Diminished Capacity

You are a juror hearing a case in which a young man is being tried for several counts of aggravated battery and one count of murder. One night, he consumed alcohol and violently attacked his co-residents in the group home in which he lives. The defense raises the diminished capacity defense for all charges, stating that the defendant’s IQ is 83, he has fetal alcohol syndrome, and he functions at the emotional level of an 11-year-old. You live in a state in which the diminished capacity defense can be used as a true partial responsibility defense. Can he use this defense? If so, in what specific way? If not, explain why


You are a police detective investigating a homicide case in which the defendant shot and killed a man who had broken into her apartment and threatened to rape her. He was eight inches taller and 60 pounds heavier than she is, and she stated that she feared for her life. Answer the following questions:

a. In such a case, is lethal force justified for self-defense? Why or why not?

b. What other factors would you consider in a case such as this?


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