Presentation on theme: "Criminal Defenses. Defenses in Criminal Cases It is the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant is not required."— Presentation transcript:
Defenses in Criminal Cases It is the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant is not required to present a defense… although it is usually in their interest to do so.
Criminal Defenses: 4 Types No crime was committed Defendant did not commit the crime The crime was committed, but it was justified The crime was committed, but it was excusable
No crime was committed Suspect had no criminal intent Gun was licensed (Acacia Park and Pride Fest)
Defendant Did Not Commit the Crime. Evidence that the defendant has an alibi. Ex: Suspect was on a plane when the crime happened Evidence that there was an issue of mistaken identity. Ex: Suspect was pregnant, but so are lots of other women
Act was justified How can a criminal act be justified? Self defense Defense of property Defense of others Limits: Force used must be reasonable. If force is used after an attacker is stopped it is no longer justified. Deadly force can only be used if the person believes they are in danger of bodily or physical harm.
Stand Your Ground/Make My Day 31 states have some variation of Castle Doctrine law Stand Your Ground Laws: home occupants do not have to announce their intent to use deadly force or retreat. CO: Make My Day law: people who use deadly force to protect themselves in their homes can't be prosecuted in civil or criminal court.
Some variations in the castle doctrine An intruder must be making (or have made) an attempt to unlawfully and/or forcibly enter an occupied home, business or car. The intruder must be acting illegally The occupant(s) of the home must reasonably believe that the intruder intends to inflict serious bodily harm or death upon an occupant of the home The occupant(s) of the home must reasonably believe that the intruder intends to commit some other felony, such as arson or burglary The occupant(s) of the home must not have provoked or instigated an intrusion, or provoked or instigated an intruder to threaten or use deadly force.
Florida and Stand Your Ground Trayvon Martin (and unarmed, suspended high school student) was shot by George Zimmerman (an armed, neighborhood watch volunteer) in 2012 (2/26) Zimmerman called 911 to report a “suspicious person” Dispatch advised Zimmerman to stay in his car and not approach Martin
Applying the law: Stand Your Ground Using deadly force anywhere as long as: You are not engaged in criminal activity You are being attacked You believe your life is in danger Zimmerman waived a stand your ground hearing; was found not guilty of second degree murder
Affirmative Defenses: The elements have been proven, but the defendant argues that his actions were excusable. Infancy: Too young to have the mental capacity to knowingly commit a crime Ex: My four-year-old shoplifts Involuntary Intoxication: Too drunk/intoxicated to form the mental state of mind Voluntary intoxication is not a defense unless one needs to prove a specific mental state (ex. intent to kill). Ex: Suspect’s drink was spiked with a sleep aid, and the suspect kills an oncoming driver Insanity: Laboring under a defect of reason, From a disease of the mind, As not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing Or, if knowing what he was doing, did not know it was wrong
Affirmative Defenses Duress: Coerced or threatened to act Well founded fear of serious or immediate harm or death Ex: Pizza delivery guy Necessity: Compelled to react to an unavoidable situation to protect life. Ex: Prisoner breaks out of jail to avoid getting throat slit Entrapment: Induced or persuaded to commit the crime by law enforcement Ex: Undercover officer in school
Mary, an undercover police officer masquerading as a prostitute approaches John and tells him that she’ll have sex with him in exchange for $50. John hands over the money and is arrested. What defense applies in this case?
Steve was a hitchhiking on the interstate. Tom stopped and picked Steve up and gave him a ride. While Tom was asleep in the passenger seat, Steve took a pill that his friends told him was “a little sunshine” and would make him feel “groovy.” After Steve took the pill he thought Tom was a rabid dog that had been loose in his neighborhood when he was a kid. Steve was afraid he was going to be killed by the dog so he took Tom’s gun and shot Tom. What defense applies in this case?
Ms Roe 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 TV. The burglar, seeing the gun, ran for the window, but Ms. Roe fired and killed him before he could escape. What defense applies in this case?
Mr. Peters has a legal handgun to protect his home against intruders and against the increasing crime in his neighborhood. One night, Takahiro, a 16-year-old Japanese exchange student, walks up Mr. Peters’ driveway looking for a party. Takahiro thinks Mr. Peters is hosting the party and begins yelling and waving his arms. Mr. Peters gets scared, points his handgun at Takahiro while yelling “Freeze!” Takahiro does not understand English and keeps walking toward Mr. Peters. Thinking he is an intruder, Mr. Peters shoots and kills Takahiro. Mr. Peters is charged with first-degree murder. What defense applies in this case?
Ed is planning to make a climb up K2, and due to bad weather, he hasn’t been able to make the climb. On his last day to begin the climb, in spite of terrible weather predictions and warnings from several knowledgeable climbers, Ed tries to climb K2 with a crew of four. All of them were tethered together with Ed at one end. The weather is really bad, worse than what was forecasted, and the five of them fall into a crevasse. The five of them are dangling from the rope. Ed cuts the rope, sending two of the four crew members falling to their death. Ed and two other crew members survive. What defense applies in this case?
What kind of defense would you argue? A pizza delivery man robs a bank, stealing $250,000. When police attempt to take him into custody they find him with a device strapped to his neck. He tells them it is a time bomb and that he was told to rob three banks or the device would detonate. He claims that earlier that day he had been kidnapped and the bomb attached to him by his abductors. The police call the bomb squad and successfully remove and detonate the device. You are the delivery man’s defense attorney. What kind of defenses will you argue if robbery charges are filed?
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