The Unequal Treatment of Cultural Defense Defendants

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Criminal law assumes that the judge and jury share the same cultural and experiential framework as the defendant; accordingly, crimes are defined with this assumption as an underlying premise. In this article, I will explain how the determination of mens rea often fails to reflect culpability because the definition of crimes fail to account for the cultural dissonance that often exists between the judge/juror and the accused. In this Article, I propose an analysis and reconceptualization of intent that bridges gaps in perception and understanding attributable to cultural dissonance.

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