still detain and / or arrest. Police may still detain and / or arrest.

11 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Calif. Penal Code sect. 26 Examples A retarded person who has a low IQ who is charged with financial embezzlement. A retarded person who has a low IQ who is charged with financial embezzlement. A person who insists that she was unconscious (be it asleep, intoxicated or due to an injury) at the time her accomplice committed a crime. A person who insists that she was unconscious (be it asleep, intoxicated or due to an injury) at the time her accomplice committed a crime. A person who held open a paper bag for a teller to put money in it while at gun point by a kidnapper. A person who held open a paper bag for a teller to put money in it while at gun point by a kidnapper.

12 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ The Nature of Excuses Excuses are a category of legal defense in which the defendant claims that some personal condition or circumstance at the time of the act was such that he or she should not be held accountable under the law Excuses are a category of legal defense in which the defendant claims that some personal condition or circumstance at the time of the act was such that he or she should not be held accountable under the law Excuses admit that the actions committed were wrong Excuses admit that the actions committed were wrong But the actor should not be held criminally liable or worthy of blame due to special circumstances But the actor should not be held criminally liable or worthy of blame due to special circumstances

13 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Duress Also known as compulsion Also known as compulsion A condition under which one is forced to act against one’s will A condition under which one is forced to act against one’s will In his situation, he was unable to resist In his situation, he was unable to resist Example Example A mother who robs a bank when her daughter has been kidnapped and threatened unless the mother performs the act A mother who robs a bank when her daughter has been kidnapped and threatened unless the mother performs the act

14 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Duress Discussed Must be based on a showing that the defendant feared for his or her life or was in danger of great bodily harm Must be based on a showing that the defendant feared for his or her life or was in danger of great bodily harm Defendant was acting so as to prevent the death or bodily harm of another Defendant was acting so as to prevent the death or bodily harm of another The threat must have been immediate, clear, and inescapable, and must not have arisen from some illegal or immoral activity The threat must have been immediate, clear, and inescapable, and must not have arisen from some illegal or immoral activity

15 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Generally, Duress Duress is a defense only when the crime committed is less serious than the harm avoided. Duress is a defense only when the crime committed is less serious than the harm avoided.

16 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Intoxication Rarely an acceptable defense to a criminal charge Rarely an acceptable defense to a criminal charge Because intoxication is normally voluntary, it is not a “perfect defense” in most jurisdictions Because intoxication is normally voluntary, it is not a “perfect defense” in most jurisdictions The essence of any defense based on intoxication can be found in the effect that intoxication has on mens rea The essence of any defense based on intoxication can be found in the effect that intoxication has on mens rea

17 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Voluntary Intoxication Willful intoxication Willful intoxication Intoxication that is the result of personal choice Intoxication that is the result of personal choice Includes the voluntary ingestion, injection, or taking by any other means of any intoxicating liquor, drug, or other substance Includes the voluntary ingestion, injection, or taking by any other means of any intoxicating liquor, drug, or other substance

18 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Involuntary Intoxication Intoxication that is not willful Intoxication that is not willful Unknowing ingestion of an intoxicating substance Unknowing ingestion of an intoxicating substance Alcohol Alcohol Drug-laced food or drink Drug-laced food or drink May serve as a defense May serve as a defense Must create an incapacity to appreciate the criminality of his acts Must create an incapacity to appreciate the criminality of his acts OR OR Creates an incapacity to conform his behavior to the requirements of the law Creates an incapacity to conform his behavior to the requirements of the law

19 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Mistake of fact Misinterpretation, misunderstanding, or forgetfulness of a fact relating to the subject matter at hand Misinterpretation, misunderstanding, or forgetfulness of a fact relating to the subject matter at hand Belief in the existence of a thing or condition that does not exist Belief in the existence of a thing or condition that does not exist An honest mistake An honest mistake Generally precludes the actor from criminal liability Generally precludes the actor from criminal liability

20 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Ignorance of Fact Lack of knowledge of some fact relating to the subject matter at hand Lack of knowledge of some fact relating to the subject matter at hand Refers to Refers to Misinterpretations of the facts Misinterpretations of the facts Misunderstandings of the facts Misunderstandings of the facts Can be a defense to a criminal charge Can be a defense to a criminal charge Will not be a defense if a crime was intended (a burglar breaking into the wrong house) Will not be a defense if a crime was intended (a burglar breaking into the wrong house) May negate the mens rea required for a specific offense May negate the mens rea required for a specific offense

21 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Mistakes and Ignorance… Mistake of law Mistake of law A misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the law relevant to a situation at hand A misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the law relevant to a situation at hand Not an acceptable defense Not an acceptable defense Ignorance of the law Ignorance of the law A lack of knowledge of the law or of the existence of a law relevant to the situation at hand A lack of knowledge of the law or of the existence of a law relevant to the situation at hand Not an acceptable defense Not an acceptable defense Culpable ignorance Culpable ignorance The failure to exercise ordinary care to acquire knowledge of the law The failure to exercise ordinary care to acquire knowledge of the law

22 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Age Also called immaturity defense Also called immaturity defense Claims certain individuals should not be held criminally responsible because of youth Claims certain individuals should not be held criminally responsible because of youth Also called Also called Infancy Infancy Immaturity defenses Immaturity defenses

23 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Age Defenses Explained Children under the age of seven are incapable of rational thought and planned action Children under the age of seven are incapable of rational thought and planned action Unable to form mens rea Unable to form mens rea They are too young They are too young “…to know any better” “…to know any better” “…to make a conscious, moral choice between doing good and doing evil” “…to make a conscious, moral choice between doing good and doing evil”

24 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Juvenile Offender A child who A child who Violates the criminal law Violates the criminal law Commits a “status offense” Commits a “status offense” A child subject to juvenile court proceedings because a statutorily defined event caused by the person was alleged to have occurred while he or she was under 18 (or the jurisdiction’s specified age) “Best Interest of the Juvenile” A child subject to juvenile court proceedings because a statutorily defined event caused by the person was alleged to have occurred while he or she was under 18 (or the jurisdiction’s specified age) “Best Interest of the Juvenile” May be waived or transferred to adult court May be waived or transferred to adult court

25 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Entrapment (Calif. Law) An Affirmative Defense used where an officer induced another to commit the crime. An Affirmative Defense used where an officer induced another to commit the crime. Where the officer puts the unlawful design or intent into the mind of the accused. Where the officer puts the unlawful design or intent into the mind of the accused. Where the police merely provide an opportunity for the accused to commit the crime, no entrapment! Where the police merely provide an opportunity for the accused to commit the crime, no entrapment! May be committed by a private person acting at the direction of the police. (“Agent”) May be committed by a private person acting at the direction of the police. (“Agent”)

26 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Entrapment An improper or illegal inducement to crime by police “or their agents.” An improper or illegal inducement to crime by police “or their agents.” A defense that may be raised when such improper inducements are alleged A defense that may be raised when such improper inducements are alleged No crime would occur if not for government instigation. No crime would occur if not for government instigation. The two most common illegal inducements The two most common illegal inducements False representation by police that the unlawful behavior is not prohibited False representation by police that the unlawful behavior is not prohibited The inducements are so strong that a person of average will and good intent cannot resist The inducements are so strong that a person of average will and good intent cannot resist

27 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Entrapment Explained Not an effective defense when Not an effective defense when The government merely provided an opportunity or facilities for the commission of the crime The government merely provided an opportunity or facilities for the commission of the crime The police only engaged in the “mere fact of deceit” (“Ruse”) The police only engaged in the “mere fact of deceit” (“Ruse”)

28 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Two Different Tests for Entrapment Subjective approach – was the subject predisposed to commit the crime? Subjective approach – was the subject predisposed to commit the crime? Were there prior convictions for similar crimes Were there prior convictions for similar crimes Reputation for committing similar crimes Reputation for committing similar crimes Readiness to engage in a crime suggested by the police Readiness to engage in a crime suggested by the police Most states use this test Most states use this test Objective approach – was the police action in the case considered “outrageous government conduct”? Objective approach – was the police action in the case considered “outrageous government conduct”? (12 states use this test) (12 states use this test)

29 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Syndromes A syndrome is a complex of signs and symptoms presenting a clinical picture of a disease or disorder A syndrome is a complex of signs and symptoms presenting a clinical picture of a disease or disorder Some defense syndrome strategies include Some defense syndrome strategies include BWS – Battered woman’s syndrome BWS – Battered woman’s syndrome Battered child’s syndrome Battered child’s syndrome Rape Trauma / Sexual Abuse syndrome Rape Trauma / Sexual Abuse syndrome PMS syndrome PMS syndrome PTS syndrome PTS syndrome Urban survival syndrome Urban survival syndrome

30 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Battered Woman’s Syndrome The best known of the syndromes The best known of the syndromes A condition characterized by a history of repetitive domestic abuse and learned helplessness A condition characterized by a history of repetitive domestic abuse and learned helplessness The subjective inability to leave an abusive situation The subjective inability to leave an abusive situation May provide additional justification for a woman who kills during an episode of beating––when the threat of death or great bodily harm is imminent May provide additional justification for a woman who kills during an episode of beating––when the threat of death or great bodily harm is imminent

31 PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D Defense of Insanity Criminal Law Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D

32 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Competency to Stand Trial A finding by a court A finding by a court When a defendant’s mental competency to stand trial is at issue When a defendant’s mental competency to stand trial is at issue The defendant has sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding The defendant has sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding He has a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceeding against him He has a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceeding against him

33 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Competency to Stand Trial Explained Competency to stand trial focuses on the defendant's condition at the time of trial Competency to stand trial focuses on the defendant's condition at the time of trial Competency is not conditional on the defendant’s state at the time when the crime occurred Competency is not conditional on the defendant’s state at the time when the crime occurred The federal test to determine competency: The federal test to determine competency: Sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding Sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding Whether he has a relational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him Whether he has a relational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him Once sanity has been recovered, the defendant may be brought to trial Once sanity has been recovered, the defendant may be brought to trial

34 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Incompetent to Stand Trial A finding by a court A finding by a court As a result of a mental illness, defect, or disability As a result of a mental illness, defect, or disability A defendant is unable to understand the nature and object of the proceeding against him or to assist in the preparation of this own defense A defendant is unable to understand the nature and object of the proceeding against him or to assist in the preparation of this own defense

35 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ When Competency Cannot be Restored, the Court May… Remand the defendant to the custody of the department of health services for the institution of civil commitment proceedings Remand the defendant to the custody of the department of health services for the institution of civil commitment proceedings Appoint a guardian Appoint a guardian Release the defendant from custody and dismiss the charges against the defendant Release the defendant from custody and dismiss the charges against the defendant

36 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Purpose of the Insanity Defense The need to determine whether a criminal defendant was insane at the time the crime was committed The need to determine whether a criminal defendant was insane at the time the crime was committed In our court system, moral blame cannot attach where an act was not the result of a free choice In our court system, moral blame cannot attach where an act was not the result of a free choice

37 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Insanity Insanity can influence criminal liability in two ways: Insanity can influence criminal liability in two ways: It may result in a finding that the mens rea required for a specific crime was lacking, leading the court to conclude that no crime occurred It may result in a finding that the mens rea required for a specific crime was lacking, leading the court to conclude that no crime occurred It may lead to a showing that although the requisite mens rea was present at the time of the crime, the defendant should be excused from legal responsibility because of mental disease or defect It may lead to a showing that although the requisite mens rea was present at the time of the crime, the defendant should be excused from legal responsibility because of mental disease or defect

38 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Mental Capacity Insanity: Insanity: M’naughten Rule M’naughten Rule Irresistible Impulse Irresistible Impulse Durham Test Durham Test Substantial Capacity Test (Model Penal Code) Substantial Capacity Test (Model Penal Code) Diminished Capacity Diminished Capacity Prop. 8 Calif. Eliminated “Diminished Capacity” Defense

39 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ M’Naghten Rule At the time the act was committed: At the time the act was committed: Defendant was suffering from a defect of reason from a disease of the mind. Defendant was suffering from a defect of reason from a disease of the mind. Defendant did not know: - nature/quality of his act; - that the act was wrong Defendant did not know: - nature/quality of his act; - that the act was wrong

40 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Irresistible Impulse Defendant, while not insane, and having an understanding of the nature and quality of his act. Defendant, while not insane, and having an understanding of the nature and quality of his act. Could not control his behavior. Could not control his behavior. Calif. Law Does not recognize Irresistible Impulse.

41 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Substantial Capacity Test A person is not criminally responsible if, at the time of the conduct, the person lacked the substantial capacity to: A person is not criminally responsible if, at the time of the conduct, the person lacked the substantial capacity to: Appreciate the criminality of her conduct or conform to the requirements of the law, Appreciate the criminality of her conduct or conform to the requirements of the law, Due to mental disease or defect. Due to mental disease or defect. Note: Substantial Capacity Test Is the adopted test by the Model Penal Code.

42 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Diminished Capacity A defendant who is not legally insane may be suffering from mental disease or defect which affects the ability to possess the required mental state. A defendant who is not legally insane may be suffering from mental disease or defect which affects the ability to possess the required mental state. Defense to specific intent crimes. Defense to specific intent crimes. Admissible at the time of sentencing. Admissible at the time of sentencing.

43 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Defendant’s Burden Defendant has the burden: Defendant has the burden: Of production Of production Of persuasion Of persuasion Must prove by a “preponderance of the evidence” Must prove by a “preponderance of the evidence”

44 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Defendant Must Plead Not Guilty by reason of insanity. Not Guilty by reason of insanity. Tried on the issue of sanity. Tried on the issue of sanity. If found sane = convicted. If found sane = convicted. Double Plea Defendants may plead not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity.

45 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Guilty but Mentally Ill (GBMI) All states patterned their laws after a 1975 Michigan statute the created GBMI All states patterned their laws after a 1975 Michigan statute the created GBMI Under GBMI statutes, when insanity defenses are raised at trial, four verdicts are possible Under GBMI statutes, when insanity defenses are raised at trial, four verdicts are possible Guilty Guilty Not Guilty Not Guilty Not guilty by reason of insanity Not guilty by reason of insanity Guilty but mentally ill Guilty but mentally ill

46 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ GBMI Explained A GBMI verdict must be returned if A GBMI verdict must be returned if Every element necessary for a conviction has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt Every element necessary for a conviction has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt The defendant is found to have been mentally ill at the time of the crime The defendant is found to have been mentally ill at the time of the crime The defendant was not found to have been legally insane at the time the crime was committed The defendant was not found to have been legally insane at the time the crime was committed A finding of GBMI is equivalent to a finding of guilty A finding of GBMI is equivalent to a finding of guilty The court will sentence the defendant just as a person found guilty of the crime would be The court will sentence the defendant just as a person found guilty of the crime would be This verdict establishes that the defendant, although mentally ill, was sufficiently in possession of this faculties to be morally blameworthy for his acts This verdict establishes that the defendant, although mentally ill, was sufficiently in possession of this faculties to be morally blameworthy for his acts

47 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ The Doctrine of Settled Insanity The habitual and long-term use of intoxicants or other drugs that results in permanent mental disorders “that are symptomatically and organically similar to mental disorders caused by brain disease” can create the basis for a claim of insanity The habitual and long-term use of intoxicants or other drugs that results in permanent mental disorders “that are symptomatically and organically similar to mental disorders caused by brain disease” can create the basis for a claim of insanity Provided that the defendant can meet the required definition of insanity Provided that the defendant can meet the required definition of insanity The nearly unanimous rule is that a mental or brain disease or defect caused by the long-term effects of intoxicants constitutes a mental state that warrants an insanity defense The nearly unanimous rule is that a mental or brain disease or defect caused by the long-term effects of intoxicants constitutes a mental state that warrants an insanity defense

48 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ How Widely Used Is the Insanity Defense? It is not widely used It is not widely used One study by the NIMH reported that One study by the NIMH reported that Less than 1 percent of the cases that come to court claimed insanity defenses Less than 1 percent of the cases that come to court claimed insanity defenses Only 26 percent of all insanity pleas were argued successfully Only 26 percent of all insanity pleas were argued successfully 90 percent of those who employed the defense had been previously diagnosed with a mental illness 90 percent of those who employed the defense had been previously diagnosed with a mental illness

49 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ How Widely Used Is the Insanity Defense? (Continued) Other studies reported similar findings Other studies reported similar findings Only 52 of 32,000 cases involved insanity defenses and only 15 were successful Only 52 of 32,000 cases involved insanity defenses and only 15 were successful In NYC, an insanity plea is entered in only 1 for every 600 or 700 cases In NYC, an insanity plea is entered in only 1 for every 600 or 700 cases

50 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Consequences of an Insanity Finding Few are immediately released Few are immediately released Nondangerous defendants may not by law be kept longer than necessary to assess their condition Nondangerous defendants may not by law be kept longer than necessary to assess their condition Must are subject to a hearing to determine Must are subject to a hearing to determine Whether or not they are still mentally ill and dangerous to themselves or others Whether or not they are still mentally ill and dangerous to themselves or others Whether or not confinement in a treatment facility is justified Whether or not confinement in a treatment facility is justified Most are confined and held at least as long as persons found guilty and sent to prison Most are confined and held at least as long as persons found guilty and sent to prison

51 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Abolishing the Insanity Defense It is difficult to assess insanity from a legal perspective so some advocate a strict mens rea approach to insanity It is difficult to assess insanity from a legal perspective so some advocate a strict mens rea approach to insanity A mens rea approach would virtually eliminate the insanity defense and would replace it with a test that would assess the presence or absence of the culpable mental state A mens rea approach would virtually eliminate the insanity defense and would replace it with a test that would assess the presence or absence of the culpable mental state Three states have moved in this direction: Montana, Utah and Idaho Three states have moved in this direction: Montana, Utah and Idaho

52 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Discussion Questions What is the difference between a justification and an excuse? What is the difference between a justification and an excuse? Explain the defense of duress Explain the defense of duress Why is voluntary intoxication usually not accepted as a defense to criminal liability? Why is voluntary intoxication usually not accepted as a defense to criminal liability? At what age should a person be criminally liable? At what age should a person be criminally liable? Should entrapment exist as a defense? Why? Should entrapment exist as a defense? Why? Do you believe that syndrome-based defense enhancements should exist? Do you believe that syndrome-based defense enhancements should exist?

53 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Discussion Questions How does the insanity defense work? How does the insanity defense work? Should the insanity defense be abolished? Should the insanity defense be abolished? How is insanity and mens rea related? How is insanity and mens rea related? Explain the following Explain the following NGRI NGRI GBMI GBMI

54 Criminal Law Today By Frank Schmalleger, PH.D PRENTICE HALL ©2006 Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ Do you have any questions?


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