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According to the Model Penal Code, “in a prosecution for an offense, justification … is a defense.” Keep in mind that a major difference between justifications and excuses is that under circumstances where a justification defense can be raised, the otherwise criminal actions of the defendant are often seen as socially desirable as opposed to criminal. A claim of a justified violation of the criminal law should be distinguished from the assertion that prohibited and unjustified conduct is excused by virtue of circumstances personal to the accused (as is the case with excuse defenses).
Modification History File Created: 07/13/2018 Last Modified: 05/03/2021
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