Criminal Defenses and Criminal Punishments

Lawfulness in the Use of Force

Police officers are provided authority in all American states to employ force to attain legal objectives that include arrest, detention, search and entry to enforce a warrant. However, the lawsuits regarding the use of force are weighed based on standards defined in the Graham v. Connor in the Supreme Court. Based on case there are three factors a court can employ to evaluate the legality of a specific use of force. The first one is the harshness of the crime that the involved suspect was committing or is believed to have committed. The second one is whether the suspect presented an instant threat to the officer’s safety or that of the public. Finally, it determines whether the suspect was aggressively trying to escape or to resist arrest (Wallentine, 2007).

In the first aspect the court objectively evaluate whether the suspect was involved in light crimes such as petty theft, traffic offense such as obstruction, drunk and disorderly, and loitering among other petty crimes or deadly crimes such murder, manslaughter, rape, and defilement, robbery with violence among others. Suspects involved with deadly crimes may be considered dangerous as compared to suspects involved in petty crimes. In this regard, the use of force may not be an issue among such criminals. In the presentation of instance threat, the court consider the weapon the suspect was holding, or the number of suspects compared to the number of officer to evaluate chances of outnumbering the officers, as well as the suspect history of mental impairment or influence of drugs. In the final aspect the court evaluate if the suspect tried to run away on foot or using a vehicle or whether a suspect used other measures such as interfering with officer visibility or balance to be able to escape.

Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground

In stand on your ground, the law permits an individual to employ force in self-protection when there is sensible threat belief, without a duty to retreat first. Normally, these laws need the individuals to have a lawful tight to be in the particular location and not be involved in an illegal activity. On the contrary, the castle doctrine is a doctrine in the common law which designate an individual’s residence of legal owned property such as workplace or car in some states as an area wherein the individual contain particular immunities and protections and permit that individual to attack an invader rather than retreating. Characteristically, deadly force is regarded as justified homicide just if the actor sensibly feared serious physical harm or pending threat of death of another individual or self. Castle doctrine provides a valid defense in case regarding causing death or physical harm to an intruder or a burglar. It prevents a criminal from filing charges against a property owner. A good example is a person breaking into a house when the owner is inside. Stand on your ground validity is to prevent complaint from a criminal attacker injured at the crime scene. A good example is attack in a public park that one had paid to be in (Randall & DeBoer, 2012).

Role of Double Jeopardy Clause

Double jeopardy is a clause raised in the Fifth Amendment where individuals are protected over being tried twice for the same offense. The clause safeguard offender who has already been tried from being subjected into another trial for the same crime irrespective of whether the offender was acquitted or convicted during the first trial. It therefore prevents the state from giving double punishment for the same crime. Although this rule was developed with good intention it can easily be abused and be employed to propagate corruption and injustice act in the judicial system. Basically, an offender can easily manage to bribe juries in the first trial and be acquitted despite of being guilty. This law prevents the court from trying this individual despite of new evidence or clear indication of corruption or irregularity in the case. The law according to Coffin (2010) is regarded as irrational and arbitrary since there are always second chances in life. It infringes equal treatment, and it also weakens the ideal rule of law. Double jeopardy clause also infringes rawls’ fairness idea, and a well-ordered society, and encourages law abuse by powerful and senior people in the society. Therefore this law can never be regarded as fair.

Adversary System

The adversary system in the United States is used to refer to the legal system. It is a system where controversy parties present and develop their arguments, submit and gather evidence, question and call witnesses within restricts of particular rules that manage the process. The judge who is normally the fact finder remains passive and neutral in the entire proceeding. The most basic features of this trial system include the parties’ role, the judge’s role the requirement for procedure and the evidence rules, burden and standard of proof as well as the legal representation need. Adversary system is an art that assist in disclosure of truth in a systematic but persuasive process. It basically enforces the actual aim of conducting a trial which is restructure the crime scene and thus exposing everything that happened. In this regard, it ensures that justice is served and those that deserve a punishment are punished. The system is also set in a manner that provide beyond reasonable doubts that someone is guilty (Goodpaster, 1987).

Speedy Trial

Based on the 6th amendment, a defendant in the U.S. constitution has a right to immediate trial. The right to immediate trial occurs only after one has been formally accused of a crime either by indicting or arresting the individual. This right protects the accused from remaining in the jail for unlimited period of time prior to trial. It also enhances the chances that sufficient defense can be organized. Speedy trial ensures that the act is still fresh in the accused, the accuser and the witnesses. It also ensures that all the collected evidence is intact and can be effectively used in determining what happened. Therefore, speedy trial prevent lost and interference of the evidence, lack of justices due to death or disappearance of witnesses and fading of memories. Speedy trial is one of techniques the U.S. constitution has enacted to ensure that justice is attained in all trials through its justice system. It ensures that all those who were involved in the incident can be reached or followed to ensure accurate reconstruction of the crime scene. Therefore, speedy trial is very essential in ensuring justice.

 

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