Legal Defense

Legal Defense

Introduction In every criminal case there is always a person that is either guilty or not guilty. There are steps that need to be taken before the judge or jury can decide who is telling the truth. There are various types of criminal defenses that are used in a criminal trial to prove the defendant is innocent. Various types of criminal defenses There are various types of criminal defense when it comes to criminal trials. This means the defendant and their attorney have to present evidence and arguments to show why the person should not be found guilty of the charges that have been filled against them.

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In every trial, a defendant has the right to argue the reason why they are innocent as well as the right to a fair and impartial jury. There are three main legal defenses that are used in criminal trials. The first one is justification, which means that they did commit a crime, however they had a good reason as in the case of self –defense against someone they felt that was going to harm them. A popular case that shows of this type of defense would be the subway vigilante Bernard Goetz who shot four muggers on the New York subway and was found not guilty of assault and murder.

The second main type is an alibi defense. An example of this is when the defendant could not have committed the crime because they were not at the crime scene and they have witnesses to back them up. A case showing this type of defense would be the Amanda Knox murder trial where a guilty verdict was overturned. The third type is an excuse defense. Excuse means they did commit the crime but had a reason that they were not responsible for their actions.

An example would be that they didn’t know they were committing the crime because they were under medication and were not fully conscious of their actions. This would include the defense of insanity. A case where the insanity defense was used is the LaShuan Harris case, where she drowned all three of her children so they could be with God. Examine & differentiate When trails speak about legal and medical perspectives on mental illness and insanity they want to know if the defendant truly does have a medical condition or if it is a criminal behavior.

When a case like this happens, a psychiatrist usually examines them during the trail to see what the illness may be, or if they have any at all. The type of things a psychiatrist might find would be mental illness or if they were under medication. If none of these findings come out positive in the exam, then the legal angle will be involved which means the defendant was aware of their actions when committing the crime. If the exam came back with the defendant having mental illness, the trial would change.

It could mean that the defendant was not aware that what they were doing was wrong will maybe be found not guilty do to insanity. There have been trails that the defendant has been found not guilty. In an example would be the Hinckley case, this man shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981. This case went to trail and Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Even though he shot the President and it was caught on TV he was found not guilty. “Nonetheless, in today’s insanity cases, mental health experts, doctors, and scientists have important roles to play. (Serendip 1994). If the person was found to not have any mental illness then they committed the crime under legal act. This means that while the crime was being committed the person was fully aware of what they did. The defendant would have a fair trial, meaning that they would have a proper defense council and a jury to argue the case to. In conclusion Every criminal trial is different. Some will say they didn’t commit the crime that they were under a spell and didn’t know what they were doing.

Others will admit doing the crime and plead guilty. In every trial, even if they are guilty or innocent, they will have a fair trial, a jury that is not aware of what is going on with the case and to an attorney that will help prove their innocence or reduce their sentence if they are found guilty. But each trial must be heard and still be examined in every way possible so they won’t make a mistake with their final decision if they are guilty or not guilty. The final decision will come from the jury they are the ones that will make that decision.


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