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Criminal Defense

By earl530 Apr 14, 2015 1037 Words
Criminal Defense
Duschek Juarez
CJA 354
Kristin Mildenberger
February 24, 2014

Upon reading this paper, you will be able to identify the different kinds of criminal defenses used in a court of law. Factual defense is the legal defense that offers two groups an excuse and justification for their actions. In justification, the six groups are self-defense, consent, resisting unlawful arrest, defense against others, necessity defense, and defense of property and home. In the excuse defense there is syndrome based, duress, age, intoxication, medical and mistakes. This also includes the medical and legal perspective of insanity in a criminal trial. When a person that is being prosecuted for a crime they allegedly committed, they can defend themselves by hiring a private attorney, free legal services, or self-representation. Self-representation is when a defendant has the right to defend themselves in a criminal trial and is also knowingly and voluntarily waiving their rights to counsel. In addition, that person is required to show that they are fully qualified to represent themselves in court, which in many cases, there are very few people that are capable of representing themselves effectively. Then there is retain counsel, which is when a defense attorney that has experience as a prosecutor or public defender. Defense attorney rates depends on the complexity and experiences the attorney has with their other cases. Insanity defense is regarded as one of the most controversial types of defenses available. In this type of defense, the defendant’s attorney attempts to show that the defendant is insane and is unable to be held responsible for the crime that they have committed. Typically, there are two different plea options that are available to defendants, not guilty due to mental illness and psychologically ill. In medical terms, psychological illness can be any type of scenario that creates havoc in an individual’s mind. Any individual can be affected by an illness during any given period of time and there is not any real categorization as to what could decide whether an individual is insane or not (“Addington v. Texas”, n.d.). For instance, any random person could be suffering from a psychological illness and still be fully capable of holding down a job and carry out everyday activities that we are accustomed to. A psychological illness can occur in any individual and can vary with time, along with other contributing factors. A psychological illness can generate a problem in the court room, because lawfully the courts need an obvious justification as to what insanity is. In legal terminology, insanity is a psychiatric state that makes an individual legally incompetent an unable to completely see that what they have done in regards to committing a crime. As far as legal terminology goes an individual can have a psychological illness and not be considered to be insane. This occurs because an individual might have a psychological illness and yet still be aware of some parts of the crime they had committed. A good example could be, an individual is suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder and the subject goes out and commits murder, this is absolutely not related to the illness in any way. In this particular case, the guilty yet emotionally ill argument can be used to lower the severity of the punishment. The defendant would still be found guilty; however they would receive a less severe punishment as well as receive mental rehabilitation. The guilty on the basis of insanity is used when the state of the individuals mind is that they had no thought as to what they were doing. Because the individual was not aware of their actions there is no reason for punishing the individual for it. It’s safe to assume that the individual can’t be punished and subsequently ordered to seek treatment in a rehabilitation center. Abandonment and withdrawal is defined as an affirmative defense when the attorney will try to demonstrate that the client was about to commit the crime, but instead changed their mind and did not commit the crime. In this case, the attorney needs to prove the details in order to back up their plea.

In affirmative defense the defendant doesn’t really try to prove that the prosecutor’s accusations are false, instead they will come up with elaborate plan and their own proof to support their side of the argument. By doing this, it usually proves a part or all of the prosecutor’s allegations as false. There will be times that the defendant may agree with certain information that the prosecutor provides, however, the defendant will come up with an excuse to show everyone that they did not and could not have committed the crime. In a coercion or duress case, the defense will state why the defendant did not want to commit the crime, but unfortunately had to do it due to a threat or pressure from an outside source. The pressure can be directed at the defendant or some type of hostility can be displayed towards their family members. As a result, in order to keep themselves and their family safe, the defendant was left with little choice and had to commit the offense. In conclusion, the defenses discussed in this paper have been play down in many courtrooms in the United States. Many criminal defenses are use in court for the culprit that charge in committing a crime. An individual can also obtain counsel, free legal service or self- representation in their plea or court case. Insanity and medical defenses can usually give a confusing perspective in court this is why these cases that are tried in a court of law are required to prove the inability or insanity of the culprit.

California Penal Code (n.d) 148.1(a)(1).
Casselman Vs. State (1985) Indiana Supreme Court. Retrieved from, Click on Detroit (2005). Storeowner fires in defense; robbery suspect dies. Retrieved from Duke Law (n.d.) Dixon v. United States. Retrieved from, Schmalleger, F. (2010). Criminal law today: An introduction with capstone cases. (4th ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall People v. Lovercamp, 43 Cal. App. 3d 823 (1974) Retrieved from

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