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Criminal Justice questions

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Part 1A

Were you aware that homosexual behavior was deemed a physiological disorder in the United States? In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed the behavior as being considered a mental disorder. The World Health Organization removed homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1992.

Psychiatric experts determine what is considered a mental defect and in the American form of Jurisprudence we recognize their opinion as expert testimony in most situations. Additionally, criminal culpability can be reduced or removed if a person has a disorder or syndrome which kept them from understanding the criminality of their actions. These are syndrome based defenses (excuses) which are also referred to as affirmative defenses, which means the defense has the burden of proof (preponderance) to convince a judge or jury the defendant meets the legal standard of insanity.

There are two schools of thought on syndrome based defenses. Law Professor Michael Corrado, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill argues excuses are based on justice, and indicates the law’s consideration for the defendants predicament in particular circumstances and keeps the list of excuses as open. He further states that judges will recognize the call for new defenses if the demand is made insistently enough.

Harvard Law Professor, Alan Dershowitz says the most profound danger posed by the proliferation of abuse and other excuses is that it may be a symptom of a national abdication of personal responsibility. At is base, the subtle message of the abuse-excuse defense is that the real criminal is the victim of the crime. The victim is placed on trial, some times in absentia.

United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas stated “People began questioning whether the poor or minority could be blamed for the crime they commit. Some legal institutions and popular culture have identified those accused of wrongdoing as victims of upbringing or circumstances. No longer is an individual identified as the cause of the harmful act. Rather, societal conditions or the actions of institutions became responsible for causes of harm. The law punishes only those who are responsible for their actions; and in a world of countless uncontrollable causes of aggression or lawlessness, few will be held accountable for their behavior.”

Based on your readings in chapters seven and eight, as well as the aforementioned information, discuss the following;

1. What is your opinion about the syndrome based defenses?

2. If mental disorders can be added or removed based on new information(Homosexual Behavior), does that fact decrease the validity of using syndromes as a mechanism to abolish culpability? Why or why not?

Part 1B

Read the attached articles, and then use this space to answer the question at the top of one of them. (Attached Below)

Part 1C

Discussion: Explore two library catalogs (one public and one academic) and based on Chapter 6 share what you learned. For example which online catalog was easier to navigate, and the audience each catalog catered to. You may include any other relevant observations.

Los Angeles Public Library (Links to an external site.)

Chicago Public Library (Links to an external site.)

Kern County Library (Links to an external site.)

Bakersfield College Library (Links to an external site.)

University of California, Santa Barbara (Links to an external site.)

San Jose State University