Prima Facie Case for Murder - Paper Example

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Middlebury College
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Case study
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The phrase incent until proven guilty is commonplace and it is the primary principle of criminal law that refers to the burden of proof. Therefore, the burden of evidence is the role of a particular party in a case to assure the jury or judge that what they are presenting before the court is nothing but the truth. It is not the duty of the perpetrators to prove their innocence as the burden of proof rest solely the prosecution (Knopf, 2017). The charge of truth carries much weight in criminal cases as compared to civil cases just because the respondent frequently face jail terms as well as loss of a lot of civil rights.

Usually, when the proof of the prosecution is resisted against by the defendant with enough evidence, then the persecution is called upon to disapprove the burden. Should the raised defense be affirmative (entrapment, self-defense, duress and so on), the defendant is burdened to give supporting evidence. An affirmative defense is that which does not go against the facts brought forth by the prosecution, but that which excuse conduct which may be regarded as unlawful. The burden of continuing with the case varies from one jurisdiction to another. For instance, in New York, the offender is expected to prove an affirmative defense by a multitude of facts in comparison to Massachusetts, where immediately the respondent adequately raise an affirmative defense, the prosecution goes ahead to disapprove it entirely.

Explanation of Prima Facie

The phrase prima facie, in a comprehensible language, is used to referrer to apparent nature of something just in the first observation. The term is used in legal matters to explain two things: one of the things is the demonstration of enough evidence by civil claimants to back up the fair statement (prima facie case). The second thing is a piece of evidence itself (called prima facie substantiation).

The petitioner, in most of the civil claims, must submit a prima facie case sidestep dismissal of the trial or a verdict that may not favor him (Knopf, 2017). The complainant is also expected to give enough evidence on all of the claim elements to provision the claim and direct the burden of proof to the respondent. In an event where the petitioner becomes unable to make a prima facie case, the accused moves for dismissal or a directed verdict that is favorable with no presentation of evidence to disprove any of the evidence the petitioner has brought forth. This is so because the burden of convincing the jury or just always rest solely to the petitioner.

Suppose that the litigant sues the employer for failing to promote her regarding her sex, the petitioner must table affirmative evidence indicating that the employer applied unlawful, discriminatory principles in coming up with employment decisions that concerned the petitioner. The employer and the defendant lack the burden to table evidence up to the time the petitioner makes a prima facie case of gender discrimination (Sweeney, 2017). The precise amounts of evidence constituting the prima facie case vary from one claim to the other. Should the petitioner fail to table a prima facie case with enough evidence, the judge may terminate the litigation. In fact, the situation is being listened to by the jury; the judge directs the panel to give back the verdict to the petitioner.

Explanation of Applicable Code the Prosecution Was Brought Under

The applicable code the prosecution was brought under was influenced by the burden of proof under which the petitioners were not in a position to pursue the judge that the accounts of facts were through. For instance, there were different contradictions in the availed evidence.

Reasons Why Cartel Trial Was So Pivotal To the Prosecution of Crimes in the United States

The Cartel trial was significant because when the closing argument took off in the case of Cartel, the probationary had broken the record beforehand that had been recorded by Charles Manson case as the long-lived hearing in Massachusetts history (Sweeney, 2017). Cartel case also put forward the diversion of racial attitudes on matters like the law execution that has lived up to today in America. Cartel case also shed light on violent domestic issues, laying a foundation of crucial lessons on how not to engage a criminal hearing and too played a pivotal role in the reduction of utilization of cameras in the courtroom.

II Opening Statements

Based on the opening statements, the most convincing attorney was Joseph Cataldo compared to Cory Madera. Cataldo argued that the death of Conrad Roy III was more of suicide and not the homicide and that there was no reason to charge Cartel with anything. Cory Madera, on the other hand, did not argue in line with the case as he remarked that Roy might have died out of suffocation and not because Cartel sent her texts to encourage his death. It is obvious, therefore, from the opening statements that Joseph Cataldo presented significant facts to the jury for him to observe and pass judgment.

Establishing/Challenging a Prima Facie Case for Murder

The text messages sent by Cartel to Roy III moments before his death were among the critical evidence that aided in the establishment of a prima facie case for the vindication. From the evidence, Cartel text messages tell a lot that she encouraged Roy to get back to the car and hence she indeed played a significant role in the said death given that Roy died after returning to the vehicle by inhaling carbon monoxide (Bougouin et al., 2017). Text messages, as well as social media communication, are most crucial evidence in the hearing of Cartel, who was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the suicide of Roy.

According to the prosecutors, the 17-year-old Cartel influenced Roy to kill himself via a stream of text messages. Prosecutors also said that Cartel told Conrad to go back in his truck when he was frightened of taking his life using a poisonous gas. The lawyer defending Cartel maintained that Conrad Roy had in the previous year attempted suicide and made up his mind to kill himself. The text messages of Cartel helped in building the case prosecution as from event explanations; it was easier to establish that Cartel was responsible for the murder of Roy III.

IV Evidence

Other Evidence That Was Significant In Establishing/Challenging the Prima Facie of the Murder

Other evidence significant in establishing the prima facie of murder was by Dr. Peter Breggin testifying on Monday that Cartel using Celexa, which is an antidepressant that targets the frontal lobe of the brain, the part of the brain that controls empathy and decision making (Bougouin et al., 2017). Dr. Peter too pointed to text messages and social media conversation as signals of personal struggle which Cartel was hiding from the elderly in her life. In the midst of Cartel continued trial, various pieces of evidence were released for everyone to view immediately she was admitted in the courtroom. A lot of the evidence incorporated main exchanges of messages.

V Closing Arguments

Joseph Cataldo was more persuasive in that despite criticizing the case that is self-made suicide; he took the judge through different evidence of the prosecution such as the idea of Roy having attempted to kill himself before the real death compared to Cory Madera who made general statements. The being thereof text and social media evidence would influence the judgment of the judge as far as murder case is concerned.

VII Concluding Thoughts

As a budding criminal justice scholar, this case is crucial to the study of criminal justice as well as well as illegal prosecution for the facts of the limitations that were tabled in the countersigns and evidence proofs. This is so because it was a controversial decision that left many asking how an individual may become guilty of the death of another person. An affirmative defense is that which does not go against the facts brought forth by the prosecution, but that which excuse conduct which may be regarded as unlawful (Ready, 2017). The burden of continuing with the case varies from one jurisdiction to another. The case is also crucial in the study of criminal justice based on the fact that errors have changed and use of communication medium such as phone texts may influence one to take their life.


Bougouin, W., Marijon, E., Planquette, B., Karam, N., Dumas, F., Celermajer, D., ... & Meyer, G. (2017, January). Proceedings of Reanimation 2017, the French Intensive Care Society International Congress. In Annals of intensive care (Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 1-104). Springer Paris.

Ready, B. (2017). Words as Weapons: Electronic Communications That Result in Suicide and the Uncomfortable Truth with Criminal Culpability Based on Words Alone. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev., 36, 113.

Knopf, A. (2017). Suicidetexting verdict and protecting your child. The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter, 33(S8), 1-2.

Sweeney, S. (2017). Deadly Speech: Encouraging Suicide and Problematic Prosecutions. Case W. Res., 67, 941-979.


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