Conditionsrequired for successful use of the defense of duress
Duressis a type of defense that is used in both federal and state courts toabsolve the suspect of the criminal liability. Defense of duress isbased on the notion that, although the defendant may have the mensareaof the committed rime, they acted out of compulsion that limitedtheir capacity to exercise the freedom of making rational choices(University of the West England, 2014). The defense of duressprovides an excuse for the wrongdoing. There are two major conditionsunder which the defense of duress can apply successfully depending onthe type of duress. First, duress by threat applies when thedefendant was subjected to grave personal violence or a risk ofimmediate death (University of the West England, 2014). Secondly,duress of circumstance applies successfully when defendant was forcedby circumstances to commit a given crime.
Reasonsfor unsuccessful application of duress in cases of serious crimes
Theunsuccessful application of the defense of duress in serious cases(including rape and murder) is based on the notions one is expectedto distinguish between what is moral or immoral and that a personhave other option regardless of circumstances. According to Mulroy(2006) murder of an innocent person is intentional, which means thateven under duress, such an action is pre-mediated by the offender. Byextension, courts apply similar assumptions when dealing with otherserious cases, such as rape. This means that the law considers rapeas a rational decision irrespective of circumstances or threats thatone has been subjected at the time of committing the crime.Therefore, defense of duress excuse offenders from criminal behaviorwith exemption for actions that are pre-mediated.
Mulroy,S. (2006). The Duress Defense’s Uncharted Terrain:Applying it to Murder, Felony Murder, andthe Mentally Retarded Defendant. Memphis: University of Memphis.
Universityof the West England (2014). Defense of duress in criminal law.Bristol: University of the West England.