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Defenses Chapter 11 Street Law Text pp. 126-132. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt… There must be a conviction by the state [prosecutor] proving that a person.

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Presentation on theme: "Defenses Chapter 11 Street Law Text pp. 126-132. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt… There must be a conviction by the state [prosecutor] proving that a person."— Presentation transcript:

1 Defenses Chapter 11 Street Law Text pp

2 Beyond a Reasonable Doubt… There must be a conviction by the state [prosecutor] proving that a person is guilty of a crime. You are “innocent until PROVEN guilty”. Of course we also know you can PLEAD guilty or no-contest. One of the best defenses is that No Crime Has Been Committed! – No Criminal Act was Committed Carrying a gun, but had a permit/ Not rape because of consent – No Criminal Intent was Involved Accidentally took another persons coat, luggage, etc. Not larceny if it was unintentional, honest, and reasonable mistake.

3 Defendant Did Not Commit the Crime  Most times there is no doubt that a crime was committed, but rather, who did it?  Alibi-Evidence that the defendant was somewhere else at the time the crime was committed.  DNA Evidence- Biological evidence linking a specific person to a crime scene, blood, hair, body fluids, etc  Alibi’s and the use of DNA evidence can help prove a defendant was not at the crime scene, although usually must be corroborated by others  DNA evidence can be used by the Prosecution or Defense, and today there are convicted criminals that are having their sentences overturned because of DNA evidence

4 Defendant Committed the Act, but it was Excusable or Justifiable  Self Defense- The law recognizes the right of a person to defend themselves using “reasonable” force themselves  Defense of Others- The law also protects an individual that comes to the aid of another that is being, or could be, attacked  With both Self Defense and Defense of others a person can not use deadly force unless they are threatened with the same, and they must stop a “defense” when the threat is stopped  Defense of Property- A person is allowed to protect their property using nondeadly force, unless their state has a Castle Doctrine [Stand Your Ground/Make My Day Laws]

5 Problem 11.1 a. Ms. Urbanski kept a pistol in her home as protection against intruders. One evening, she heard a noise in the den and went to investigate. Upon entering the room, she saw a man stealing her television. The burglar, seeing the gun, ran for the window, but Ms. Urbanski fired and killed him before he could escape. In a trial for manslaughter, Ms. Urbanski pleaded self-defense. Would you find her guilty? Why or why not? b. Mr. Peters has a legal handgun to protect his home against intruders and against the increasing crime in his neighborhood. One night Takeshi, a 16 year old Japanese exchange student, walks up Mr. Peter’s driveway looking for a party. Takeshi thinks Mr. Peters is hosting the party and begins yelling and waving his arms. Mr. Peters gets scared, retrieves his handgun, and points it at Takeshi while yelling “Freeze!” Takeshi does not understand English and keeps walking toward Mr. Peters. Thinking he is an intruder, Mr. Peters shoots and kills Takeshi at the front steps of his house. Mr. Peters is charges with first-degree murder. Does he have a defense? c. Would your answers to a and b above be any different if your state had a “Stand Your Ground Law” or a “Make My Day Law”? d. The owner of a jewelry store witnesses a shoplifter stealing an expensive diamond necklace. Can the owner use force to prevent the crime? If so, how much?

6 Defendant Committed the Act but Is Not Criminally Responsible  Sometimes Crimes are committed but the defendant is deemed to lack criminal responsibility. Infancy, Intoxication, insanity, entrapment, duress, and necessity make up these type of situations.  Infancy- Children under a specified age are not responsible for their actions. Traditionally Children under the age of 7 are unable to commit criminal intent. Most states allow prosecutors to decide if a child will be prosecuted as an adult depending on the seriousness of the crime.  Intoxication- At the time of a crime the defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and they did not know what they were doing.  Intoxication does NOT, in almost all cases, provide a defense for someone that chose to BECOME intoxicated  Intoxication may be a factor in lessening the charge if it’s a Bar Fight, and the defendant was so drunk that they didn’t realize what they were doing could cause the death of another person… Reduction from possibly 2 nd degree murder to manslaughter.

7 Insanity  The Insanity defense- Because of mental disease or defect, the defendant should not be held responsible for the crime committed.  The Insanity defense only applies in most states if the defendant was “insane” at the time of the crime, their mental state after has no bearing on the crime committed, although it may delay or draw out court proceedings  Most states determine the mental state of the defendant in three areas  The defendant is competent to stand trial  The defendant was sane at the time of the criminal act  The defendant is sane after the trial  The Insanity defense is very controversial, many people believe hardened criminals have used it successfully to avoid conviction. Four States have even removed the defense from their courts. Problem 11.2 a. What is the insanity defense? How does it work? b. Should the insanity defense be kept as it is, changed in some way, or abolished? Explain. Andrea Yates, found not guilty by reason of insanity [postpartum depression] in 2006, after drowning her 5 children in 2001 [7, 5, 3, 2, 6m]in their bathtub. Currently confined to a minimum security mental hospital.

8 Entrapment  Entrapment- Defendant claims they were induced or persuaded to commit a crime by law enforcement officer[s]  There is no entrapment when an officer simply provides the opportunity to commit a crime. It is difficult to prove and cannot be used in crimes resulting in serious physical injury Problem 11.3 Can entrapment be claimed as a valid defense in any of the following cases? Explain. a. Mary, an undercover police officer masquerading as a prostitute, approaches Edward and tells him that she’ll have sex with him in exchange for $50. Edward hands over the money and is arrested. b. Jan, a drug dealer, offers to sell drugs to Emilio, and undercover officer posing as a drug addict. Emilio buys the drugs, and Jan is arrested. c. Rashid, and undercover FBI agent, repeatedly offers Sammy a chance to get in on an illegal gambling ring, with the promise that he will win big. After refusing several offers, Sammy, who has no history of gambling and who just lost his job, finally gives Rashid $200 as a bet. Rashid immediately arrests Sammy.

9 Duress  Duress- When a person commits a crime as a result of coercion or a threat of immediate danger to life or personal safety  Under duress a person lacks the ability to exercise free will  Duress can also apply to the threat against a third party if the defendant does not commit the crime  Example: Someone forcing a person to rob a bank by threatening that persons life or family  Duress cannot be claimed as a defense for homicide Necessity  Necessity- When a person is compelled to react to a situation that is unavoidable in order to protect life.  Example: throwing cargo off a sinking ship [destruction of property]  Necessity cannot be claimed as a defense for homicide

10 Problem 11.4 Reread the Case of the Shipwrecked Sailors on page 6. Would any of the defenses discussed in this section be available to the sailors who survived and were prosecuted? Should they be? Explain:


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