Justifications - Criminal Law - Lecture Slides, Slides for Criminal Law. English and Foreign Languages University

Criminal Law

Description: It is the Lecture Slides of Criminal Law which includes Inchoate Crimes, Conspiracy and Solicitation, Finished Committing, Crime Intended, Dilemma Inchoate, Free Societies, Inchoate Offenses etc. Key important points are:Justifications, Major Transformation, Actions, Affirmative, Justified and Excused Conduct, Kill or Be Killed, Understand the Differences, Self Defense, Stand Your Ground Rule, Retreat Rule
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Chapter Five

Chapter Five

Defenses to Criminal Liability:

Justifications

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Learning Objectives

• That the law of self defense is undergoing major transformation.

• That defendants are not criminally liable if their actions were justified under the circumstances.

• That defendants are not criminally liable if they were not responsible for their actions.

• Understand how the affirmative defenses operate in justified and excused conduct.

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Learning Objectives (cont.)

• Appreciate that self-defense limits the use of deadly force to those who reasonably believe they are faced with the choice to kill or be killed right now.

• To know and understand the differences, of the four elements of self-defense.

• Appreciate the historic transformation of retreat and its shaping of the stand-your-ground rule and the retreat rule.

• Understand the retreat rule and appreciate its historic transformation.

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Learning Objectives (cont.)

• Understand that there is no duty to retreat from your own home to avoid using deadly force.

• Appreciate that the “New Castle Doctrine” laws are transforming the law of self-defense.

• That the choice to commit a lesser crime to avoid an imminent threat of harm from a greater crime is justified.

• That the defense of consent represents the high value placed on individual autonomy in a free society.

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Defenses to Criminal Liability

• Behavior that is justifiable or excusable does not lead to criminal liability

• Justifications and excuse comprise many of the defenses to criminal liability

Justification defenses- defendants admit responsibility but claim that what they did was right under the circumstances

Excuse defenses-defendants admit that what they did was wrong, but claim they are not responsible

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Proving Defenses in Court

Affirmative defenses require the defendant to raise the issue and put on some evidence supporting his or her claim (burden of production)

• Some jurisdictions also require the defendant to bear the burden of persuasion (convince the jury to some degree of certainty— generally preponderance of evidence)

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Perfect and Imperfect Defenses

Perfect defenses – Allow defendant to escape all criminal liability if

they are successfully raised (“they let the defendant walk”)

– Most defenses are perfect defenses – Insanity defense is not a perfect defense because

even if defendant succeeds, there will generally be some commitment

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Perfect and Imperfect Defenses

Imperfect defenses – Either the defense is an imperfect defense and if

defense is successfully raised, the defendant will not “walk”

• Diminished capacity (see Chapter 6) – OR a perfect defense which is not completely

fulfilled • Example: Swann v. United States

– Jury could consider evidence that Swann honestly but unreasonably believed he needed to use deadly force in self- defense and convict on manslaughter rather than murder

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Justification Defenses • Execution of Public Duties (not in text)

– Use of force by police, soldiers, public executioners

• Self-Defense • Defense of Others • Defense of Property • Defense of Habitation • Choice of Evils (aka Necessity) • Consent

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Self-Defense

• Defense allows self-help due to necessity • Not retaliation • Not preemptive strikes

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Self-Defense Elements • Unprovoked Attack

– Defender cannot be the initial aggressor, cannot have provoked the attack

Necessity – Only use force necessary to repel an imminent attack (one that is

going to happen right now) • Proportionality

– Defender can only use the amount of force necessary to repel the unlawful force

– Deadly force can only be used to repel deadly attack • Reasonable Belief

– Defender has to reasonably believe (objectively reasonable) that it is necessary to use force to repel the attack

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Self-Defense Elements (cont.)

• Unprovoked Attack – Initial aggressor cannot use force to defend self

against attack that he or she provoked – Withdrawal Exception

• If attacker completely withdraws from the attack they provoke, they can defend themselves against attack by their initial victims

• State v. Good

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Self-Defense Elements (cont.)

• Necessity – Refers to the imminent danger of attack – Defender can use force when needed to protect

against imminent unlawful force against either themselves or someone else

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Self-Defense Elements (cont.)

• Proportionality - Most statutes allow using deadly force to protect

self from deadly force or force that could cause serious injury

- Some states allow using deadly force to kill someone you believe is about to commit a serious felony against you even if its not life threatening

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Self-Defense Elements (cont.)

• Reasonable belief that using force was required – Not sufficient that the defender honestly believed

that it was necessary to use force (subjective standard)

– Almost all statutes require that defender reasonably believed it was necessary (objective, reasonable person standard)

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Case: People v. Goetz

• Facts

• Issue

• Holding

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Summary of case holding

• Court examined the New York statutes and reiterated that the law of self-defense allowed a person to use deadly force only if he reasonably believed that the other person was using or about to use deadly physical force.

• The issue was whether the grand jury instructions given by the prosecutor correctly stated NY law. The court ruled they did.

• It reiterated that the jury had to decide, first, if Goetz himself believed that deadly force was necessary to avert the imminent use of deadly force. Then the jury needs to decide if a reasonable person in light of all the circumstances could have had those beliefs.

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Limitations to Self-Defense: Retreat

• Retreat doctrine requires that a person retreat (if they can do so safely) before using force

• English common law principle which survived in some American jurisdictions

• Most jurisdictions did not require retreating, but allowed a person to “stand one’s ground” and kill in self-defense

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Retreat

• Even in those jurisdictions that required a person to retreat if they could safely do so, there was an exception if they were in their own home

Castle exception (to the retreat rule) provides that when you are attacked in your own home you can stand your ground and use deadly force to fend off unprovoked use of deadly force against you

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Castle Exception and Cohabitants

• In those states that have the retreat rule and the castle exception to the retreat rule, an issue arises when the attacker and the defender are cohabitants sharing the same “castle”

• People v. Tomlins (1914): case involved a man killing his 22-year-old son in their cottage. The court held that the general rule that a person need not retreat in his or her own home applies whether the attacker is a cohabitant or an outsider.

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Case: State v. Snow

• Facts

• Issue

• Holding

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Summary of case holding

• Court disputed whether Connecticut really intended to allow cohabitants to stand their ground against one another when it created a exception to the rule requiring cohabitants to retreat

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Case: State v. Thomas

• Facts

• Issue

• Holding

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Summary of case holding • The court stated, “The victims of ….(domestic violence) have

already “retreated to the wall” many times over and therefore should not be required as victims of domestic violence to attempt to flee to safety before being able to claim the affirmative defense of self-defense……There is no rational reason for a distinction between an intruder and a cohabitant when considering the policy for preserving human life where the setting is the domicile and accordingly we hold that there is no duty to retreat from one’s own home before resorting to lethal force in self-defense against a cohabitant with an equal right to be in the home.”

• Note: dissents pointed out that there were more opportunities for deadly violence in domestic settings, and believed retreat should be required.

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Defense of Others

• Historically limited to members of immediate family

• Trend is in opposite direction

• Many states allow defense of anyone who needs immediate protection from attack

• Others have to have the right to defend themselves before someone else can claim the defense – Ex: State v. Aguillard—abortion rights protestors could not

claim defense of others, because the “others” could not legally defend themselves

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Defense of Habitation/home

• Historically defense was limited to nighttime invasions

• Modern statutes limit use of deadly force to cases where it is reasonable to believe intruders intend to commit crimes of violence against occupants

• Defense generally didn’t cover the curtilage of the home (area immediately surrounding home)

• Many statutes required entry into occupied home (no spring guns, dangerous dogs)

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Defense of Property

• Can use force, but not deadly force, to protect property and prevent it from being taken from you

• Defense based on necessity • Can run after and take back what someone

has just taken from you

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New Castle Laws

• Laws of defense of habitation and property are undergoing transformation

• 40 states have proposed new legislation expanding law of “self-defense”

Florida Personal Protection Law – Sets out standard conditions of self defense, defense of others, then

creates a presumption or reasonable fear of great bodily harm when others enter dwelling, car

– Also allows other to stand their ground in any place (not limited to dwelling) and meet force with force, including deadly force

– Also creates a presumption that anyone forcefully entering a dwelling intends to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence

– Creates immunity from civil action and criminal prosecution for using deadly force under the statute

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New Castle Laws

• Supporters – Public reasserting fundamental rights (to protect

homes and self)

• Gun Control Advocates – Creates violence by citizens, citizens have more

right to use deadly force than the police – License to kill – Sends wrong message to people

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New Castle Laws (cont.)

• Law Enforcement Concerns: – Unintended negative consequences for public

safety created by new castle laws – Officers use of force – Operations and training requirements – Increased investigation burdens – Law enforcement attitudes and their impact on officer

performance – Doubt that these laws deter crime

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New Castle Laws (cont.)

• Officer’s use of force – Imbalance between civilians right to use deadly

force and officers rights creates dangerous situations

– No knock search implications – Presumption of reasonable danger provisions

means civilians can shoot officers entering to serve warrant

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New Castle Laws (cont.)

• Operations and Training Requirements – Difficult for officers to determine whether the

new law is properly invoked due to newness of law and lack of cases interpreting law

– Need continued training where and when castle expansion might apply

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New Castle Laws (cont.)

• Increased Investigative Burdens – Prior to law: investigate dangerous force

imminent, duty to retreat – Now: investigate self-defense claims in many more

cases • Proving the negative (that the owner did not under a

potential claim of castle doctrine)….rather than disproving a claim of self-defense (because of the presumption in the law)

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New Castle Laws (cont.)

• Effect of Law Enforcement Attitudes on Performance – Practical concerns: officers sentiment that dead

victims got what they deserved leads to failure to carry out more intensive investigation

– Expanded area of no retreat law means that there will be more defendants invoking castle exception

• Burden on officers time • Apathy resulting

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New Castle Laws (cont.)

• Doubts that these laws deter crimes – Deterrent effect depends on whether the expansion of

citizen’s rights to use deadly force is widely publicized – Deterrent effect depends on whether would-be criminals

appreciate that citizens are armed and might kill or injure them

• People might feel safer because they have right to defend themselves, or they may feel less safe because they don’t know who might be carrying weapons

• May lead to more people carrying and using weapons

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New Castle Laws (cont.)

• Why are these statutes proliferating? – Didn’t see this response with Colorado’s make my

day laws – American’s fear and concern since attacks of 9/11 – Lack of police officers to protect public as seen in

the hurricanes in Florida and floods in Louisiana and Mississippi

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New Castle Laws (cont.)

• Cases: – Jennifer Galas, Florida – Robert Lee Smiley, Florida – Sarbrinder Pannu, Mississippi – Gas clerk-Mississippi – Joe Horn, Texas – Harold Fish, Arizona

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Choice of Evils

• Ancient defense • Stems from doctrine of necessity • Criticized as vague, and wide open to

interpretation • Examples

– Escape from prison to avoid fire – Destroy home to stop fire from spreading

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Choice of Evils

• Choose to commit a lesser crime to avoid the harm of a greater crime

• Three part analysis of MPC – Identify evils – Rank evils – Reasonably believe that the greater evil is

imminent • MPC indicates that right choices are life, safety, and

health over property • Defer to legislatures when they have already ranked

evils Docsity.com

Case: Queen v. Dudley and Stephens

• Facts

• Issue

• Holding

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Summary of case holding

• Court found that there was no absolute or unqualified necessity to preserve one’s own life (can’t rank one life above another)

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People v. Gray, et al.

• Facts

• Issues

• Holding

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Summary of case holding • The court painstakingly went through the law on necessity and the issue

of legislative preemption of a claim of necessity.

• Ultimately the court found that defendants could raise the defense, that it had not been legislatively preempted.

• Prosecution failed to disprove that defendants had a reasonable belief in a grave and imminent harm.

• Defendants did not appear to have an alternative

• Defendant’s did offer sufficient evidence of reasonable belief in a causal link between their behavior and ending the harm

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Case: State v. Ownbey

• Facts

• Issue

• Holding

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Case: People v. Dover

• Facts

• Issue

• holding

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Case: State v. Celli

• Fact

• Issue

• Holding

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Summary of case holdings: necessity

• Necessity defense only available in situations where the legislature has not already made a determination of values. (no necessity for possessing marijuana) (Ownbey)

• Insufficient evidence to show that the driver was speeding because of an emergency (just another court appearance) (Dover)

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Consent • Arises from value placed on individual

autonomy • Criminal law “hostile” to the defense of

consent • Some behavior requires lack of consent as an

element of the crime (e.g., rape) • Some individuals are unable, because of

statute, to give consent – Minors, legally incompetent individuals,

intoxicated individuals for example Docsity.com

Consent (cont.)

• Situations where consent is recognized defense – No serious injury results from the consensual

crime – The injury happens during a sporting event – The conduct benefits the consenting person – The consent is to sexual conduct

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Consent • To be valid the defense of consent must be

Voluntary • Consent given was the product of free will, not of force,

threat of force, promise or trickery • Forgiveness after the fact doesn’t turn involuntary

consent into voluntary consent

Knowing • The person consenting must understand what he or she

is consenting too • Person can’t been too young, under the influence, or

insane to understand

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Consent (cont.)

• Consent must also be authorized • A person cannot give consent for someone for

whom they are not legally responsible

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Case: State v. Shelley

• Facts

• Issue

• Holding

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Case: State v. Hiott

• Facts

• Issue

• Holding

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Case: State v. Brown

• Facts

• Issue

• Holding

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Case: State v. Fransua

• Facts

• Issue

• Holding

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Summary of case holdings re: Consent

• Although consent may be a valid defense in the circumstance of a sporting event, the behavior consented to must be to contact that is contemplated within the rules of the game and that is incidental to the furtherance of the goals of that game. Thus, Shelley can’t claim defense for hitting Gonzales, because hitting is not part of the rules of basketball. (State v. Shelley)

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Summary of case holdings re: Consent • Shooting one another with BB guns is not a generally

accepted game or athletic contest recognized as appropriate for the defense of consent. Hiott

• The state’s ability to protect the health and welfare denies the

defendant of his right to claim his wife consented to his assaulting her. As a matter of law, no one has the right to beat another, even upon request of the victim. (Brown)

• The public has a strong and overriding interest in limiting the defense of consent and preventing and prohibiting acts such as aggravated battery (Fransua)

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