CRIMINAL LAW NEWSLETTERS

Criminal Liability Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act

Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) a superfund was created which provides funds for the clean up of pre-existent hazardous waste sites. Although most of the litigation under CERCLA is civil in nature, criminal charges under CERCLA do exist. The potential criminal charges concern the reporting requirements for releases of hazardous substances.

Extradition

Extradition is the process by which an individual is delivered from state or nation where he is located, to the requesting state or nation in order to face prosecution or to serve a sentence. The participants in an extradition proceeding are either the two nations or two states and the individual.

HUNG JURY

A jury is required to render a unanimous verdict in a criminal trial. If the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury is considered to be a hung jury. A trial court must declare a mistrial in the event of a hung jury.

JUSTIFICATION AS A DEFENSE

A justification means that a defendant is seeking to avoid liability for a criminal offense by showing the circumstances that justified the defendant's actions. A justification is not a true defense. When asserting a justification, the defendant generally admits that he or she committed the offense but claims that his or her conduct was justified under the facts and circumstances.

Opening Statements during a Criminal Trial

In a criminal proceeding each side has the opportunity to present an opening statement to the judge or jury. The prosecution presents its opening statement first and then the defendant presents his opening statement. In some states, the trial judge permits the defendant to defer giving his opening statement until the close of the prosecution's case. If there are multiple defendants being tried in one case, each attorney may give an opening statement for each defendant.