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November 5, 2008

A message from Tom O'Dudley to his Oliwood lawyers

I was very encouraged to learn today that under Oliwood law I might not have to even face a trial, even though I am an admitted purposeful killer of Richard O'Parker, because you think that I may satisfy the necessity defense as a matter of law.  If this is accurate, I will happily pay a large sum to your law firm if and when you succeed in getting my indictment dismissed as a matter of law.

If we are not successful with a motion to dismiss, I think I would be eager to present both necessity and insanity defenses to the jury.  Especially if our defense team is going to have the burden of proof on these matters, I am fearful that an Oliwood jury will not be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that I was justified in murdering Richard O'Parker without fairly selecting lots on the lifeboat.  But I do think we may be able to convince a jury that my criminal behavior was excusable because of my temporary insanity driven by extreme hunger and thirst and exposure.

But perhaps I do not fully understand how all this will work at trial, and I would be grateful for more information (or further feedback) through the comments here or in some other form of communication.

November 5, 2008 | Permalink

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Comments

In US v. Holmes the court held, “When the ship is in no danger of sinking, but all sustenance is exhausted, and a sacrifice of one person is necessary to appease the hunger of others, the selection is by lot. This mode is resorted to as the fairest mode…” I think that the defense could argue for Dudley that his original attempt was to provide the fairest mode of selection in suggesting the drawing of lots, however the refusal on the part of Brooks and the “coma” state of Parker, made such a form of selection impossible. Dudley then went forth and attempted to decide in the next fairest way. He determined that Parker was the weakest, likely to perish in the near future, and was the only person without family. Therefore, the defense could argue that without the availability of drawing lots, Dudley was justified in acting on the next fairest option available.

Posted by: Jessica Rodek | Nov 5, 2008 4:14:33 PM

The book says that, according to the Supreme Court, due process requires the prosecution to prove the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, but not defenses of justification or excuse. However, it also says that most jurisdictions place the burden of proof for justification on the prosecution. The rationale is that unless the prosecution proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant committed the crime without justification, it has not proven that the defendant has done anything wrong. So, depending on the standard followed in Oliwood, the defense may not have the burden of proving these defenses if raised as justifications. In 82 CLMLR 199, Robinson says that if a burden is assigned to a defendant, usually he/she only has to prove his/her claim by a preponderance of the evidence rather than beyond a reasonable doubt.

Posted by: Diana Silveira | Nov 5, 2008 11:11:24 PM

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