Texas - General Defenses to Criminal Responsibility Flashcards Preview

Texas Criminal Law Specialization Exam > Texas - General Defenses to Criminal Responsibility > Flashcards

Flashcards in Texas - General Defenses to Criminal Responsibility Deck (14):

Explain the insanity defense:

Affirmative Defense
At the time of conduct actor, as a result of severe mental disease or defect, did not know that his conduct was wrong.
(disease or defect cannot be created by repeated criminal or antisocial conduct - i.e. drug use)


What is the burden in Insanity Defense cases?

D must prove by preponderance of evidence
UNLESS prior adjudication of insanity - raises a presumption of insanity THEN State must prove sane beyond a reasonable doubt


What evidence must be presented for insanity?

Can be based on lay-person
So, jury charge cannot be limited to EXPERT witness' testimony of diagnosis
Medical and legal insanity are not the same thing


Explain Mistake of Fact defense:

It's a general defense (not affirmative defense)
D had reasonable belief about a matter of fact and his mistaken belief negates culpability


What is the burden on "Mistake of Fact"?

If some evidence is presented, then jury must acquit if they have a reasonable doubt as to the defense


What specific situation almost always triggers "mistake of fact"?

If the court charges on "Transferred Intent"


Explain what point of view "mistake of fact" must be from?

Must be from ordinary reasonable person, not D with paranoia or psychotic thinking - not a back door for diminished capacity


Does the D have to admit all elements of offense for Mistake of Fact?

No, in limited situations D does not have to


Explain Mistake of Law Defense:

Ignorance of law, not defense
It is an affirmative defense (must be proved by preponderance of evidence by D) that:
1. D relied on official statement of law written order or grant of permission by agency that interprets the law;
2. Written interpretation of law in court of record;

D may be convicted of a lesser included offense that fits his mistaken understanding of the law


Explain Intoxication as a defense:

Voluntary intoxication NOT a defense
Can provide mitigation evidence of intoxication
If "temporary insanity" is based on intoxication the court shall charge "Intoxication" means disturbance of mental or physical capacity resulting from the introduction of an substance into the body


Explain the defense of Durress:

Affirmative Defense (D must prove by preponderance of evidence)
Actor engaged in conduct because he was compelled to do so by threat of imminent death or SBI to another
If NOT felony - force or threat of force is a defense
"Compel" means rendering reasonably firm person incapable of resisting the pressure
D cannot intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly place himself in situation that compulsion is probable
Spouse commands or persuasion, not enough haha

D must admit to offense!!


Explain the defense of Entrapment:

It is a defense that
D induced by law enforcement agent using persuasion or other means likely to cause persons to commit the offense (opportunity not enough) - must be such that ordinary person would have been persuaded (not D himself)

Entrapment as a Matter of Law can be determined pretrial - D has burden of beyond a reasonable doubt
At trial (if raised) State must negate beyond a reasonable doubt

D must admit offense


Age as a defense:

Younger than 15 cannot be convicted other than
1. perjury and D had sufficient discretion to understand the nature and obligation of an oath
2. operating of motor vehicle by minor
3. vehicle traffic ordinance
4. penal ordinance of subdivision
5. fine only misd.
6. First Deg. felony transferred

Not tickets if younger than 10

10 - 15 presumed incapable of committing offense (other than curfew) - State must overcome by preponderance of evidence of sufficient capacity to understand wrongful conduct


Explain defense of Child with Mental Illness, disability, lack of capacity:

On parentis, court, State court (for tickets) shall determine by probable cause: capacity for proceeding, capacity for wrongfulness.
If not capacity, Court dismisses - State can appeal