Contemporary Criminal Law Chapter 9: Excuses

(1) Excuses provide a defense based on the fact that although a defendant committed a criminal act,
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(3) Why do we have this insanity defense? #3 Humanitarianism- an individual found NGRI may pose a continuing danger to society. He or she is bestincapacitated and treated by doctors in noncriminal rather than criminal environmental.(5) Insanity is distinct from competence to stand trial which states that defendants should not be subjected to criminal trial unlessthey posses the ability to intelligently assist their attorney and to understand and follow the trial(6) The Right-Wrong Test (M'Naghten) - At the time of committing the act, the party accused must have been suffering from such a defect of reason, from a disease of the mind as a result of which:(1) The defendant did not know what he was doing ( did not know the "nature and quality of his or her act") - Extremely difficult to satisfy (2) Or the defendant "did not know he was doing wrong" - Courts differ on what it means for a defendant to "know"(6) The Right-Wrong Test (M'Naghten) #2 - Psychosis, the inability to distinguish between reality and fantasy the most common mental disorder or defect that results in legal insanity under M'Naghten Test(6) The Right-Wrong Test (M'Naghten) #3 Sociopathic or personality disorders are generally not considered tofall within the notion of a mental disease or defect(7) The Irresistible Impulse Test #1 - Requires the jury to find a defendant NGRI in the event that the jurors find that the defendant possessed a mental disease thatprevented him from curbing his or her criminal conduct, despite having the ability to tell right from wrong - Parsons v. StateSeveral jurisdictions abolished the Irresistible Impulse defense and the U.S. Congress adopted theJohn Hinckley Amendment that eliminated the defense in federal trials and adopted a strict M'Naghten standard(7) The Irresistible Impulse Test 3 Questions(1) At the time of the crime, was the defendant afflicted with a disease of the mind? (2) If so, did the defendant know right from wrong with respect to the act charged? If not, the law excuses the defendant. (3) If the defendant did not have such knowledge, the law will still excuse the defendant if two conditions occur: - If mental disease caused the defendants to so far lose the power to choose between right and wrong and to avoid doing the alleged act that disease destroyed the defendant's free will, and - If the mental disease was the sole cause of the actDurham Product Test - An accused is not criminally responsible if.....-his unlawful act was the product of a mental disease or defect....The American Law Institute Substantial Capacity Test - Modified version of M'Naghten and Irresistible Impluse Tests (1) A person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at the time of such conduct, as result of mental disease or defect, he lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality (wrongfulness) of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law....the terms "mental disease or defect" do not include an abnormality manifested only be repeated criminal or otherwise antisocial conduct. - Appreciate- a defendant may lack a substantial capacity to appreciate, rather than know the criminality of his or her conduct - Substantial Capacity- requires that a defendant lack a substantial capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law. Total impairment is not "workable". - Conform Conduct to Requirements of the Law- does not use the word "impluse" - Wrongfulness- defined as the ability to appreciate that the community morally disapproves of an act.Durham Product Test - Attempted to simplify the determination of legal insanityby eliminating confusing terminology, but let the definition of a mental disease or defect under fineBurden of Proof- The defendant is presumed sane until the defendant provides evidenceFuture of the Insanity Defense #1 (1) Critics contend that the insanity defense undermines the functioning of the criminal justice system -BTPMBEBias- wealthy defendants are able to hire experts and are advantaged over the indigent. The insanity defense may also be exploited by sane individuals who are able to mount a credible insanity defense. - Theories of Punishment- Undermines the criminal justice system's concern with deterrence, retribution, and incapacitation. - Moral Blameworthiness- the legally insane are not considered morally blameworthy and might result in special treatment of the psychologically disadvantaged while ignoring disabilities such as economic deprivation. - Experts- the insanity defense involves a battle of experts who reply on technical language that is difficult for jurors to understand- Prosecution possesses the burden of persuasionto establish sanity beyond a reasonable doubtFuture of the Insanity Defense #2 (2) Defenders argue that critics exaggerate the significance of the defense and onlya small number states deserving defendants are generally evaluated as legally insaneFuture of the Insanity Defense #3 (3) Some states have adopted varying laws that address mental defects- 13 states, adopted a verdict of guilty but mentally ill - Idaho, Montana, Kansas, and Utah abolished the insanity defense altogether but permits defendants to introduce evidence of a mental disease or defect that resulted in lack of criminal intent. - Galloway v. IndianaIntoxication (1) Voluntary Intoxication - Voluntary intoxication was not considered a defense under the early common law, but was transformed in the 19th century(1) Offenses that required specific intent- voluntary intoxication was an excuse (2) Offenses that required general intent- voluntary intoxication was not an excuse - Model Penal Code section 2.08- accepts the common law's distinction between offenses based on intent and substitutes "knowledge" or "purpose" for specific intent and "negligence or recklessness" for general intent(1) Early common law did not recognize infancy as a defense, butAge youthful offenders were typically pardonedDiminished Capacity (1) Recognized in roughly fifteen states which permits the admission of psychiatric testimony to establish thata defendant suffers from a mental disturbance that diminished the defendant's capacity to form the required intent(3) Model Penal Code provides that evidence that a defendant suffers from a mental disease or defect is admissiblewhenever it is relevant to prove that the defendant did or did not have a state of mind that is an element of the offense- Wells-Gorshen rule (2) Rejected by some courts pointing that psychiatric testimony isunreliable and too confusing for jurors and that the medical model is contrary to the notion that individuals are responsible for their actions(2) Involuntary Intoxication #2 - Defense to any and all criminal offenses in those instances that thedefendant's state of mind satisfies that standard for the insanity defense in the state(2) Involuntary Intoxication - Model Penal Code section 2.08 requires that the individual- "lacks substantial capacity" to distinguish right from wrong or to conform his or her behavior to the law- Involuntary intoxication can occur in any of four ways: DMFM (Duress Mistake Fraud Medication)(1) Duress- an individual is coerced into consuming an intoxicant (2) Mistake- an individual mistakenly consumes a narcotic rather than his or her prescribed medicine (3) Fraud- an individual consumes a narcotic as a result of a fraudulent misrepresentation of the nature of the substance (4) Medication- an individual has an extreme and unanticipated reaction to medication prescribed by a doctor - Branaccio v. Stateduress(1) Common law excused an individual from guilt who committed a crime to avoid a threat of imminent death or bodily harm(2) 17th century, juveniles were divided into three categories: 1. Children younger than seven 2. Children older than seven and younger than fourteen 3. Children fourteen and older1) lack a criminal capacity- this was an irrefutable presumption 2) were presumed to be without capacity to form a criminal intent- this was rebuttable presumption and the prosecution could overcome the presumption by evidence that the juvenile knew what he or she was doing was wrong. Factors to be considered include age, efforts to conceal the crime and influence witness, and the nature of the crime 3) possessed the same criminal capacity as adults- these juveniles may be prosecuted as adults- Today, states have varying age categories and requirements, and there is a growing trend for state statues topermit the criminal prosecution of any juvenile as an adult who is charged with a serious offense- "transfer statues" - Brazil v. State - State v. Ramer(2) Why do we have the duress defense?- Realism- the law cannot expect people to act in a heoric fashion and resist threats of death or serious bodily harm - Criminal Intent- an individual who commits a crime in response to a serve threat lacks a criminal intent - Criminal Act- individuals who commit crimes under duress act in an involuntary rather than voluntary fashionThe Elements of Duress 1) The defendant's actions are to be judged in....1) accordance with a reasonable person standard 2)There must be a threat of death or serious bodily harm that causes an individual to commit a crime. Most states also recognize that a threat directed against a member of a defendant's family or a third party may constitute duress, but psychological pressure or blackmail does not amount to a threat 3)Duress does not excuse the intentional taking of the life of another 4)The threat must be immediate and imminent - An individual must have exhausted all reasonable and available alternatives to violating the law. - The defendant must not create or assist in creating the circumstances leading to the claim of duress - Married women were exempted from liability under the common law, but this is no longer the case today - Individuals exerting the coerion are liable as a principal in the crime despite the fact that the perpetrator may be excused on the basis of duress.4) Duress and Correctional Institutions - Inmates relying on duress must establish that they did not use force or violencetowards prison personnel or other innocent individuals in the escape and that they immediately contacted authorities once having reached a point of safety.(5) The Duress Defense - Critics argue that individuals should follow legal rules, even under conditions of stress and strainand that the law should encourage people to resist rather than conform to the demands of violent and forceful individuals - Model Penal Code- Duress - United States v. MorenoMistake of Fact - Mistake of fact constitutes a defense in those instances ...when the defendant's mistake results in a lack of criminal intent - Model Penal Code Section 2.04 the facts as perceived by the defendant still comprise a crimeMistake of Law - Ignorantia lexis non exusat- ignorance of law is no excuse (KEPU)(1) Knowledge- people are expected to know the law (2) Evidence- defendants may falsely claim that they were unaware of the law (3) Public Policy- enforcement of the law ensures social stability (4) Uniformity- individuals should not be permitted to define for themselves the legal rules that govern societyMistake of Facts Exceptions (NIR)(1) Notice- Lambert v. California (2) Intent- United States v. Cheek: an individual is not liable when he or she lacked a willful intent to violate the law (3) Reliance- Cox v. Louisiana : an individual is not liable when that individual relied on an official statement of the law - Model Penal Code recognizes an ignorance of law defense when the defendant does not know the law and the law has been published or made reasonably available to the public (notice)Mistake of Fact #2--An individual may be mistaken but still found criminally liable in the event thatNew Defenses (1) Abuse excuse- a legal defense in which defendantsclaim that the crimes which they are charged result from their own victimization and that they should not be held responsible - "battered wife" and "battered child" syndromesObjective Test (1) Focuses on the conduct of the governmentrather than on the characters of the defendantWhy does the government rely on undercover strategies? CR R D- Crime detection- certain crimes are difficult to investigate and to prevent without informants - Resources- undercover techniques can result in a significant number of arrests without expending substantial resources - Deterrence- individuals will be deterred from criminal activity by the threat of government involvement in the crimeCriticisms to entrapment- The government may "manufacture crime" by otherwise innocent individuals - The government may lose respect by engaging in lawbreaking - Informants who infiltrate criminal organizations may be criminals whose own criminal activity is often overlooked in exchange for assistance - Innocent individuals are often approached in order to test their moral virtue and likely would not have committed a crime had they not even been approachedThe Law of Entrapment -Subjective Test- Predisposition Test(1) Focuses on the defendant and asks whether the accused possessed the criminal intent or "predisposition" to commit the crime or whether the government "created" the offense (2) "but for" the actions of the government, would the accused have broken the law? (3) Establishing predestination - The character or reputation of the defendant, including prior criminal arrests and convictions for the type of crime involved - Whether the accused suggested the criminal activity - Whether the defendant was already engaged in criminal activity for profit - Whether the defendant was reluctant to commit the offense - The attractiveness of the inducement The Entrapment Defense - Miller v. StateEntrapment- American common law did not recognize the defense of entrapment until 1932, in Sorrells v. United States - Sorrells established entrapment as the conception and planning of an offense by an officer, and his procurement of its commission by one who would not have perpetrated it except for the trickery, persuasion, or fraud of the officerSome New Defenses #2(2) Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) (3) Postpartum Psychosis (4) Environmental DefenseSome New Defenses - Biological Defenses (2) Another set of defenses are based on the claim that the defendant's biological or genetic heredity caused him or her to commit a crime(1) XYY Chromosome- based on research that indicates that a large percentage of male prison inmates possess an extra Y chromosome that result in enhanced "maleness".Some New Defense #3(5) Psychological Defenses - Brainwashing - Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (6) Sociological Defenses - Black Rage - Urban Survior - Media Intoxication - Rotten Social Background - Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) (7) The Cultural Defense - State V. Kargar