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Criminal Law Chapter 5 Defenses to Criminal Liability: Justifications Joel Samaha, 9 th Ed.

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Presentation on theme: "Criminal Law Chapter 5 Defenses to Criminal Liability: Justifications Joel Samaha, 9 th Ed."— Presentation transcript:

1 Criminal Law Chapter 5 Defenses to Criminal Liability: Justifications Joel Samaha, 9 th Ed.

2 Justification and Excuse Defenses A justification and excuse defense are types of an ‘affirmative defense’ in which the burden of proof is on the defendant – “the burden of production.”

3 Justification versus Excuse Defenses Justification defense: defendants admit they were responsible for their acts but claim what they did was right (justified) under the circumstances, e.g., self-defense. Justification defense: defendants admit they were responsible for their acts but claim what they did was right (justified) under the circumstances, e.g., self-defense. Excuse defense: defendants admit what the did was wrong but claim that, under the circumstances, they were not responsible for what they did, e.g., insanity. Excuse defense: defendants admit what the did was wrong but claim that, under the circumstances, they were not responsible for what they did, e.g., insanity.

4 Justification Defenses Self-defense Self-defense The defense of others The defense of others The defense of home and property The defense of home and property The choice-of-evils defense The choice-of-evils defense Consent Consent

5 Questions Explain the concept of necessity as it relates to self-defense. What are the three circumstances that must come together to validate necessity as it relates to self-defense?

6 Elements of Self-Defense Unprovoked attack Unprovoked attack Imminent danger Imminent danger Necessity Necessity Reasonable force Reasonable force

7 Questions What is the difference between imminent danger and present danger? What is the difference between the stand-your-ground rule and the retreat rule?

8 Discussion Explain the facts and opinion of the following cases: People v. Goetz 497 N.E.2d 41 (N.Y. 1986) State v. Stewart 763 P.2d 572 (Kans. 1988) U.S. v. Peterson 483 F.2d 1222 (2 nd Cir. 1973)

9 Defense of Others Some states require a special relationship; however, many states have expanded this requirement to include the defense of anyone who needs immediate protection from attack. “The ‘defense of others’ specifically limits the use of force or violence in protection of others to situations where the person attacked would have been justified in using such force or violence to protect himself.” State v. Agullard (1990, 674)

10 In Defense of Home and Property The right to use force to defend your home is deeply rooted in the common-law idea that “a man’s home is his castle.” The right to use force to defend your home is deeply rooted in the common-law idea that “a man’s home is his castle.” (This does not include the curtilage). The use of deadly force depends on the state, i.e., Colorado’s “make my day” law. The use of deadly force depends on the state, i.e., Colorado’s “make my day” law. People v. Guenther, 740 P.2d 971 (Colo. 1987) People v. Guenther, 740 P.2d 971 (Colo. 1987) Falco v. State, 407 So.2d 203 (Fla. 1981) Falco v. State, 407 So.2d 203 (Fla. 1981)

11 Necessity (Choice of Evils) Also known as the general principle of necessity. Also known as the general principle of necessity. Proving the defendant made the right choice, the only choice-namely, the necessity of choosing now to do a lesser evil to avoid a greater evil. Proving the defendant made the right choice, the only choice-namely, the necessity of choosing now to do a lesser evil to avoid a greater evil.

12 Model Penal Code Elements of Choice-of-Evils Identify the evils Identify the evils Rank the evils Rank the evils Choose the lesser evil to avoid the greater evil that is on the verge of happening. Choose the lesser evil to avoid the greater evil that is on the verge of happening. U.S. v. Aguilar et al., 883 F.2d 662 (CA9 1989) U.S. v. Aguilar et al., 883 F.2d 662 (CA9 1989) ** The MPC charges legislatures, judges and juries the task of ranking evils – not the individual.

13 Consent A defense that has nothing to do with necessity. A defense that has nothing to do with necessity. Generally, consent is not a justification for committing crimes – although there are four exceptions: Generally, consent is not a justification for committing crimes – although there are four exceptions: 1) No serious injury results from the consensual crime. 2) The injury happens during a sporting event. 3) The conduct benefits the consenting person, such as when a doctor performs surgery. 4) The consent is to sexual conduct. State v. Shelley, 929 P.2d 489 (Wash.App. 1997) State v. Shelley, 929 P.2d 489 (Wash.App. 1997)


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