Voluntaryvs. Involuntary Manslaughter
Voluntaryvs. Involuntary Manslaughter
Ahomicide that involves a human being killing another without having aprior premeditation to commit the crime is referred to asmanslaughter. In such a case, the defendant does not intend to murderthe victim. It is an overarching type of homicide with other subtypesin which most of the times the judge has to examine the case todetermine the kind of manslaughter committed. The major categoriesare voluntary, involuntary, and vehicular (Pollock,2012).Vehicular manslaughter is not recognized in some regions. Thus, casesthat would otherwise have fallen under this category are classifiedas either voluntary or involuntary depending on the circumstances.
Voluntarymanslaughter occurs when a person intentionally and wittingly killsanother without any substantial justification but was propelled to doso by deep passion triggered by overwhelming provocation. If nomalice can be found in the circumstances surrounding the case, itsweight is lessened from murder to manslaughter. Nevertheless,adequate provocation must be sufficiently proven, as well as thepassion that drove the killing. Voluntary manslaughter attracts asevere sentence. On the other hand, manslaughter is involuntary if itis apparently unintentional. In most cases, involuntary manslaughtercases lead to sentences of less than one year (Pollock,2012).
Severalprovocations can be regarded as adequate under voluntarymanslaughter. For example, the defendant may have caught theirpartner is an act of adultery and provoked by the heat of passion forcommitting the crime (Pollock,2012). Another example is when the victim had killed a victim to thedefendant under circumstances that provoked the defendantpassionately. A third case where adequate provocation can occur iswhen a defendant ends up killing a person who deliberately punchedthem in the face, leading to fatal injuries. An example of aninadequate provocation can be a case where the victim fires thedefendant from his current job.
Theyare laws that aim to limit the defendant’s freedom ofcross-examining the past sexual life of the victim in a bid to usethe information as proof of innocence. The laws also control thepublication of the true identities of victims of alleged rape cases.The main reason why these laws are applied is to ensure that victimsare protected from shame and emotional torture of having to revealtheir past sexual life on the court stand. It has been establishedthat the victim`s private sexual life does not have any relationshipwith a rape case, in any case, such a questioning can only lead tohumiliation of victims and might lower the number of reported rapecases (Pollock,2012).
Thecomponents of rape shield laws are structured in a way that strivesto be fair both to the defendant and the victim. First, victims areshielded from having to provide information that would be used toreveal their reputation. In such a case, a witness is prohibited fromtestifying about the victim’s morals. Second, any past sexualbehavior whose circumstances are not directly linked to the presentcase cannot be brought up as evidence. For instance, the law does notallow witnesses to talk about the number of sexual partners thevictim has had in the past as defense for rape (Pollock,2012). Some evidence is, nonetheless, permissible. For example, thedefendant is allowed to table evidence about past physical injuriesthat the victim might have had before the alleged case took place.Further, any evidence that proves that the victim’s diseases,pregnancies, or injuries were not caused by the defendant can bebrought to the table. Requirements of the due process might also leadto the revelation of what might be termed as humiliating personalinformation.
Pollock,J. Criminal Law(10 ed. 2012).