Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Defendant Must Admit Both the Act and the Culpable Mental State for Necessity Defense

Today the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals clarified what is required of a defendant under the doctrine of confession and avoidance in order to claim the defense of necessity and thereby be entitled to a defensive instruction. The Court's admittedly inconsistent prior opinions on the issue could be what led the 12th District (Tyler) to its incorrect statement of the law in the lower case.

The lower court held that admitting only the act and not the mens rea is enough to invoke the defense of necessity. The CCA disagreed stating that the "confession and avoidance" doctrine "requires an admission to the conduct, which includes both the act and the requisite mental state."

The case is called Juarez.  See opinion HERE.

Sorry about the appearance id this post. I tries writing it from my smartphone, but it appears that the phone is nor so smart after all. I will try to clean it up later.