The Supreme Court Of Virginia

Better Essays

In any legal system, there is a notion that the chief end to be achieved is justice. Clearly no one would advocate for an unjust legal system, but what if the clear distinction between just and unjust is not so clear? What if there are diametrically opposed moral principles supporting competing arguments? On three occasions, the Supreme Court of Virginia has declined ruling on whether the relationship with an assailant 's wife deprives a defendant of the right to self-defense. The Supreme Court of Virginia should deny a defendant the right to claim self-defense when the following elements are present: (1) the defendant is charged with murder, (2) the defendant was in the act of sexual intimacy with the victim’s spouse, (3) the victim was …show more content…

It is in the public’s interest to maintain a predictable standard of acceptable behavior. Without such a standard, society will fall into chaos. There are two traditional, primary means for integrating moral reasoning into the analysis of criminal law. The first is requiring a defendant to have a culpable mental state for most crimes. The second is the doctrine of affirmative defenses. There are two types of Affirmative defenses: justifications and excuses. In effect, if a defendant can establish a defense, the defendant should be acquitted because society believes he took the right or at least a tolerable action. Excuses, invoke the notion that while what the defendant did was not justified, the defendant “should not be held accountable for his wrongdoing because he is not to blame for it.” Despite the fact that the criminal law is essentially a moral enterprise, the legally-trained actors in the criminal justice system rarely explicitly examine exactly what moral principles the system is enforcing. One reason for the absence of moral analysis is that most lawyers are not trained in moral philosophy. Generally, legal education has never seriously attempted to incorporate moral principles into instruction.” Another explanation for the absence in moral reasoning in the criminal law is that there is no need for any deep moral debate concerning the right or wrong of

Get Access