JUSTIFICATIONS AS DEFENSES 3
of Chapter five and six
Theconduct that an individual believes is important to avoid an evil orharm to herself or himself, or avoid injury to another, isjustifiable incase the evil or harm to be avoided is bigger than thatwhich law defining offense seeks to avoid. Therefore, justificationscan apply when an individual finds herself or himself facing thechoice between the “lesser of the two evils.” The best choicewill therefore be morally correct one. If the right choice is takenthat evil or harm is eliminate or reduce criminal liability for anact in question. A commonly used example is a case of firefighterswho establish controlled fire to create the firebreak to lead aconflagration threatening a society. In contrast, an excuse does notclaim that a conduct in question is justified but that an actor whoinvolved in it sometime is not legally responsible for her or hisactions (Schmalleger at el, 2010).
Chaptersix excuses second main category of the defenses. Excuses admit thatlaw-breaking actions done by the defendant were not right and theyviolated criminal law but defendant should not be excused from anycriminal liability due to special circumstances. Most of excuses arepersonal and they claim that defendant acted on basis of certaindisability or abnormal condition like intoxication, immaturity, orinsanity and that a defendant should not take responsibility foractions. In case a defendant suffers from well-known disability, thenthat disability is not appropriate to excuse her or him of criminalresponsibility. It is only when a disability has effect thatcontributes or produces criminal activity in question in certain waythat an actor can be excused (Schmalleger at el, 2010). The excusesthat law recognizes include intoxication, duress, age, mistake,insanity, entrapment, diminished capacity, and various “syndromes.”
Schmalleger,F., Hall, D. E. & Dolatowski, J. J. (2010). Criminallaw today (4th ed.).Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Learning