Law: California Penal Code

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Law: California Penal Code

Criminal Responsibility

All individuals are equal in the eyes of the law, and the law does not apply selectively when it comes to punishing the criminals for any kind of crime committed. A criminal is held accountable for his or her action regardless of the mental status or any kind of physical, social or emotional barrier that may seem to derail punishment. For example, in California Penal Codes Section 25a quotes: “In a criminal action, as well as any juvenile court proceeding, evidence concerning an accused person's intoxication, trauma, mental illness, disease, or defect shall not be admissible to show or negate capacity to form the particular purpose, intent, motive, malice aforethought, knowledge, or other mental state required for the commission of the crime charged.” Turvey (2008) notes that any inability to stand a trial can be equated to insanity and when this is not the problem, then the defendant has a liability to respond to any query in the court. 
Self-defense is another issue that dominates the questions in the court, and specifically, as to whether a person is allowed to use self-defense as his or her main argument in the court. In essence, the law provides for self-defense as admissible form of argument in the court and as California Penal Code Section 147 notes, any person who kills or commits a crime of similar magnitude is liable for punishment unless he or she was doing so in the category of self-defense. However, the law does not apply selectively when it comes to mistaken self-defense and mostly for the officers on duty. An officer should always act cautiously when drawing a weapon and should actually not use it when it is not necessary. If he or she does so, and the court finds that the crime is mistaken self-defense, then, punishment is justifiable.
Health disclosure in law
Personal health may not be a subject to discussion with another person. However, if this is to affect another person either directly or indirectly, then, it is ethical that there be disclosure. Any Sexually Transmitted Disease like HIV and Aids is dangerous, and if it is not disclosed to a close partner, then, the person is viable for punishment under the ethical provisions. California Penal Code Section 12022.85 provides for a three-year term if a person is convicted of rape, and this includes the statutory and the spousal rape. Even though the law is entirely silent on informing the partners, it is clear that it falls under the ethical requirements, which to some extent can be put under the criminal provisions. Generally, it then implies that if the person had informed the partners of his or her health status before having sex, then, the person may not be prosecuted for their deaths, as there was prior consent. 
Knox (2009) is categorical that if one does not disclose the problem to his or her partner, then, he or she is liable for a serious ethical violation, and by the interpretation of the above-mentioned California Penal Code, then, it falls under the criminal provisions. Actually, Knox (2009, pp 121) continues to quote that, “But there are also legal reasons for disclosing one’s sexual health condition to a partner. If you have an STI and you do not tell your partner, you may be liable for damages if you transmit it to your partner.” Perhaps, this would mean differently if the issue of having sex is protected, even though, the ethical and moral obligation is that he or she should disclose. Lying about the condition would make it more serious, especially if he or she is asked by the partner and then lies about it. This puts the person under serious criminal violation and the death of the partner may have the blame put on him. 


Knox, D. (2009). Choices in relationships: An introduction to marriage and the family. Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Turvey, B. (2008). Criminal profiling: An introduction to behavioral evidence analysis. California: Academic Press.




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