Shared Flashcard Set


CRJ - Law of Crimes
CSUS CRJ 2 class with Professor Kubicek
Criminal Justice
Not Applicable

Additional Criminal Justice Flashcards




Special Defenses

special defences: also known as justification defence

justifiable homicide 


The law recognizes that sometimes conduct that could be deemed criminal is done for a rational or legitimate purpose.


These defences can typically be applied to the commission of any criminal act, but are most easily understood when in the context of a homicide.



Justifiable Homicide

P.C. § 198 - the killer must experience fear that is sufficient to "excite the fears of a reasonable person, and the party killing must have acted under the influence of such fears alone" 


Defendant must have reasonably believed that he/she or a third party was in imminent danger of death or suffering great bodily injury and the defendant must have reasonably believed that immediate use of deadly force was necessary to defend against that danger.  


P.C. § 197 - a homicide if justifiable when committed by any person under the following circumstances:


defense of habitation

defence of another

peace officers

citizen's arrest

Deadly Force

Deadly force an the amount of force likely to cause death or great bodily injury.


The use of a gun is always a threat of deadly force.


Belief in future harm is not enough to warrant the use of deadly force, even if that belief is reasonable.


You CAN NOT use deadly force to protect property alone.

Objective Reasonablenesss

The amount of force used must be reasonable under the circumstances.


The question to ask is "whether a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances would have believed that he or she faced an imminent, unlawful, and deadly threat?"


The use of deadly force on behalf of oneself or another will only be justified when the defendant reasonably believed that he or she was facing an imminent, unlawful, and deadly threat and used no more force than was necessary.

battered women's syndrome

Can be considered by the jury when assessing the reasonableness of the defendants belief in her right to use deadly force in self-defense.


this does not create a "battered women's standard" of reasonableness, rather that it requires juries to consider all relevant circumstances when determining the reasonableness of the defendant's belief.


This does away with immense requirement.

"perfect" self-defense (justifiable homicide)

The defendant claiming self-defense, can not invoke the doctrine if he or she was the initial aggressor in a confrontation.


The initial aggressor can regain the right to use deadly force but they must have clearly communicated and affected the withdraw from the fight


The use of force is justified only if it is proportional to the force threatened. 


It is the reasonableness of the defendant's belief in an imminent, unlawful, and deadly threat that "perfects" he belief and in turn gives her the right to use deadly force.


If the defendant can prove that she acted in lawful self defense, the result is for her to be aquitted and discharged.

Defense of habitation (justifiable homicide)

the right of a person to protect herself/himself inside of her home or residence.  


The law justifies a killing committed when a person fears for the life and safety of himself/herself, or family members or people within the residence, against a person who "violently, riotusly, or tumultuously tried to enter their home intending to commit an act of violence.


If the requirements are met, the killer is not guilty of a crime because the killing is justifiable homicide.


The use of deadly force in defense of habitation will only be justified when the defendant possessed reasonable belief that he or she was defending a home against an intruder who imminently intended or tried to commit a forcible and atrocious crime or who violently, riotously, or tumultuously tried to enter that home intending to commit an act of violence against someone inside.

Defense of another (justifiable homicide)

lawful resisitance to a public offense can be made by both the party injured and by third parties on their behalf


If made by the party injured, a person may prevent an offense against his person, his family, or some member thereof or prevent an illegal attempt by force to take or injure property in his lawful possession.


When ever non-deadly force is used in self-defense or defense of another, it must be reasonable and proportional.

Peace officers (justifiable homicide)
when carrying out the death penalty or when apprehending or arresting certain dangerous felons
Citizen's arrest (justifiable homicide)
when attempting, by lawful means to apprehend any person for any felony commited, in lawfully suppressing a riot, or in lawfully keeping and preserving the peace.

there is no uniform rule for testing for insanity


CA's rule for proof is that in M'Naughten's case.

rule focuses on the defendants ability to comprehend the nature and/or wrongfulness of his/her conduct.


In order for a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity to be successful, the defendant must prove by a prepronderance of the evidence that he or she was incapable of knowing or understanding the nature and quality of his/her act of distinguishing right from wrong at the time of commission of the offense.


Bifurcated - the trial for insanity consists of two trials.  The first one is whether or not the defendant is guilty.  The second trial has to deal with whether or not the defendant was insane.


Temporary Insanity - if the defendant has fully recovered, they can be released.  


Defendant has the burdon of proof, not prosecution.


Voluntary Intoxication

come under the influence of alcohol or drugs of their own choice.

evidence can only be sibmitted for crimes that show specific intent, not general intent.


Involuntary Intoxication

might occur when coercion to ingest the intoxicating substance, because of a mistake as to ingestion or a mistake of the character of the substance, or because of pathological intoxication


Pathological Intoxication

results when a person has an extraordinary reaction or disproportionate response to the ingestion of a substance, and had no prior knowledge to the propensity of the response.

Mistake of Law
Mistake of Fact
Supporting users have an ad free experience!