Mental illness is a defense often used


CRJU-4032-02F – Criminal Behavior



Mental illness is a defense often used

M3 Discussion Activity Unusual Defenses
Discussion Instructions

Mental illness is a defense often used by attorneys (sometimes due to a real mental illness, sometimes just to try and get their client off), but there are other unusual defenses that are also attempted. Below are two examples of these peculiar defenses.
Pornographic Intoxication Defense: this defense centers around the belief that pornography has a negative effect on the psyche and stimulates sexual violence. A defense attorney may use this defense in a rape case, arguing the person was under the influence of pornography at the time of the offense and thus should not be responsible for his/her actions, or at minimum should receive a reduced sentence.

Urban Survival Defense: this defense is based on the belief that a person who lives in a particular urban area may be living under substandard environmental conditions in a deteriorated urban neighborhood plagued with drug dealers and acts of violence that often include threats of deadly force. Thus, a defendant’s punishment should not be as severe because he/she has been exposed to these social conditions which have had a negative impact on life. The defendant is a victim of his/her environment.

For the discussion activity this week, I want you to evaluate the credibility of one or both of these defenses. In general, what is your opinion of the defense? Is there something to the defense? Should individuals under these circumstances not be held accountable for their actions? Why or why not? Or is it just a tactic used by attorneys to get their clients out of trouble? What do you think? In addition, to receive full credit for the discussion, you will also have to respond to at least one classmate’s post. Examples of possible responses:
o Ask classmate for clarification on the post

o Challenging a peer’s comment (support your reason)

o Do you agree or disagree with their opinion? Why agree/disagree?

Mental illness is a defense often used



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