Crim Law - Defenses
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Defendant may use deadly force to protect against an imminent deadly attack if reasonable and necessary.
Self-defense: must you retreat?
- 1) Generally, no duty to retreat before using deadly force
- 2) If Defendant is the aggressor, and safe retreat is available, then he must retreat
- 3) Minority rule: D must retreat before using deadly force if safe retreat is available, unless:
- ------a) in his home
- ------b) a police officer
- ------c) victim of a violent felony
If Defendant is initial aggressor, when can Defendant assert self-defense?
- Defendant cannot assert self-defense as the initial aggressor, UNLESS:
- 1) The defedant, as the initial aggressor, withdraws
- 2) the defendant initially used non-deadly force, and the attacker is now using deadly force
- 3) If safe retreat is available, the initial aggressor must retreat before using deadly force
Defense of others
- Defendant can use deadly force if reasonable and necessary to defend another.
- 1) majority rule: defendant may claim defense of others if victim reasonably appears to have the right to use deadly force himself
- 2) minority rule: defendant steps into the shoes of the person defended
Defense of Property
- 1) of dwelling: nondeadly force may be used against an unlawful entry.
- ------deadly force may be used only if it becomes self-defense, or to prevent a felony
- 2) of other property: deadly force is not an option
- 1) M'Naughten test (cognitive)
- ------a) did not know the wrongfulness of his act, OR
- ------b) could not understand the nature and quality of his acts
- 2) Irresistable Impulse test (volitional)
- ------a) unable to control his conduct or conform his conduct to the law
- 3) MPC Substantial Capacity test (cognitive + volitional)
- ------a) appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct, OR
- ------b) conform his conduct to the requirements of the law
- 4) Durham test
- ------a) criminal conduct was the product of a mental illness or disease
Intoxication may excuse criminal liability
- 1) voluntarily and knowingly consumes an intoxicating substance
- 2) no defense to crimes requiring SL, general intent, or malice
- 1) involuntarily or unknowingly consumes an intoxicating substance
- 2) defense to all crimes if the intoxication renders defendant "insane" under the applicable test
- Minority of states recognize this defense where evidence of D's mental defect is admissible to prove:
- D did not have or could not form the intent required for the crime
Reasonable Mistake of Fact
D makes a reasonable mistake of fact, or is ignorant of a fact that negates the required mental state for the crime, D is not guilty of that crime
Defense to general intent crime
Unreasonable Mistake of Fact
D is mistaken or ignorant of a fact, but the mistake is unreasonable under the circumstances, then the mistake is a defense only to a specific intent crime
Defense to Specific intent crime
Mistake of Law
Mistake or ignorance of the law is no defense
- D must show:
- 1) the criminal plan originated with the govt, and
- 2) defendant was not predisposed to commit the crime prior to contact with the govt
- 1) under age 7, no criminal liability
- 2) 7-14, rebuttable presumption of no liability
- 3) over 14, treated as an adult
- D's crime, except an intentional homicide, is excused if committed under the threat of:
- 1) imminent death
- 2) great bodily harm
Consent is a defense if:
- 1) Voluntary
- 2) Involves no fraud; AND
- 3) Must be given by one who is competent to consent
NOT a defense unless consent negates required element of crime OR precludes harm sought to be avoided by crime.
Natural forces of nature (not human actions) caused need to commit what otherwise would be a crime.
NOT a defense if D set the natural forces in motion OR if there was a non-criminal alternative
- a police officer or private person may use deadly force if reasonably necessary to:
- 1) prevent the commission of a dangerous felony
- 2) apprehend a dangerous felon
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