Exemptions to Criminal Liability

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Exemptions to Criminal Liability


  • Legal rebuttable presumption - Children under 14 years old are incapable of committing crimes.

  • Presumption may be overcome by “clear and convincing evidence” that child knew wrongfulness.

  • Children under 7 years old cannot commit crimes.

Mental Capacity

  • Insanity:

    • M’naughten Rule
    • Irresistible Impulse
    • Durham Test
    • Substantial Capacity Test (Model Penal Code)
    • Diminished Capacity

M’Naghten Rule

  • At the time the act was committed:

  • Defendant was suffering from a defect of reason from a disease of the mind.

  • Defendant did not know: - nature/quality of his act; - that the act was wrong

Irresistible Impulse

  • Defendant, while not insane, and having an understanding of the nature and quality of his act.

  • Could not control his behavior.

Substantial Capacity Test

  • A person is not criminally responsible if, at the time of the conduct, the person lacked the substantial capacity to:

  • Appreciate the criminality of her conduct or conform to the requirements of the law,

  • Due to mental disease or defect.

Diminished Capacity

  • A defendant who is not legally insane may be suffering from mental disease or defect which affects the ability to possess the required mental state.

  • Defense to specific intent crimes.

  • Admissible at the time of sentencing.

Defendant’s Burden

  • Defendant has the burden:

    • Of production
    • Of persuasion
    • Must prove by a “preponderance of the evidence”

Defendant Must Plead

  • Not Guilty by reason of insanity.

  • Tried on the issue of sanity.

  • If found sane = convicted.

Kataloq: cfeer -> Criminal%20Law

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