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CRIMINAL LAW ERROrS AND DEFENSES NAME OF DEFENSE/ERROR Cannibalism to save oneself Rule of lenity RULE Not justified

to kill another for nourishment to save oneself *Ambiguities in the statute must be decided in the defendant's favor. *Ejusdem generis- statute provides list of items then, other items are like those in the list. *Bars further proceeding because even if evidence is true, it won't satisfy the elements of the crime. *If conduct wasn't criminal at the time of the act, statute can be expanded to include it but wouldn't apply to the particular case. If statute is found to be unconstitutionally vague, it may be struck down.

Writ of Prohibition


Involuntary Act

For statute requiring act be voluntary, can't be forcibly carried to do act or be there against own will *If D was non-self induced unconscious at the time, it is a complete defense to criminal homicide *Not applicable if knew of circumstances that would create unconsciousness but engage in activity anyway.


Failure to instruct jury

If any evidence to support giving of instruction to jury and request is made for such, court must give instruction D must disclose all adverse authority unless done so by prosecution and disclose his own defenses of law but not necessarily the facts *Must find a duty of care to victim before finding guilty The judge was in error in defining a word in the instructions to the jury.

Defendant's failure to disclose

Lack of legal duty to care Erroneous Definition in Jury Instruction

Ignorance to criminal act Mistake of Age

Willful blindness or deliberate ignorance are equally punishable as positive knowledge. *Previously wasn't applicable in rape/sexual assault of minors and has been seen as a strict liability offense. Has been allowed if D was mistaken about the age because he lacked the mens rea to commit the crime. *In public welfare/regulatory offenses, knowledge that particular conduct is illegal is not required under the statute. *Where statute is silent on mens rea, it is assumed that it is a strict liability offense. Some element of mens rea where if the act was intentional, they can be culpable. *Mistake of law defense is not allowed unless reasonably acted on official statement later found to be erroneous. *May consider mistake of law defense even if it was unreasonable to determine if he acted willfully.

Lack of Mens Rea

Mistake of Law

Ignorance of duty under the law

*In the omission of act, must have knowledge of duty to be held guilty of statute. Different from commission.

Insufficiency of evidence

Reviewing court doesnt ask whether it believes that the evidence established guilt beyond a reasonable doubt but the standard is if after reviewing evidence in light most favorable to prosecution, any trier of fact could have found essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Attorney failed to ask TC for instruction or objection *When a woman says no, that's what she means and anything else is irrelevant. Sherry. *Where there are two versions of facts and possible that both are wrong, no mistake of consent defense is available. Tyson. *There must be some cooling off period between the formation of the intent to kill and the actual killing to show premeditation and deliberation. *Factors to include are: (1) Prior relationship (bad blood) (2) Planning Activity (3) Manner of Killing

Ineffective assistance of counsel Mistake of consent in rape

Heat of passion (mitigate to 2nd degree murder)

Provocation to kill (mitigate from 2nd degree to manslaughter)

*Must be adequately provoked by a reasonable standard and caused to act rashly and without deliberation. Mere argument isn't enough and often to have disagreements in marriage. Must be in line with public policy. *Imperfect defense if unreasonably believed he had to defend himself.

Extreme Emotional Disturbance (mitigate to manslaughter)

*Requests mitigation due to mental infirmity not quite insanity. Must be immediate w/ no cooling off period. Usually from physical confrontation but maybe from words. *Subjective element- if D really did act w/EED *Objective element- If reasonable explanation for the EED *Statute was interpreted in error.

Misapplication of the statute/ Insufficiency of the evidence

Appealable Errors Discretionary Abuse Judge is overzealous in his use of his power US v. Jackson, p. 112 o So long as sentence is within sentencing guideline there is no discretionary abuse Virgin Islands v. Scuito o Judge abused power by denying psychological evaluation Maher v. People o Judge ruled on state of mind, which should be determined by the jury Result: Remanded for new sentencing Rational-Basis Test Lawrence v. TX Result: ruling is overturned Mistake of Law Result is dismissal of charges If meaning of statute is foreseeable it can be expanded to encompass crime

o If not, statute cannot be expanded for crime at hand, but the crime can be written into law for future occurrences o Keeler v. Superior Court Cannons of Construction: Meaning of terms and phrases may be determined by lists of associated terms and phrases o U.S. v. Dauray Rule of Lenity: Ambiguities in the law must be ruled in favor of defendant o U.S. v. Dauray Constitutionally Vague Statute: a statute is too vague if it gives no notice or the application is subject to discretion with no guidelines o Chicago v. Morales o People v. Liberta o Court must analyze the statute and must determine what was meant by the legislature to rule on its Constitutionality Misapplication of the Law o Martin v. State o B v. Director of Public Prosecutions Pre-conviction Rulings o Error in pre-conviction requests (pre-trial motion to dismiss, demurrers, etc..) can immediately be appealed o Barber v. Superior Court o Boro v. Superior Court Violation of Due Process o Lambert v. California Mistake of Fact Cannot be successful if its an issue of strict liability (i.e. rape)

Garnett v. State Staples v. US Rejection of Defense People v. Olsen Result: Remanded for new trial Error in Jury Instruction Result:Remand for new trial with correct instructions Prejudicial Error o Court must consider all defenses o If defendant has any evidence to support his defense and requests an instruction on it, the judge must instruct the jury on that defense o People v. Newton (black panther error by not instructing jury on unconsciousness as a defense) o Iron Mike Tyson v. State Failure to instruct on a material element (ex: duty, intent) o Jones v. US o Morissette v. US Incorrect Definition o Regina v. Cunningham Ex: instructed jury that malice = wickedness Instructions too broad o Regina v. Faulkner Rejection of requested jury instructions o US v. Jewell Failure by Instruction o Cheek v. US Jury instructed on willfulness when they should not have Confusing Instructions

o State v. Guthrie o Instructions did not properly distinguish first and second degree murder o Result: remanded for new trial Mistake in Personal Interpretation of Law Not allowed o Policy reasons: people would always appeal based on it People v. Marrero Peace Officer allowed to carry gun Insufficient Evidence State v. Rusk State v. Williams Rule: must review the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs. If, after doing so, no reasonable trier of fact could find guilty beyond reasonable doubt then previous ruling should be overturned Result: overturn conviction Appeals court cannot include their own version of facts, must use those found by trial court Improper Disallowance of Evidence State v. DeLawder Victims sexual history was not allowed, court ruled that it should be on appeal Result: Remanded for new trial Improper Penis-Pumping by Judge Inadequate Defense Must be extreme: mockery of justice Commonwealth v. Fischer o Council failed to request proper jury instructions o Appeal was rejected because law they used to appeal was not in effect at the time of original trial

o You can appeal based on ineffective council if council does not argue for a change in law when they should (this is rare but does happen) Result: remanded for new trial Note on Appeals: When appealing, it must be done based on the defense. Cannot appeal based on a different argument Iron Mike Tyson v. State Defense was that she consented, appeal was on issue of fact, court rejected Incorrect jury instructions Statute was left out or improper statute was given Improper definition Denying a relevant defense Granting a summary judgment when there was an issue of fact Giving a verdict that is contrary the weight of the evidence Biased judge/jury Evidentiary errors? Errors in judgment?