Criminal Defenses and Criminal Punishments

Criminal Defenses and Criminal Punishments

LEG 320 Criminal Law,

Criminal Defenses and Criminal Punishments

In this assignment, I will explore different types of criminal defenses and the manner of criminal punishments by responding to the questions listed below.

Specify the key points involved in the court determining the lawfulness of the use of force. Next, evaluate the level of objectivity inherent in each point that you have specified.

In Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989) by the Supreme Court established the complete use of force lawsuits where in this case, the Court directed lower courts to ask three questions often in measuring the lawfulness of a particular application of force. The first question “what is the severity of the crime that the officer believed the suspect to have committed or been committing was…?” The second question being, “did the defendant present an immediate threat to the officers or the public’s safety?” The third and final question, “was the suspect actively resisting arrest or attempting to run away?” (International Association of the Chiefs of, 2016)

The use of force is defined by the International Association of Chiefs of Police as “the amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject.” “The use of force by law enforcement becomes necessary and permitted under specific circumstances, such as in self-defense or in the defense of another.” “Situational awareness is essential since an officer of the law would need the ability to judge when a crisis requires the use of force to regain control of a situation.” (International Association of the Chiefs of, 2016) Law enforcement officers as a practice should use only the amount of force necessary to mitigate an incident make an arrest or protect themselves or others from harm. There are levels, or continuum, of force police use which include basic verbal and physical restraint, less-lethal force and finally lethal force. (International Association of the Chiefs of, 2016)

There are several levels of objectivity which are inherent in the use of force one being the use of force helps to protect the public and police as well. In addition, another level of objectivity to the use of force would be to ensure that the defendants face the law to ensure justice is served. Finally, the severity of the crime committed or being committed will only be stopped by the use of force to prevent harm.

Determine the fundamental difference between the castle doctrine and stand your ground types of criminal defenses. Justify the validity of each and provide one (1) example of each to support your response.

The castle doctrine, is a self-defense perspective which allows the homeowner the right to protect his or her home using deadly force if the opportunity to retreat outside of one’s “castle” is not viable.(Thompson Reuters, 2018) While the stand-your-ground law established a right by which a person may defend one’s self or others against threats or perceived threats, even to the point of applying lethal force, regardless of whether safely retreating from the situation might have been possible. A documented fundamental difference between the castle doctrine and the stand your ground types of criminal defense has been explained that the Castle Doctrine applies to an individual’s home if the criminal is already inside.” “While on the other hand, the stand your ground applies outside and only changes one element of the justification for deadly force use.” (Thompson Reuters, 2018) I could use the castle doctrine as a criminal defense if I were at home and a burglary entered my home, threatened my life and left me no way to escape. I could use the stand your ground law as a criminal defense if I were walking in my neighborhood and I was attacked, I don’t have to retreat I can protect myself from harm.

Analyze the overall role that double jeopardy clause plays within the trial system. Next, evaluate the general level of fairness of double jeopardy to the defense.

“The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution contains the provision which addresses prohibition of the government from prosecuting people more than once for the same crime and from imposing multiple punishments for one offense.” (Mark Randall, 2012) This Clause is to protect the defendant who has been acquitted on criminal charges from standing trail again for the same offense. This initial trial minimizes distress to the participants and the opportunity for unethical officers to manipulate ‘new’ evidence.

Specify the basic features of adversarial system. Next, support or critique the value of the adversarial system within the criminal law system in the United States. Justify your response.

It has been documented that the value of the adversary system in the United States includes the ensuring that procedural law is strictly followed, with lawyers on the both sides, preserving privacy with the court working like the peace keeper to ensure fairness and the defendants right to not speak. (628. Speedy Trial Act of 1974, 2018) This system ensures proper administration of sentences within legal limits without this system there could be a miscarriage of justice or the courts could be unduly influenced.

The essential features of the adversarial system are explained as follows:

Each party being responsible for presenting their case through legal representative before the courts. (Legal, 1997-2016)

The judge must be an impartial arbitrator to ensure the trial is by the rules of evidence and procedure. (Legal, 1997-2016)

Tight rules of evidence and procedure are followed. (Legal, 1997-2016)

Burden of proof rests on the party making the allegation as well as the defendant maintain the presumption of innocence. (Legal, 1997-2016)

The accused can be convicted by the courts by his confessional statement without carrying out a trial. (Legal, 1997-2016)

The adversarial system allows a private litigant to settle their dispute amicably outside the court in the trial process. (Legal, 1997-2016)

Argue for or against the right to a speedy trial, as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Provide a rationale to support your response.

The right to a speedy trial has been established by the Sixth Amendment, it is an important element of the criminal justice system. (628. Speedy Trial Act of 1974, 2018) I would argue that a speedy trial is important because it saves time for both the courts as well as parties. A Speedy Trial eliminates the spoiling of evidence or the disruption of the case evidence, it will also cause the offenders to feel the responsibility of their crimes and giving the victim a sense of justice being served. (628. Speedy Trial Act of 1974, 2018)


628. Speedy Trial Act of 1974. (2018). Retrieved from The United States Department of Justice:

Law, C. D. (2018, November 19). Double Jeopardy. Retrieved from

Mark Randall, H. D. (2012, April 24). OLR Research Report. Retrieved from

Police, I. A. (2016, November 29). National Institute of Justice. Retrieved from Police Use of Force in America, 2001:

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