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FSU CJL 4110 - Quiz 3 Review

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CJL4110Quiz 3 ReviewChapter Eight: JustificationsAffirmative Defenses (Introduction)• Prosecutors must overcome the presumption of innocence of the defendant and prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.o Presumption of innocence: An individual is presumed to be not guilty and the burden is on the government to establish guilt.o Case-in-chief: The prosecution’s phase at trial.o Rebuttal: The defense case at trial.• Defendants can present affirmative defenses, which justifies or excuses their acts.o Affirmative defense: the burden of production and in most cases the burden or persuasion in on the defendant.• When putting an affirmative defense forward, the burdens of production and persuasion are moved to the defense.o Burden of Production: responsibility to produce sufficient evidence for the fact finder to consider the merits of a claim.o Burden of Persuasion: responsibility to convince the fact finder, usually beyond a reasonable doubt. • Justification defenses make the case that otherwise criminal acts are approved of and encouraged by society given the circumstances. (self-defense)o Justification: A defense based on the circumstances of a criminal act.• Excuse defenses make the case that the act does deserve condemnation but the defendant should not be held liable due to a personal disability. (infancy or insanity)o Excuse: defenses in which defendants admit wrongful conduct while claiming a lack of legal responsibility based on a lack of a criminal intent or the involuntary nature of their acts. • At common law, a successful justification defense resulted in an acquittal.• At common law, a successful excuse defense provided the defendant an opportunity to request that the king exempt defendant from the death penalty.• Many theories exist for the justification defense.o Moral Interest: an individual’s act is justified based on the protection of an important moral interest. (Self-defense) o Superior Interest: the interests being preserved outweigh the interests of the person who is harmed. (Captain throwing luggage off ship to save crew from sinking)o Public Benefit: an individual’s act is justified on the grounds that it is undertaken in service of the public good. (Law enforcement using deadly force)o Moral Forfeiture: an individual perpetrating a crime has lost the right to claim legal protection. (Dangerous aggressor justifiably killed in self-defense)• A perfect defense satisfies every necessary element of an affirmative defense.• Imperfect defenses satisfy only some of the elements, thus providing mitigating circumstances. (Excessive force in self-defense)Mitigating Circumstances• Some evidence may not be relevant for an excuse or justification defense; however, it may be considered during sentencing to reduce the defendant’s punishment.• The so-called good motive defense is not a legitimate defense when deciding guilt, but can be considered as a mitigating circumstance at sentencing.o Good Motive defense: the fact that a defendant committed a crime for what he or she views as a good reason is not recognized as a defense.• In a case of overwhelming mitigating circumstances, some attorneys will push the jury to exercise their right of jury nullification, where they acquit a guilty yet overly sympathetic defendant.o Jury Nullification: right of a jury to disregard the law and to acquit a defendant.Self-Defense• While the United States is a “government of law rather than men and women” and vigilante justice is strongly discouraged, self-defense of an innocent victim is a legitimate defense at trial.• Common law recognizes these seven components of self-defense:o Reasonable Belief: An individual must possess a reasonable belief that force is required to defend himself or herself (or another victim - defense of others).o Necessity: Defender must reasonable believe that force is required to prevent the imminent and unlawful infliction of death or serious bodily harm.o Proportionality: Force employed must not be excessive under the circumstances.o Retreat: Deadly force may not be used if a defender can safely and reasonably retreat. o Aggressor: An aggressor usually cannot claim self-defense in the event that the original victim fights back.o Mistake: If the belief of the need of force is mistaken, self-defense can still be used if the belief was reasonable.o Imperfect Self-defense: By means of the imperfect self-defense doctrine (used in some states), if a person honestly, yet unreasonably believes that a situation calls for lethal self-defense the defender will be held liable for manslaughter (as opposed to murder).Reasonable Belief:• There are two standards used to determine whether an individual claiming to have acted in self-defense actually did so, the subjective and objective tests.o Subjectively, a defendant must demonstrate an honest belief that he or she confronted an imminent attack.o Objectively, a defendant must demonstrate that a reasonable person under the same circumstances would have believed that he or she confronted an imminent attack.Imminence:• A defendant must reasonably believe that the threatened harm is imminent for three reasons.o Resolution of Disputes: The law encourages peaceful resolutions of disputes whenever possible.o Last Resort: Individuals should only resort to self-help as a last resort.o Evidence: The existence of a clear and measurable threat provides that the defendant is acting out of genuine self-defense and that the defensive response is proportional to the threatened harm.Excessive Force:• When acting in self-defense, individuals cannot use excessive force.• Deadly force can only be used in self-defense when under risk of death or substantial harm.o Deadly Force: for a reasonable person under the circumstances would be aware will cause or create a substantial risk of death or substantial bodily harm.o Non-deadly Force: use of physical force or weapon that is not likely to cause death or serious injury.Retreat• Most jurisdictions do not require the defendant to retreat (“to the wall”) even when deadly force is required in defense.o Retreat to the wall: obligation to withdraw from a conflict while indicating a desire to avoid a confrontation.o Stand your ground law: no requirement to retreat. • In order to stand ground and not retreat when utilizing non-deadly force, the individual must be without fault (a.k.a. a “true man”).o True man: an individual without


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