Saturday, 29 March 2014

CJA 354 Week 2 Criminal Defense Case Analysis (Individual Assignment)

Locate two cases that discuss various types of criminal defenses.

Write a 700- to 1,050-word case analysis in which you identify and examine the types of criminal defenses used in each case that include the following: 

• Explanation of the nature and types of defenses used in each case and what evidence was used to support each defense. 
• Description of how justification and excuse play a role in each case.

Criminal Defense Case Analysis

           Our criminal justice system here in the United States operates on the perception that each person accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty by a jury of his or her peers. The criminal justice system does take into consideration a person’s state of mind when they originally committed the crime that they are accused of committing. The criminal justice system refers to a person’s state of mind as the term “mens rea,” This is a Latin term which has been incorporated into the justice system of the United States. Mens rea plays a delicate part in criminal defense cases, mainly when the accused is mentally ill.

         “The history of the insanity defense in modern times comes from the 1843 case of Daniel M'Naghten, who tried to assassinate the prime minister of Britain and was found not guilty because he was insane at the time. The public outrage after his acquittal prompted the creation of a strict definition of legal insanity which is known as the M'Naghten Rule” (Montaldo, p.1, 2010).

          The insanity defense has been used for years and over a period of time has had many changes made to the format many times. The insanity defense came after the M’Naghten rule. After a while the insanity defense followed the Durham standard before eventually becoming a standard for following the Moral Penal Code. “The Model Penal Code, published by the American Law Institute, provided a standard for legal insanity that was a compromise between the strict M'Naghten Rule and the lenient Durham ruling. Under the MPC standard, a defendant is not responsible for criminal conduct "if at the time of such conduct as a result of mental disease or defect he lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law” (Montaldo, p.1, 2010).

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