Criminal Defense Case Analysis Essay


When an individual is charged with a criminal act, he or she has the right to defend him or herself and use the best legal representation available to him or her. The work of criminal defense is normally performed by criminal defense lawyers whose main task in court is to defend the ordinary people charged with the acts of violating the existing laws. Within criminal law, there are found certain conditions that will seem to make negative, a criminal element, especially the element of intent. These elements are what are known as defenses. The defenses have the potential and may give limited or total refuge from punishment. There are numerous criminal defense cases that are normally used by criminal defense lawyers in their court representation. These cases of criminal defense are the subject of analysis.

The Insanity Defense

In this type of defense, the perpetrator of a criminal act is deemed to be mentally ill of deficient at the time of the commission of act. The premise on which this defense is advance is that the person was not of sound mind when he or she was committing the criminal act and that he or she was unable to understand the consequences of such an action in question. Due to this kind of defense, the accused is supposed not to be held criminally liable to act the commission of omission. For this type of defense to be adopted by the court, the accused, normally, must undergo mental examination to determine that truly he or she is mentally deficient and in deed was not aware of the consequences of the crime he or she might have committed. Nonetheless, it is important to note that the legal definition of insanity varies from state to state. However, it is acknowledged that as an insane individual, a person is not able to formulate the intent to commit crime besides not being able to appreciate the nature and quality and illegality of his or her act.

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The history of this type of defense originated from the case of somebody known as Daniel MNaghten, who attempted to assassinate the in 1843. After his arrest and arraignment in court he was found innocent on the grounds of insanity at the time of his action. His acquittal sparked public outrage which consequently led to the establishment of legal insanity (, 2005).

Mistake of Fact

This kind of defense is used in certain jurisdictions in which the mistake made by the accused is about fact and is actually genuine to the case. This type of defense is normally used with other types of defenses. A mistake of fact is a defense that is considered so if, and only if, it negates an empirical element of the crime the accused is charged of. Moreover, the mistake must be honest and reasonable. An example of mistake of fact is: suppose, you go the library with a textbook, then after you are through you unintentionally pick another persons book also. In this case you have committed a mistake of fact and the intent of permanently depriving the other person the ownership of the book is actually missing; hence, it can be used as a defense against criminal charges (Bacigal, 2008).

Intoxication Defense

This type of defense may be advanced by somebody who might have committed a crime while in a distorted state of consciousness. This kind of defense suggests that the defendant should not be held liable or accountable to the criminal act he or she committed while in the state of intoxication. In most cases, this defense can also be used to negate the intent to commit a crime and therefore set the accused free from prosecution. The basis on which this defense is used in the intoxication might have interfered with the mentality of the defendants thereby making him or her to be unable to appreciate the consequences or wrongfulness of his or her action. In this case, the state must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant has blameworthy mental state for the defendant to be charged and found guilty (Frances et al, 2005).

Self Defense

Self defense is otherwise known as alter ego defense. This is considered as one of the most common type of defense techniques in cases of assault and murder. This type of defense entails committing an unlawful activity in order to protect ones self or family from any form of harm. In most cases, self defense is only validated by the fact that the consequences of the purported violation are proportionate to the defensive act of the accused. The individual applying self defense to escape conviction or prosecution is always required to prove, during trial, that the act of self defense was necessary justification. The law requires that the use of deadly force should be applied to repel the attacker who of deadly force, but such a force should not be used to repel an attacker who does not use deadly force (Willoughby, 2007).

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