Criminal Defense Case

Topics: Criminal law, Insanity defense, Law Pages: 4 (1511 words) Published: February 20, 2010
Criminal Defense Case

Most people are aware of process to convict a criminal defendant. The prosecutor must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant is guilty of the crime in question, and that the accused is not required by law to present the court with any evidence, or prove he or she is innocent. Under the United States Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, a criminal defendant is not compelled to state under oath against himself. However, in some criminal trials, the defendant wants the opportunity to prove he or she is innocent by presenting the court with a defense. The following paper will discuss the various types of defenses criminal defendants can introduce to defend against criminal charges, and differentiate between the legal and medical perspective on mental illness and insanity (University of Phoenix Course Syllabus, 2009; Law Library, 2009). In most criminal defense cases, even though the defendant may have intentionally harmed another person or property, he or she may maintain that his or her case was an exception to the standards of criminal responsibility and that, as a result, he or she should not be found guilty and undergo any penalties. According to the Law Library (2009), “There are invariably unusual situations in which people intentionally cause harm, but the purpose of punishment would not be furthered in these cases” (¶4). In addition, due to psychological or intellectual challenges, some individuals are not held criminally responsible for their harmful conduct. Therefore, to accommodate these types of cases, defendants have the opportunity to avoid criminal responsibility by presenting defenses (Law Library, 2009). Two categories can identify criminal defenses: “I did not do it” (factual) and “I did it, but …” (legal). Defendants of the “I did not do it” category, try to avoid punishment by claiming that he or she did not commit the act in question. Defenses that fall into the “I did not do it” category are the Presumption...
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