Monthly Archives: January 2013

Mayhem (Penal Code § 203) And Aggravated Mayhem (Penal Code § 205) Explained

mayhem resulting in death

Aggravated Mayhem in Criminal Law

“Every person who unlawfully and maliciously deprives a human being of a part of his body, or disables, disfigures, or renders it useless, or cuts or disables the tongue, or puts out an eye, or slits the nose, ear, or lip, is guilty of mayhem.”

The above statement is a rather simple interpretation of Penal Code 203 PC. A person is said to be guilty of Mayhem if he causes serious injury to a person and with the malicious intent to do so. Thus in a nutshell, the elements required to prove the crime are,

(i) There was unlawful infliction of force on the victim

(ii) The force thus inflicted caused serious injuries and

(iii) The infliction of force to cause injuries was accompanied by malicious intent to do so.

Penal Code 205 PC

“A person is guilty of aggravated mayhem if he or she maims someone and exhibits an extreme or reckless disregard for the physical or psychological well-being of the victim.”

To be penalized for the offence, the following elements must be present and proved beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.

(i) Involvement of extreme or reckless disregard for the physical or psychological well-being of the victim and the defendant may be charged if he holds down the victim while disfiguring or taunts after injuring.

(ii) Such act should have been done unlawfully and intentionally

(iii) Such act resulted in permanent disability or disfigurement of the victim to the extent of depriving the victim of a limb, organ or member of the body.

Mayhem Resulting in Death

If the evidence on hand suitably demonstrates that the intention of the defendant at the time of commission of the crime was unlawful or malicious only to the extent of inflicting serious form of mayhem but unintentionally killed the victim, then the act of mayhem subjects the defendant to be convicted for first-degree felony murder and a possibility of the death penalty, life in prison without the possibility of parole or 25 years to life conviction in prison.

Mayhem is a form of felony that attracts a minimum sentence of 3 years or maximum of 8 years in

mayhem resulting in death

Aggravated Mayhem Cases

state prison while aggravated form mayhem convicts the defendant with a life sentence. Despite the fact that the act of the defendant amounts to mayhem, if such act was in the process of defending oneself or another, the act may be excused per se on the ground of self-defense.

The laws that deal with the act of mayhem, battery and assault are rather complex. Aspiring lawyers are well advised to go through a long list of cases that deals with these conflicts to get a better understanding of the same.

How Alford Plea Is Different From Guilty Plea

Alford Plea

What is meant by Alford plea?

When a convicted criminal accepts all charges filed against him and pleads guilty for what he is accused of, it is termed as a guilty plea. However, a plea is termed as an Alford plea when the convict does not plead guilty to all that he is accused of in the charge sheet but pleads guilty for the cause of the case. This plea is executed in a situation where the accused is not willing to accept the petitioner’s accusation, but is willing to plead guilty to an accusation of lower degree to secure him from a higher punishment.

History

This type of a guilty plea has been in play since it was first used in a case in 1970. The defendant was accused with first-degree murder and was not willing to plead guilty for it. Following the verdicts of eyewitnesses, the defendant was charged and would have had to go through death penalty. However, the defendant was allowed to plead guilty for second-degree murder, which would help him get 30 years of imprisonment as the punishment instead of death penalty. The defendant testified that he had not committed the crime but was pleading guilty only to avoid death penalty.

Conditions

defendant

How can a defendant plea?

The judge preserves the right to decide whether a defendant should be allowed to vow this plea of guilt. This is to prevent the misuse of the law by the defendant. Two conditions need to be satisfied in order to execute this type of a plea.

  1. A defendant who is confessing to the crime through this plea should understand that he is giving up his rights to defend, to continue the case and to be able to prove his innocence. Hence, the judge should make sure that the defendant understands how the plea works and whether it is the best option for the defendant. The defendant will be treated guilty once the plea is made.
  2. The judge should also make sure that the defendant is proven guilty of the accusation that he is confessing. There should be substantial evidences to prove that the defendant is guilty, otherwise the plea will not be accepted.

The Alford plea comes as a boon to those convicts who do not accept the petition filed by the petitioner but could be met with a harsh sentence. It becomes more practical for the defendant to plea in this way than to go face such punishment.

The Positives And Negatives About Exclusionary Rule

Exclusionary rule pros and cons, law

positives and negatives about the exclusionary rule

The exclusionary rule was formulated during the case between the Weeks and the U.S. This rule prevents the illegal collection of evidence and their submission to the court. This rule was first applied to the case between Mapp an Ohio in 1961. This rule also makes the illegal seizure of evidence and property a legal offense. If it is proved that evidence was gathered illegally, it can be grounds for rejecting such an evidence that can bring down a case against the party against which such evidence was collected.

Exclusionary Rule Pros and Cons

The exlusionary rule has, over the years proved to be an effective tool against the illegal searches and seizures which could have lead to undue harassment of a person. As a constitutional right, the fourth amendment protects you from such forms of abuse of power. Currently it is the only rule that makes the judiciary capable to check for the illegal searches and captures conducted by the police during the investigation of the crime.

Drawbacks of This Rule

In some cases the exclusionary rule creates some troubles also. Justice Scalia wrote to the Supreme Court about the various problems that are created by this rule. The letter explains that the rule could be seen as having a serious negative effect on the powers of the investigating authority to “investigate”. Having to wait for a warrant could give sufficient time for the perpetrators

Exclusionary rule pros and cons, law

law and order in America

of the time to destroy evidence. Even if the evidence is found illegally, the truth cannot be ignored.

Moreover, sometimes it would very difficult to find evidence against powerful people in the right way. This can help some guilty people to escape from the law and enforcement.

The constitution doesn’t saying anything openly about the exclusionary rule that is the right of the public. Due to this, many have questioned constitutional validity of such a rule. A few politicians have tried to bring about a constitutional amendment to try and circumvent the ruling, but haven’t been successful

Results in Increase in Trial Costs

Because of this rule there is a chance for some evidence to be thrown out, so the prosecutors are required to gather more evidence or atleast try to make the evidence seem leagal. This might result in the delay of the trial and a large increase in the cost of investigation.

Hope you got a good idea about the exclusionary rule pros and cons. Students of law would particularly find this topic useful.

The Exclusionary Rule Unraveled

Fourth Amendment

Exclusionary Rule pros and cons in U.S

From the very beginning, when humans started living in societies and realized that “social life” was indispensable  there came the need for certain rules and regulations that governed how one should act in a society. Lawmakers are thus amongst the most powerful men and women in the society. The interpretation of these laws has been left to the judiciary in most democracies. Amendments, repeals and statutory interpretations in the form of precedents guide the judicial machinery in dealing with contradictions sans encumbrance to the supremacy of law.
The famous exclusionary rule thus framed and adopted by the Fourth Amendment is an eye-opener in redefining the rights of the accused when it comes to acquisition of evidence in criminal law. The rule is not devoid of pros and cons and stringent comments from exponents of law.

What is the Exclusionary Rule?
The Fourth Amendment to U.S. Constitution states thus:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or things to be seized.”

Controversies remain as experts are at odds over the exclusionary rule pros and cons. The said amendment and the constitutional validity of the principle have been challenged many times as being deterrent in achieving the highest justice in criminal proceedings.

What is unlawful seizure of evidence?
In the light of the Fourth Amendment, no evidence shall be procured by way of unlawful seizure and in the absence of a warrant to the effect; the issuance of such warrants subject to ‘reasonableness’ of the requirement. It is this idea of ‘reasonableness’ that resulted in contradicting interpretations of the rule of law governing the principle set forth by the amendment. It shall under no circumstances be presumed that the law is untouchable by exceptions and limitations either.

How critics look at The Exclusionary rule pros and cons

Fourth Amendment

The pros and cons of the Exclusionary Rule

Like every other controversial rule, the critics stand divided and self-opinionated in the exercise of the Exclusionary rule and eminent personalities like Ronald Reagan demanded its abolition in the case of Illinois vs. Gates which came before the Supreme Court then. There are still others who place strong belief in the rule and consider it as savior of common man against unauthorized trespass to person or property in the name of lawful search or seizure by police and government.

Hope the article was informative. Good Day!