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Types of Criminal Defenses, Essay Example

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Criminal Defense Styles

In order for any perceived criminal to be prosecuted, the prosecution has a big role to play in proving that the criminal defendant is guilty beyond what is called in law ‘reasonable doubt’. During the whole process of hearing the case, the defendant is always given an opportunity to defend himself/herself. This is usually achieved by the defendant trying to disapprove the prosecution using evidence that show that he/she was not involved in committing a particular crime.

Two cases arise in which the defendants’ position could be one in which he/she opposes or denies the claim that he/she committed the said crime or the position in which he/she accepts that he/she committed the said crime but is willing to add a justification of his innocence.

The Case in which the Defendant’s position is ‘I Didn’t Do It’

Defendants in most cases always try to use strategies that will enable them to avoid the punishment for the crime committed.  This therefore results into the following styles of defense.

The best example of such a case is the case in which the motivational speaker Michael Lane appeared before James Bixler and was charged of murder. He had been accused of using a deadly weapon to murder Ginger Candela who was 44 years old. The trial was scheduled to be held on January 10, 2011. Michael was later on sentenced to life imprisonment after the full trial of the case.

Presumption of Innocence until Conviction

Legally speaking, any person that is accused of committing any criminal act is presumed innocent until proved guilty of committing the crime. One can be declared guilty by the jury either by the results from the trial process ort as a result of the person pleading guilty. Under this style of defense, the defendant may decide to remain silent, present no witness and hold the argument that the prosecution failed on its part to prove the case. In the event that the prosecutor does not substantively prove to the jury that the accused is guilty, the defendant who is also the accused is set free (Legal Encyclopedia). Michael Lane was therefore presumed innocence until the tenth of January when the ruling was made.

Beyond Reasonable Doubt

In this style, the prosecutor has an uphill task of convincing the judges that the evidence placed in the court is a clear indicator that the accused is guilty without creating any doubts. Judges are always expected to address all the doubts that may reasonably arise from the defendants’ guilt. The defendants’ defense in most cases is alluding that there still exists a reasonable doubt. In Michael’s case the prosecution delivered the evidence that addressed all the doubts that would arise from the ruling of the court.

The case in which the defendant’s position is ‘I Did It, But…’

In some cases the defendant does not get punished for a crime even if the prosecution proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. The judges may consider other factors that might have triggered the commitment of the crime.

An example is the one in which a sixteen year old high school student was charged of fatally stabbing and killing another teenager Philip Geller. The teenager action was as part of the plea to bargain for a better sentence as they had agreed with the state prosecutors. Initially the state prosecutors had decide to make the teenager be charged of the murder but they later on changed their minds after having concluded that the teenagers action had not been premeditated.

This kind of crime gives rise to the following styles of defense (Legal Encyclopaedia).

Acting under Self-Defense

This kind of defense is commonly applied or used by those charged with violence related crimes like battery, assault by the use of weapons or, even in some extreme cases, murder. The defendant does not deny the fact that he committed the crime but he also defends his actions to some extent believing that it was the necessary thing to do considering the other person’s actions which were threatening. In this case for example, the teenager claimed that Philip started assaulting him and this forced him to act quickly in order to save himself from the assault but unfortunately Philip died. It is however important to note that a person acting in self defense should not use excessive force, for this might be interrupted as a crime (Legal Encyclopaedia).

 

References

Defenses to Criminal Charges. (n.d.) In Legal encyclopaedia online. Retrieved from

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/defenses-criminal-charges-30275.html

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