Criminal Defense Case Analysis
When a person is charged with a crime the type of defense that they choose could ultimately determine their fate. There are many different types of defenses that exist in our criminal justice system. In this paper I will be taking a brief look at two different cases that have implored two different types of criminal defenses. I will look at the nature and types of defenses used in the cases and what evidence was used to demonstrate defense. I will describe how justification and excuse played a role in the cases and I will also be describing the outcome of each case.
The first case that I will be examining will be in the case of the sleepwalking defense. On May 3, 1987, 23 year-old, Kenneth Parks, drove 14 miles to his wife’s parents house and viciously attacked them, killing his wife’s mother and severely wounding her father. “Accounts say he removed a tire iron from the car and entered the house, where he proceeded to beat his mother-in-law to death and choke his father-in-law into unconsciousness, while stabbing them with their own kitchen knife (Ramsland).” He then drove himself to a police station to turn himself in. “He told the cops over and over “I think I have killed some people with my bare hands”, identifying his victims and claiming it was “all my fault” (Ramsland).”
“Kenneth Parks had a prior history of sleepwalking, so his attorney decided to use the defense of homicidal somnambulism (Ramsland).” Parks claimed he had no memory of any of the events of the night in question, and could only remember waking up in police custody, so therefore must have been “sleepwalking.” “On May 25, 1988, the jury acquitted Parks of murder and later of attempted murder, and while controversial the verdict stood (Ramsland).” This case is one of very few where the “sleepwalking” excuse actually worked. Others who attempted this same tactic later on, was found very unsuccessful, in other words not so lucky as Kenneth Parks...
References: Koenig, J. (2009, June 21). The 7 most baffling criminal defenses. Retrieved from http://www.cracked.com/article_17470_the-7-most-baffling-criminal-defenses-that-sort-worked.html
Mills, N. (1994, June 06). The shame of "black rage" defense. Retrieved from http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1994-06-06/news/9406060097_1_kunstler-and-kuby-william-kunstler-colin-ferguson
Ramsland, K. (n.d.). Automatism: The sleepwalker 's defense. Retrieved from http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/criminal_mind/psychology/automatism/1_index.html
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