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Criminal Defense Case Brief Analysis

Case Brief Introduction

Different cases require diverse types of defenses to advocate for the position of the defendant. In some cases, the defense strategy is successful, while in others, it is impossible to support its interpretation by the corresponding evidence. In general, the ability to support one’s claim by the actual facts and evidence is the major aspect that determines the likelihood of the expected outcome. This paper examines two cases with different types of defense used. The role of justification and excuse will be specified. The ultimate outcomes will be considered.


Brazill v. State (2003)

The first case under examination is Brazill v. State (2003). The defendant killed his teacher at the middle school. Numerous facts and evidence demonstrate that Brazill committed this crime, and he had the corresponding intent. The defense of infancy was used for several reasons. The amount of evidence was sufficient to demonstrate that Brazill was the only person who could commit this crime. The facts of taking the gun from his bedroom, conversations with other people, video evidence, conclusions of the experts, and the information provided by the Math teacher James allowed one to clarify all relevant details and helped to understand that Brazill was well-prepared for committing this crime (District Court of Appeals of Florida, 2003).

Although he was angry, he was rational and calm. In particular, he waited for nine seconds before killing his teacher. Therefore, the only possible defense option was the defense of infancy as Brazill was only 13 years old at the moment of committing this crime.

As it is often claimed that children below the age of 14 years are incapable of committing a rational crime with criminal intent, their level of responsibility should be minimal. For this reason, the defense tried to appeal to this fact and avoid severe punishment. Thus, the role of justification and excuse, in this case, was as follows. All parties agreed that the existing evidence clearly showed that the defendant committed this crime using the gun from his bedroom that he had previously taken from his grandfather’s house.

The major dispute referred to the excuse that could be made was the defendant’s age. Although the defense suggested that the punishment should be minimal, the objective evaluation of the defendant’s behavior demonstrated that the crime was well-planned in advance. Therefore, the presumption of inability to commit rational crime was rejected. He was sentenced to twenty-eight years in prison for murder and an additional five years for assault (District Court of Appeals of Florida, 2003). Thus, both the trial judge and the jury did not make any excuses for the defendant’s age.

Galloway v. State (2010)

The second case under consideration is Galloway v. State (2010). In this case, the defendant Gregory Galloway murdered his grandmother. At the same time, the objective facts demonstrated that he was mentally ill and had a long history of mental illness. The defendant’s mental disorders included an Axis I psychiatric disorder and bipolar disorder. Thus, the insanity defense was used in this case. The defense representatives claimed that the defendant was unable to control his actions and comprehend their ultimate consequences. The defendant claimed that he believed his grandmother to be the devil responsible for all problems in his life.

Therefore, he should kill her to restore his power and achieve his goals. He took the knife and without any explicit motive injured her. Then, he realized that he was wrong when he believed that everything would improve immediately if he killed his grandmother. The defendant wanted her to survive and told her that he was sorry (Court of Appeals of Indiana, 2010). Thus, Galloway reconsidered his initial belief grounded on his mental illness.

The role of justification and excuse, in this case, was as follows. On the one hand, it was clear that the defendant committed this crime. It was also evident that he had a long history of experiencing mental problems. On the other hand, difficulties existed in the context of his mental state that could be the reason behind the defendant’s actions (Court of Appeals of Indiana, 2010). According to the trial court, the defense team was unable to prove the fact of insanity at the moment of committing the crime, although it is the major requirement in such cases (Jacobsen, & Maier-Katkin, 2015). Despite the fact that it was evident that he was mentally ill, the Court suggested that the evidence was insufficient regarding the moment of committing the crime.

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In order to use the insanity defense, both the facts of mental illness and the inability to comprehend the wrongness of one’s actions at the moment of the crime should be proven (Blumoff, 2015). However, the trial court suggested that only the first requirement was met. Therefore, he found the defendant to be guilty (Court of Appeals of Indiana, 2010). The decision was subsequently reversed due to the fact that the defendant’s actions were found to be legally insane. It seems that the general background of this case, as well as the actions and motivations of the defendant’s actions, demonstrated that he was insane from a legal point of view.

Case Brief Conclusion

It may be concluded that diverse cases require the employment of different types of defense. The analyzed cases demonstrated various degrees of success when using the defense of infancy and the insanity defense respectively. The defense of infancy protects the rights of children who do not comprehend the wrongness of their actions and socially negative consequences. At the same time, if they comprehend the essence and plausible consequences of their actions, they should be punished accordingly. The insanity defense creates several important legal issues, especially regarding the proper assessment of the defendant’s mental state at the moment of committing the crime.

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