Criminal Defenses

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Submitted By dollick2
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Criminal Defenses One of the greatest rights afforded to the America people is the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty in the court of law. It is the job of the prosecutor to prove to the people, to the jury, and to the court that the accused is guilty of a crime. If the prosecutor has a valid case, the accused, either on his or her own or accompanied by a skilled attorney, can present various defenses to argue why they acted in the manner they did. Schmalleger (2010, pg. 114) states, “A defense consists of evidence and arguments offered by a defendant and his or her attorney(s) to show why that person should not be held liable for a criminal charge”. This paper will discuss various forms of criminal defenses and how they are used in court.
Justification Defense While the courts usually require the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defense is guilty of a crime, the defense can take an offensive role in their trial by taking an affirmative defense. Instead of sitting back and waiting for the prosecuting attorney to attempt to prove the defendants guilt, the defendant can “fight” back with defenses. The following are types of affirmative defenses:
Necessity
The defense of necessity claims that the defendant believes it was necessary to commit the criminal act in order to prevent or avoid great harm (Schmallege, 2010 pg 116). An interesting case that was upheld as a good defense of necessity was people vs. lovercamp (1974) where inmate Lovercamp and a co-prisoner escaped from prison out to keep from being raped by a group of lesbian inmates. These lesbian inmates gave the alternative of “fuck or fight”, causing Lovercamp and her co-prisoner to fear for their safety. The courts ruled that because the two defendants feared for their safety, there was no time for help from the courts or reporting the threat, there was no harm…...

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