Criminal Law and Philosophy (2008) (forthcoming)


In this article, I confront Garvey¡¯s argument that a weak-willed individual deserves partial excuse for trying to resist a strong desire that pushes him toward commission of a criminal act even though in the end he unreasonably abandons his resistance and commits the crime.

I attempt to refute Garvey¡¯s argument on two counts: one, I question whether the law should indeed provide mitigation to such an offender; and two, I argue that, even if it should, this mitigation may not come in the form of a partial defense. Defenses, even partial, are desert based, and there is nothing in Garvey¡¯s offender¡¯s circumstances that makes him less blameworthy for the crime he committed. A court may choose to treat such an offender more leniently but it should not be mandated to do so.


Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure

Date of this Version

September 2008