Section I provides a brief overview of the significance of group status generally and its traditional relevance and usage within the criminal justice system. This discussion places the novel, defense-oriented approach to group status in a proper historical and analytical context. Section II begins by sketching a generally accepted system of defenses and placing general defenses within this context. It next describes the proper understanding of justification and excuse, the two preeminent theories for exculpatory general defenses. This complicated and often-contentious area of law is exposited here only insofar as it is necessary to lay the groundwork for the critique of the group-status approaches reviewed later in the article. Section III critically examines three variants of group-status defensive theory. This examination involves specifying the parameters and variations of selected "defenses" by deconstructing and synthesizing scholarship, case authority, and, to a lesser extent, criminal statutes. This analysis is necessary given the novelty, fluidity, and lack of consensus regarding the proposed defense theories.

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