Sunday, June 2, 2013

Manslaughter vs. Murder

Posted on Behalf of Attorney Ross Goodman for Criminal Defense

Back in the 7th century, an Athenian lawmaker named Draco made the very first distinction between murder and manslaughter for the Ancient Greece. Ancient Greece before lived in a time where the privileged were the only ones allowed to create rules. Athenians then elected him to the first legislator and he replaced, during his time, the oral laws and turned them into written laws for all the public to see.

In one of the laws that he codified, Draco sorted out homicide by a concept of “intentional murder,” which means that a murder could be manslaughter whether if it is intentional or not.
Centuries after the very first law devised by the Ancient Grecians, modern day man had now created a clear distinction between the two.
Regardless of which is which, murder and manslaughter are two different offences that are extremely punishable by the law; both of which also constitutes the homicide offence. Though both murder and manslaughter involve unlawful killing, they are referred very differently from one another especially in some states—where the latter is often referred as third-degree murder.

                Manslaughter is generally the term used to coin a homicide that happened without any kind of malice. The absence of malice makes the crime more serious than murder but is less punished than murder.

I.    Voluntary Manslaughter
Voluntary manslaughter usually happens when the perpetrator of the crime was provoked by the victim. The said provocation caused a heated argument (finger pointing and/or bad mouthing) that eventually led to the death of the victim. And since the perpetrator was provoked blaming the emotional context of the situation, he/she had lost his ability to behave accordingly, thus morally blameless to the act.

II.   Involuntary Manslaughter
Involuntary manslaughter happens when a person disregards the risk towards another person leading to his/her death. Since it is purposeless, voluntary manslaughter is regarded heavier than the involuntary manslaughter.

With the exception of the voluntary manslaughter, a murder can take place if:

1.     The perpetrator of the crime is sane;
2.     The perpetrator of the crime has the intention to kill or harm someone;
3.     The perpetrator of the crime is known to have a reasonable mind even before the crime happened.

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