There have been many defenses used to try to persuade the jury to a verdict of not guilty. They include: gay panic defense, urban psychosis, battered woman, sleepwalking, and postpartum. The validity of these defenses is not always very great and the application is not always very wise.
The gay panic defense was used in the trial of Matthew Sheppard. One of his alleged murderers said that after Matthew Sheppard sexually advanced him, it brought out of him repressed memories of homosexual sexual abuse in his childhood, which drove him to kill Matthew Sheppard. As a defense this is not a legitimate one because the intention of killing was still present. Whether it be incited by bad memories or whether it is out of pure anger, then intention of murder was still there. Applied to the Sheppard case, there is no question that it is a useless one. The murderer was the party that accosted Sheppard, and after they knocked him unconscious, they drove him a long ways away, tied him to a post and then beat him to death. The intention and the planning were both there no matter what defense was used.
Urban psychosis is another illegitimate defense. The idea that a person can be excluded from a crime because of his upbringing is ridiculous. The fact that an individual was brought up in a urban setting filled with violence does not excuse the defendant from a crime. Mens Rea dictates that act and intent are both necessary in order for a crime to take place. A supposed defendant and victim of urban psychosis still has both act and intent. Although it becomes more unclear whether the individual can or cannot distinguish between right and wrong, the fact remains that the defendant still had every intention of killing someone.
The use of battered woman defense is a very reasonable one. The fact is that battered woman is based on the idea that these women killed their husbands because they themselves have been victims of domestic abuse or physica...