Types Of Criminal Defences Approved By Court
There are many different excuses offenders may use in order to justify their actions when they are being tried for unlawful activity, however there are only a few reasons that may be accepted by the court. Law enforcement needed to create a guideline of what reasons may be excused from criminal punishment in order to create fair trials for those who do not have the mental capacity to decide what is right or wrong and be put in the right facility for their mental illness or be freed for having reason to commit the crime.
The most commonly used criminal defenses are alibi, procedural defenses, entrapment, excuses, and justification. An alibi is distinct from the other defenses because it shows proof the suspect was somewhere else at the time of the incident with eyewitness reports and documentation. Procedural defense is when a defendant was discriminated against by authorities or the procedures were not followed correctly.
Entrapment when law enforcement deceives a defendant into doing something unlawful when they would not have commited the crime otherwise. The different types of excuses may include insanity, involuntary intoxication, age, mistake, duress, mental incompetence, provocation, necessity, diminished capacity, and unconsciousness. Justification is admitting to the crime but “will not suffer the usual penalty for his actions because in the eyes of the court” Justification. (n.d.), because it was necessary such as self defense, defense of others, and the defense of home and property.
How an alibi can help a suspect in court is by getting a witness to make a statement on their behalf that they saw the individual at the time of the incident and getting physical documentation such as a receipt or footage to show that you couldn’t have committed the crime because you were somewhere else at the time. A procedural defense includes double jeopardy is when an individual is tried twice for the same crime which is protected under the V Amendment stating it “prohibits anyone from being prosecuted twice for substantially the same crime” Double Jeopardy. (n.d.).
Insanity was established as a criminal defense after the law realized that prosecution was not suitable for those who cannot tell right from wrong and can be split into 3 different categories, temporary insanity which is when the defendant lost their insanity during the time of the unlawful act, diminished capacity is used to lessen the sentence for those declared guilty, and lastly mental incompetence which declares that they are unable to stand trial in comprehending their charges so they are assisted in their defense.
An example of entrapment would be a member of law enforcement threatening the defendant to do a criminal act they wouldn’t have done before. An example of justification would be if someone is trying to attack you but you shoot them in self defense. An example of diminished capacity and mental incompetence would be suffering from a mental disorder making an individual unaware that their actions are wrong, this may result in being admitted to a mental health facility.
In the previous years those with mental illness were not treated fairly by police, but law enforcement had expanded their knowledge to better suit those who have a mental illness. The primary defenses for insanity when those have committed a crime includes the M’naghten Rule which determines whether or not the defendant knew what they were doing, the Irresistible Rule which implies that the defendant could not control what they were doing, the Durham Rule meaning the defendant is not held liable for their unlawful act because of a disease or birth defect they have, lastly under the Penal Code in § 4.01 the Substantial Capacity Rule indicates that the defendant didn’t have the “substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law” LII Staff. (2018, December 4). Insanity defense, this is if the defendant has a mental illness or birth defect.
Law enforcement in the past was never equipped to handle situations where someone with a mental illness was involved but in recent years they have created scenarios that help train officers how to quickly diffuse a situation when the suspect is unable to comprehend what they are being ordered to do. This has helped to bring down violence when handling an individual who is not mentally capable to comprehend what the police need them to do, rather than the officers thinking they’re trying to be defiant and use physical force against them. These insanity defenses have helped to impact the criminal justice system greatly in making it fair for all including those who are different from others and can’t control their actions.
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