What Are The Conditions Needed For The Successful Use Of The Defense Of Duress Why Is The Defense – Essay Example

Defense of Duress What Are The Conditions Needed For The Successful Use Of The Defense Of Duress? The individual must be involved in a criminal act as result of (a) a threat to serious bodily harm by another individual, and (b) the threat is immediate and does not give room for escape (Albanese, 2010). In the case laws, some states may allow a defense of duress when it is implied that physical harm was directed towards the defendant. In other states, relatives are considered as permissible targets while other states include third party. There is no consensus between the states as to which crimes can be excused under the duress. Majority of the states consider duress as a confirmatory defense under the penal code or the statute. In the English common law, duress is not provided for crimes such as murder (Carlan, Downey and Nored, 2010).
There is an emerging trend among the defense counsel to defend their clients with defenses that are based on the preexisting syndromes or conditions that their clients were afflicted with. Examples include; Vietnam syndrome, battered-woman syndrome, Holocaust survivor syndrome and child sexual abuse syndrome (Siegel, 2009).
Why is the defense inapplicable in cases of serious law violations like murder and rape?
The defense is inapplicable in such cases because the moral decision under the duress was to sacrifice an individual’s life rather than take the innocent life of another person (Siegel, 2009). A defendant cannot be excused for murdering the innocent third person because of the threat of the harm to the defendant. Human jettison rule does not exist nor does the duress legally allow the mitigation of murder to manslaughter (Albanese, 2010). In cases of rape, the same rule applies.
References
Albanese, J. S. (2010). Organized crime in our times. Burlington, MA: Elsevier.
Carlan, P., Downey, R. A. & Nored, L. S. (2010). An introduction to criminal law. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Siegel, L. J. (2009). Introduction to criminal justice. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.