• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every person's position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

"Crime of Passion" as a legal defense?

Is "Crime of Passion" legit as a legal defense?


  • Total voters
    8

radcen

Phonetic Mnemonic ©
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 3, 2011
Messages
34,817
Reaction score
18,574
Location
Look to your right... I'm that guy.
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Centrist
A local high-profile murder case is wrapping up, and the attorneys on both sides gave closing arguments yesterday. The defense pointed out in their closing argument that it was a "crime of passion". I don't think they were suggesting the defendant should be acquitted because of that*, but I think were probably seeking a lesser sentence.

In general, what is your opinion of "crime of passion" as a legal defense and/or its use in a courtroom and trial?

Me: It means absolutely nothing to me. Zero. If I were on a jury, I would dismiss it the moment they said it. It would not be a factor one way or another in my decision. I am aware that there is a long and established history of it being used as a defense, but I simply don't buy into that reasoning. At that level I believe you are responsible for your actions. Grow up, be an adult, and control yourself.

*- The defendant and defense never denied killing the other person, but they have maintained "diminished capacity" and "crime of passion" throughout the case.
 

OrphanSlug

A sinister place...
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
27,023
Reaction score
23,785
Location
Atlanta
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
I lean towards "no." We have way too many, too commonly used, and seemingly accepted defenses for one's actions trying to obtain a lesser punishment for whatever crime.
 

Crovax

DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 15, 2014
Messages
15,228
Reaction score
8,540
Location
South Texas
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
A local high-profile murder case is wrapping up, and the attorneys on both sides gave closing arguments yesterday. The defense pointed out in their closing argument that it was a "crime of passion". I don't think they were suggesting the defendant should be acquitted because of that*, but I think were probably seeking a lesser sentence.

In general, what is your opinion of "crime of passion" as a legal defense and/or its use in a courtroom and trial?

Me: It means absolutely nothing to me. Zero. If I were on a jury, I would dismiss it the moment they said it. It would not be a factor one way or another in my decision. I am aware that there is a long and established history of it being used as a defense, but I simply don't buy into that reasoning. At that level I believe you are responsible for your actions. Grow up, be an adult, and control yourself.

*- The defendant and defense never denied killing the other person, but they have maintained "diminished capacity" and "crime of passion" throughout the case.

So if your neglect actions cause a death you should get the same punishment as premeditated murder?

Obviously circumstances are a factor in charging and sentencing and "crime of passion" is certainly something to consider.
 

Thoreau72

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
29,638
Reaction score
7,637
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
I think it is a matter for the jury to decide on a case by case basis.

IMO, a battered woman who eventually kills her assailant in a fit of anger and self defense has done the right thing.

I attended a trial about 3 years ago, in which a young man, about 15, killed both his parents on a Sunday morning with a pistol. He left the house, walked down a dirt road to a main highway and flagged down the first police officer he encountered, and tearfully spilled his guts to the cop.

The reason he killed his parents was that he had been sodomized by his cruel father from a young age. He had asked his mother to intervene, but she refused. He told the truth on the stand, and the jury was moved.

Sadly, the judge would not allow the jury to hear certain very strong corroborating testimony from a related adult regarding the assailant father, and with great anxiety the jury convicted.
 

radcen

Phonetic Mnemonic ©
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 3, 2011
Messages
34,817
Reaction score
18,574
Location
Look to your right... I'm that guy.
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Centrist
So if your neglect actions cause a death you should get the same punishment as premeditated murder?

Obviously circumstances are a factor in charging and sentencing and "crime of passion" is certainly something to consider.
What do you mean by "neglect actions"?
 

radcen

Phonetic Mnemonic ©
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 3, 2011
Messages
34,817
Reaction score
18,574
Location
Look to your right... I'm that guy.
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Centrist
I think it is a matter for the jury to decide on a case by case basis.

IMO, a battered woman who eventually kills her assailant in a fit of anger and self defense has done the right thing.

I attended a trial about 3 years ago, in which a young man, about 15, killed both his parents on a Sunday morning with a pistol. He left the house, walked down a dirt road to a main highway and flagged down the first police officer he encountered, and tearfully spilled his guts to the cop.

The reason he killed his parents was that he had been sodomized by his cruel father from a young age. He had asked his mother to intervene, but she refused. He told the truth on the stand, and the jury was moved.
That's not the same thing, IMO. That's literal self-defense, even if it was after-the-fact.

I don't mean to imply that there is never ever a reason to kill someone. But, I do have little-to-no sympathy for what I see as 'hurt feelings' as being a motivator.


Sadly, the judge would not allow the jury to hear certain very strong corroborating testimony from a related adult regarding the assailant father, and with great anxiety the jury convicted.
That's why I am not automatically opposed to jury members seeking outside information, as discussed in this current thread. I have read too many instances where a judge would not allow what I would consider relevant testimony. I have also read many times where a juror has learned something afterward and said publicly, "If I had known that I never would have voted to convict." I believe that many judges "withhold evidence" precisely to steer the outcome to a guilty verdict.
 

Thoreau72

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
29,638
Reaction score
7,637
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
That's not the same thing, IMO. That's literal self-defense, even if it was after-the-fact.

I don't mean to imply that there is never ever a reason to kill someone. But, I do have little-to-no sympathy for what I see as 'hurt feelings' as being a motivator.



That's why I am not automatically opposed to jury members seeking outside information, as discussed in this current thread. I have read too many instances where a judge would not allow what I would consider relevant testimony. I have also read many times where a juror has learned something afterward and said publicly, "If I had known that I never would have voted to convict." I believe that many judges "withhold evidence" precisely to steer the outcome to a guilty verdict.

For me, the most egregious case of keeping the jury in the dark, aside from that horrible trial I sat in on 3 years ago, was the Branch Davidian trial in Waco.

I think it was Connie Chung who interviewed several of the jurors, and they were ashamed and in tears over what had happened. They too would have acquitted if only they knew the whole truth.
 

HonestJoe

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 7, 2011
Messages
5,904
Reaction score
3,063
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
I don’t think “Crime of Passion” really means anything specifically but it will commonly be used to refer to sets of circumstances that could indeed be legitimate mitigation (rather than defence) in some cases.
 

Crovax

DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 15, 2014
Messages
15,228
Reaction score
8,540
Location
South Texas
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
What do you mean by "neglect actions"?

failure to exercise the care toward others which a reasonable or prudent person would do in the circumstances, or taking action which such a reasonable person would not
 

iacardsfan

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 17, 2011
Messages
1,981
Reaction score
806
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Libertarian
My fear is that people will begin to abuse such a precedent. Just as now we have an abuse of the insanity defense by defense attorneys, it would be the same thing. Most crimes I would argue, are a crime of passion, it just depends on what the passion is for.
 

Kal'Stang

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
Messages
42,744
Reaction score
22,569
Location
Bonners Ferry ID USA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
A local high-profile murder case is wrapping up, and the attorneys on both sides gave closing arguments yesterday. The defense pointed out in their closing argument that it was a "crime of passion". I don't think they were suggesting the defendant should be acquitted because of that*, but I think were probably seeking a lesser sentence.

In general, what is your opinion of "crime of passion" as a legal defense and/or its use in a courtroom and trial?

Me: It means absolutely nothing to me. Zero. If I were on a jury, I would dismiss it the moment they said it. It would not be a factor one way or another in my decision. I am aware that there is a long and established history of it being used as a defense, but I simply don't buy into that reasoning. At that level I believe you are responsible for your actions. Grow up, be an adult, and control yourself.

*- The defendant and defense never denied killing the other person, but they have maintained "diminished capacity" and "crime of passion" throughout the case.

I think in the end it should be based on a case by case basis.

If someone kills their boyfriend/girlfriend because you caught them in bed cheating on you then "crime of passion" has no hold on me. If however a wife/husband has taken years and years of mental and/or physical abuse and finally snapped and killed their husband/wife it most definitely should be considered. In fact I would prolly choose to not convict period, law be damned.
 

Paleocon

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 21, 2013
Messages
13,309
Reaction score
1,307
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Conservative
A local high-profile murder case is wrapping up, and the attorneys on both sides gave closing arguments yesterday. The defense pointed out in their closing argument that it was a "crime of passion". I don't think they were suggesting the defendant should be acquitted because of that*, but I think were probably seeking a lesser sentence.

In general, what is your opinion of "crime of passion" as a legal defense and/or its use in a courtroom and trial?

Me: It means absolutely nothing to me. Zero. If I were on a jury, I would dismiss it the moment they said it. It would not be a factor one way or another in my decision. I am aware that there is a long and established history of it being used as a defense, but I simply don't buy into that reasoning. At that level I believe you are responsible for your actions. Grow up, be an adult, and control yourself.

*- The defendant and defense never denied killing the other person, but they have maintained "diminished capacity" and "crime of passion" throughout the case.

It is reasonably established by law and precedent that a person who believes himself to be in a situation where the victim has engaged in conduct of such an egregious in nature that it would place a reasonable person in extreme emotional distress, then he is guilty only of manslaughter, because the act is judged to lack the malice present in murder.

A few notes:

This isn't based on the actual state of mind of the defendant, only on the state of mind of a reasonable person who was in the situation the defendant believed himself to be in. The defendant's beliefs about the factual situation do not have to be reasonable for the mitigation to apply, however. IOW, an unreasonable belief of fact still suffices, but an unreasonable reaction to the perceived circumstances does not.

Because a reasonable person would cool down after time passed, the mitigation only applies if the killing occurred immediately after the victim's conduct, or at least immediately after the defendant discovered it. Note by the way that the test isn't whether a reasonable person would commit the crime (since a reasonable person by definition would never commit a crime), but whether a reasonable person would be placed in great distress.

The mitigation is only available if the defendant believed that the conduct was committed by the victim, retaliation against third parties is not subject to such a mitigation.
 

radcen

Phonetic Mnemonic ©
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 3, 2011
Messages
34,817
Reaction score
18,574
Location
Look to your right... I'm that guy.
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Centrist
I think in the end it should be based on a case by case basis.

If someone kills their boyfriend/girlfriend because you caught them in bed cheating on you then "crime of passion" has no hold on me. If however a wife/husband has taken years and years of mental and/or physical abuse and finally snapped and killed their husband/wife it most definitely should be considered. In fact I would prolly choose to not convict period, law be damned.
My thinking may or may not jive with law, but your first scenario where a person kills their bf/gf after walking in on someone cheating IS a "crime of passion". And like you, that has no sway over me.

Your other scenario regarding long term abuse is NOT a "crime of passion", but rather a form of self-defense, even if done at a later date. As such, I would not be inclined to vote to convict if I were on a jury.
 
Top Bottom