Ostrich Defense Law & Legal Definition


Ostrich defense is a criminal defendant's claim of being ignorant of the criminal activities of an associate, which normally the defendant would be expected to be aware of. The defendants seeking this defense claim that all wrongdoing was performed by others, without his/her knowledge or consent. This defense is so named because of the tendency of ostriches to put their heads in the sand in the event of danger. The flip side of the ostrich defense is that it creates a potential issue on appeal for the defendants. However, the ostrich defense is not reported as a successful defense in American jurism to date. This term is also known as dumb CEO defense, dummy defense, idiot defense, or Sergeant Schultz defense.