Samaha Chapter 6 Smith Part 1

Samaha Chapter 6 Smith Part 1 - Criminal Law Criminal...

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Criminal Law Criminal Law Chapter 6 Chapter 6 Defenses to Criminal Liability: Excuse Defenses to Criminal Liability: Excuse CRJU E314 Criminal Law CRJU E314 Criminal Law Spring 2011, Spring 2011, Mr. Smith Mr. Smith
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Excuse Defenses Excuse defenses focus on the actor and the actor’s moral culpability or the actor’s ability to possess the requisite mens rea . Defendants who plead an excuse defense admit what they did was wrong but argue that, under the circumstances, they weren’t responsible for their actions . Examples of excuse defenses include: Insanity Diminished capacity Age Duress Intoxication Entrapment
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Insanity: The Underlying Theory Insanity excuses criminal liability due to the fact that when a person’s capacity to act and/ or reason and understand consequences of behavior is so damaged that the person can not form the required mens rea or control his actions, we can not blame him legally for what he did.
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Insanity: An Overview Insanity as a criminal defense is seldom raised and, when raised, seldom successful . Once the issue of insanity is raised by the defendant, the court will typically order the defendant to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in order to first determine whether he is competent to stand trial . The evaluation of the defendant’s competence to stand trial does not involve the question of his sanity, or prevent him from raising the insanity defense at trial if the case goes to trial.
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If, after hearing evidence of the psychiatric evaluation, the court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant is suffering from a mental disease or defect that renders him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceeding against him or to assist properly in his defense, the court typically commits the defendant to a mental health treatment facility for a specified period of time (e.g. four months in the federal system).
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If, at the expiration of the term of commitment, the facility determines that the defendant has recovered to the extent that he is able to understand the nature and consequences of the proceeding and to assist in his defense, the court conducts its own hearing to determine whether the defendant is competent and, if the court so determines, the trial is rescheduled. A finding by the court that the defendant is mentally competent to stand trial does not prejudice the defendant in raising an insanity defense and the finding of competence can not be used as evidence in his trial.
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This note was uploaded on 02/20/2012 for the course CRJU E314 taught by Professor Mr.smith during the Spring '11 term at South Carolina.

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Samaha Chapter 6 Smith Part 1 - Criminal Law Criminal...

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