Manslaughter is a common law legal term for homicide considered by law as less culpable than murder. The distinction between murder and manslaughter is sometimes said to have first been made by the ancient Athenian lawmaker Draco in the 7th century BC.
The definition of manslaughter differs among legal jurisdictions.
In voluntary manslaughter, the offender had intent to kill or seriously harm, but acted "in the moment" under circumstances that could cause a reasonable person to become emotionally or mentally disturbed. Examples could include a defender killing a home invader without being placed in a life or death situation. There are mitigating circumstances that reduce culpability, such as when the defendant kills only with an intent to cause serious bodily harm. Voluntary manslaughter in some jurisdictions is a lesser included offense of murder. The traditional mitigating factor was provocation; however, others have been added in various jurisdictions.
The most common type of voluntary manslaughter occurs when a defendant is provoked to commit homicide. This is sometimes described as a crime of passion. In most cases, the provocation must induce rage or anger in the defendant, although some cases have held that fright, terror, or desperation will suffice.
Assisted suicide is suicide committed with the aid of another person, sometimes a physician.
In some places, including parts of the United States, assisted suicide is punishable as manslaughter. In other countries such as Switzerland and Canada, and in some U.S. states, as long as legal safeguards are observed, assisted suicide is legal.
Involuntary manslaughter is the homicide of a human being without intent of doing so, either expressed or implied. It is distinguished from voluntary manslaughter by the absence of intention. It is normally divided into two categories, constructive manslaughter and criminally negligent manslaughter, both of which involve criminal liability.
Constructive manslaughter is also referred to as "unlawful act" manslaughter. It is based on the doctrine of constructive malice, whereby the malicious intent inherent in the commission of a crime is considered to apply to the consequences of that crime. It occurs when someone kills, without intent, in the course of committing an unlawful act. The malice involved in the crime is transferred to the killing, resulting in a charge of manslaughter.
For example, a person who fails to stop at a red traffic light while driving a vehicle and hits someone crossing the street could be found to intend or be reckless as to assault or criminal damage (see DPP v Newbury). There is no intent to kill, and a resulting death would not be considered murder, but would be considered involuntary manslaughter. The accused's responsibility for causing death is constructed from the fault in committing what might have been a minor criminal act. Reckless driving or reckless handling of a potentially lethal weapon may result in a death that is deemed manslaughter.
Involuntary manslaughter may be distinguished from accidental death. A person who is driving carefully, but whose car nevertheless hits a child darting out into the street, has not committed manslaughter. A person who pushes off an aggressive drunk, who then falls and dies, has probably not committed manslaughter, although in some jurisdictions it may depend whether "excessive force" was used or other factors.
As manslaughter is not defined by legislation in Australia, common law decisions provide the basis for determining whether an act resulting in death amounts to manslaughter by unlawful and dangerous act. To be found guilty of manslaughter by an unlawful and dangerous act, the accused must be shown to have committed an unlawful act which is contrary to the criminal law, and that a reasonable person in the position of the accused would have known that by their act, they were exposing the victim to an ‘appreciable risk of serious injury’.
Criminally negligent manslaughter is variously referred to as criminally negligent homicide in the United States, and gross negligence manslaughter in England and Wales. In Scotland and some Commonwealth of Nations jurisdictions the offence of culpable homicide might apply.
It occurs where death results from serious negligence, or, in some jurisdictions, serious recklessness. A high degree of negligence is required to warrant criminal liability. A related concept is that of willful blindness, which is where a defendant intentionally puts themself in a position where the defendant will be unaware of facts which would render them liable.
Criminally negligent manslaughter occurs where there is an omission to act when there is a duty to do so, or a failure to perform a duty owed, which leads to a death. The existence of the duty is essential because the law does not impose criminal liability for a failure to act unless a specific duty is owed to the victim. It is most common in the case of professionals who are grossly negligent in the course of their employment. An example is where a doctor fails to notice a patient's oxygen supply has disconnected and the patient dies (R v Adomako). Another example could be leaving a child locked in a car on a hot day.
In some jurisdictions, such as some U.S. States, there exists the specific crime of vehicular or intoxication manslaughter. An equivalent in Canada is causing death by criminal negligence under the Criminal Code, punishable by a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The definition of manslaughter differs from one jurisdiction to another.
The law generally differentiates between levels of criminal culpability based on the mens rea, or state of mind, or the circumstances under which the killing occurred (mitigating factors). Manslaughter is usually broken down into two distinct categories: voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. However, this is not the case in all jurisdictions, for example, in the U.S. state of Florida.
In some jurisdictions, such as the U.K., Canada, and some Australian states, "adequate provocation" may be a partial defense to a charge of murder, which, if accepted by the jury, would convert what might otherwise have been a murder charge into manslaughter.
In Australia, specifically New South Wales, manslaughter is referred to, however not defined, in the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
Manslaughter exists in two forms in New South Wales: Voluntary or Involuntary Manslaughter. In New South Wales, in cases of voluntary manslaughter, both the actus reus (literally guilty act) and mens rea (literally guilty mind) for murder are proven but the defendant has a partial defence, such as extreme provocation or diminished responsibility.:– In cases of involuntary manslaughter, the actus reus for murder is present but there is insufficient mens rea to establish such a charge.
There are two categories of involuntary manslaughter at common law: manslaughter by unlawful and dangerous act and manslaughter by criminal negligence. The authority for the actus reus and mens rea of involuntary manslaughter by an unlawful and dangerous act is the High Court of Australia case of Wilson v R. This case determined that the act that caused the death must breach the criminal law and that the act must carry an appreciable risk of serious injury (actus reus). Regarding the mens rea, the court held that the accused must intend to commit the unlawful act and that a reasonable person in the position of the accused would have realised or recognised that the act carried an appreciable risk of serious injury. Manslaughter by criminal negligence, on the other hand, finds its authority in the Victorian case of Nydam v R, confirmed by the High Court of Australia in R v Lavender and Burns v R. In Nydam v R, the Court described the office at  in the following terms:
In order to establish manslaughter by criminal negligence, it is sufficient if the prosecution shows that the act which caused the death was done by the accused consciously and voluntarily, without any intention of causing death or grievous bodily harm but in circumstances which involved such a great falling short of the standard of care which a reasonable man would have exercised and which involved such a high risk that death or grievous bodily harm would follow that the doing of the act merited criminal punishment.
Canadian law distinguishes between justifiable, accidental and culpable homicide. If a death is deemed a culpable homicide, it generally falls under one of four categories (first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter, and infanticide).
Canadian law defines manslaughter as "a homicide committed without the intention to cause death, although there may have been an intention to cause harm". There are two broad categories of manslaughter: unlawful act, and criminal negligence.
Unlawful act is when a person commits a crime that unintentionally results in the death of another person.
Criminal negligence is when the homicide was the result of an act that showed wanton or reckless disregard for the lives of others.
In English law, manslaughter is a less serious offence than murder. In England and Wales, the usual practice is to prefer a charge of murder, with the judge or defence able to introduce manslaughter as an option (see lesser included offence). The jury then decides whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty of either murder or manslaughter. Manslaughter may be either voluntary or involuntary, depending on whether the accused has the required mens rea for murder.
Voluntary manslaughter occurs when the defendant avails themself of the three statutory defenses described in the Homicide Act 1957 (provocation, diminished responsibility, and a suicide pact).
Involuntary manslaughter occurs when the agent has no intention (mens rea) of committing murder, but caused the death of another through recklessness or criminal negligence. The crime of involuntary manslaughter can be subdivided into two main categories: constructive manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter.
Manslaughter is a crime in the United States. Definitions can vary among jurisdictions, but the U.S. follows the general principle that manslaughter involves causing the death of another person in a manner less culpable than murder, and observes the distinction between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.
A legal distinction between intentional and unintentional homicide was introduced in Athenian law in 409 BC, when the legal code of Draco indicated that intentional homicide (hekousios phonos or phonos ek pronoias) was punishable by death. The language is ambiguous as to unintentional homicide (akousios phonos), but it may have been punishable by exile. However, academic David D Phillips says that these categories "do not correspond to the common-law categories of murder and manslaughter either in their original significance or in their present definitions", because under Athenian law intentional homicide would include both murder and voluntary manslaughter.
Anglo-Saxon law recognised particular degrees of homicide, with the worst being forsteall (killing by ambush). Murdra was a separate type of aggravated (secret) homicide under Anglo-Saxon law; William the Conqueror defined it narrowly as a fine that would be charged on a hundred following the slaying of a foreigner (originally a Norman, but intermarriage would end the distinction between Normans and English by the 13th century). By 1348, the association between murdrum and malice aforethought emerged.
"Manslaughter" as a general term for homicide was in use in medieval England by the late 1200s, during which time a distinction was forming between homicide committed in necessary self-defence (pardoned without culpability) and homicide committed by accident (pardoned but with moral blame). From 1390, homicide in necessary self-defence or by misadventure became "pardons of course", meaning that the Chancery would issue them by default. Homicide in necessary self-defence would later be acquitted, rather than pardoned. The use of "manslaughter" to cover homicides other than murder emerged by 1547, in a statute. Edward Coke confirm this distinction in The Third Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England, which remains "the authoritative starting point for any examination of the law of homicide" in the United Kingdom and other common law countries.
Corporate manslaughter is a crime in several jurisdictions, including England and Wales and Hong Kong. It enables a corporation to be punished and censured for culpable conduct that leads to a person's death. This extends beyond any compensation that might be awarded in civil litigation or any criminal prosecution of an individual (including an employee or contractor). The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 came into effect in the UK on 6 April 2008.Corporate manslaughter in English law
Corporate manslaughter is a criminal offence in English law, being an act of homicide committed by a company or organisation. In general, in English criminal law, a juristic person is in the same position as a natural person, and may be convicted for committing many offences. The Court of Appeal confirmed in one of the cases following the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster that a company can, in principle, commit manslaughter, although all defendants in that case were acquitted.Don King (boxing promoter)
Donald King (born August 20, 1931) is an American boxing promoter known for his involvement in historic boxing matchups. He has been a controversial figure, partly due to a manslaughter conviction (later pardoned), and civil cases against him.
King's career highlights include, among multiple other enterprises, promoting "The Rumble in the Jungle" and the "Thrilla in Manila". King has promoted some of the most prominent names in boxing, including Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Julio César Chávez, Ricardo Mayorga, Andrew Golota, Bernard Hopkins, Félix Trinidad, Roy Jones Jr., Azumah Nelson, Marco Antonio Barrera. Some of these boxers sued him for allegedly defrauding them. Most of the lawsuits were settled out of court.
King has been charged with killing two people in incidents 13 years apart. In 1954, King shot a man in the back after spotting him trying to rob one of King's gambling houses; this incident was ruled a justifiable homicide. In 1967, King was convicted of nonnegligent manslaughter for stomping one of his employees to death. For this, he served three years and eleven months in prison. In 1983 he was pardoned by Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes.Donté Stallworth
Donté Lamar Stallworth (born November 10, 1980) is a former American football wide receiver who played ten seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Tennessee and was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft.
Stallworth also played for the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, and Washington Redskins.Homicide
Homicide is the act of one human killing another. A homicide requires only a volitional act by another person that results in death, and thus a homicide may result from accidental, reckless, or negligent acts even if there is no intent to cause harm. Homicides can be divided into many overlapping legal categories, including murder, manslaughter, justifiable homicide, killing in war (either following the laws of war or as a war crime), euthanasia, and capital punishment, depending on the circumstances of the death. These different types of homicides are often treated very differently in human societies; some are considered crimes, while others are permitted or even ordered by the legal system.Homicide in English law
English law contains homicide offences – those acts involving the death of another person. For a crime to be considered homicide, it must take place after the victim's legally recognised birth, and before their legal death. There is also the usually uncontroversial requirement that the victim be under the "Queen's peace". The death must be causally linked to the actions of the defendant. Since the abolition of the year and a day rule, there is no maximum time period between any act being committed and the victim's death, so long as the former caused the latter.
There are two general types of homicide, murder and manslaughter. Murder requires an intention to kill or an intention to commit grievous bodily harm. If this intention is present but there are certain types of mitigating factors – loss of control, diminished responsibility, or pursuance of a suicide pact – then this is voluntary manslaughter. There are two types of involuntary manslaughter. Firstly, it may be "constructive" or "unlawful act" manslaugher, where a lesser but inherently criminal and dangerous act has caused the death. Alternatively, manslaughter may be caused by gross negligence, where the defendant has broken a duty of care over the victim, where that breach has led to the death, and is sufficiently gross as to warrant criminalisation.John Belushi
John Adam Belushi (January 24, 1949 – March 5, 1982) was an American comedian, actor, and singer who is best known for his "intense energy and raucous attitude" that he displayed as one of the seven original cast members of the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL). Throughout his career, Belushi had a close personal and artistic partnership with his fellow SNL star Dan Aykroyd, whom he met while they were both working at Chicago's The Second City comedy club.Born in Chicago to Albanian American parents, Belushi started his own successful comedy troupe with Tino Insana and Steve Beshekas, called "The West Compass Trio". Belushi performed with The Second City after Bernard Sahlins discovered him. He met Brian Doyle-Murray and Harold Ramis there and also met Aykroyd, who later become one of his close associates.
In 1975, Belushi was recommended to SNL creator/showrunner Lorne Michaels by Chevy Chase and Michael O'Donoghue, who accepted Belushi as a new cast member of the show after an audition. He developed a series of characters on the show that reached high success, including his notable performances such as Henry Kissinger and Ludwig van Beethoven. After his breakout and best-known film role as John "Bluto" Blutarsky, the lead in National Lampoon's Animal House (1978), Belushi later appeared in films such as 1941, The Blues Brothers, and Neighbors. He also pursued interests in music, creating with Aykroyd, Lou Marini, Tom Malone, Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, and Paul Shaffer, the Blues Brothers, from which the film received its name.
In his personal life, Belushi struggled with heavy drug use that affected his comedy career; he was dismissed and rehired by Michaels on several occasions due to his behavior. In 1982, Belushi died from combined drug intoxication caused by a woman who injected him with a mixture of heroin and cocaine known as a speedball. He was posthumously honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004.Klas Lund
Klas Henrik Pontus Lund (born 14 February 1968 in Lidingö, Stockholm County) is a member of the Swedish neo-Nazi group Svenska motståndsrörelsen (Swedish Resistance Movement) (SMR) now part of the wider movement known as Nordic Resistance Movement (in Swedish Nordiska Motståndsrörelsen, acronym NMR) with presence in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark.
A one-time member of Vitt Ariskt Motstånd (VAM) (in English White Aryan Resistance), Lund has previous convictions for bank robbery and manslaughter.On November 30, 1999 he was portrayed in Sweden's mainstream media as a major threat to the country's democracy, along with 61 other individuals from various neo-Nazi organizations and motorcycle gangs.Manslaughter in English law
In the English law of homicide, manslaughter is a less serious offence than murder, the differential being between levels of fault based on the mens rea (Latin for "guilty mind") or by reason of a partial defence. In England and Wales, the usual practice is to prefer a charge of murder, with the judge or defence able to introduce manslaughter as an option (see lesser included offence). The jury then decides whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty of either murder or manslaughter. On conviction for manslaughter, sentencing is at the judge's discretion, whereas a sentence of life imprisonment is mandatory on conviction for murder. Manslaughter may be either voluntary or involuntary, depending on whether the accused has the required mens rea for murder.Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification or valid excuse, especially the unlawful killing of another human with malice aforethought. This state of mind may, depending upon the jurisdiction, distinguish murder from other forms of unlawful homicide, such as manslaughter. Manslaughter is a killing committed in the absence of malice, brought about by reasonable provocation, or diminished capacity. Involuntary manslaughter, where it is recognized, is a killing that lacks all but the most attenuated guilty intent, recklessness.
Most societies consider murder to be an extremely serious crime, and thus believe that the person charged should receive harsh punishments for the purposes of retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, or incapacitation. In most countries, a person convicted of murder generally faces a long-term prison sentence, possibly a life sentence; and in a few, the death penalty may be imposed.Murder (United States law)
In the United States, the law regarding murder varies by jurisdiction. In most U.S. jurisdictions there is a hierarchy of acts, known collectively as homicide, of which first degree murder and felony murder are the most serious, followed by second degree murder, followed by voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter which are not as serious, and ending finally in justifiable homicide, which is not a crime at all. However, because there are at least 52 relevant jurisdictions, each with its own criminal code, this is a considerable simplification.Sentencing also varies very widely depending upon the specific murder charge. "Life imprisonment" is a common penalty for first degree murder, but its meaning varies widely.Capital punishment is a legal sentence in 32 states, and also the federal civilian and military legal systems. The United States is unusual in actually performing executions, with 34 states having performed executions since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. The methods of execution have varied but the most common method since 1976 has been lethal injection. In 2014 a total of 35 people were executed, and 3,002 were on death row.The Unborn Victims of Violence Act, enacted in 2004, codified at 18 U.S. Code § 1841, allows for a fetus to be treated as a victim in crimes. Subsection (c) of that statute specifically prohibits prosecutions related to consented abortions and medical treatments.Negligent homicide
Negligent homicide is a criminal charge brought against a person who, through criminal negligence, allows another person to die.Examples include the crash of Aeroperu Flight 603 near Lima, Peru. The accident was caused by a piece of duct tape that was left over the static ports (on the bottom side of the fuselage) after cleaning the aircraft, which led to the crash. An employee had left the tape on and was charged with negligent homicide. Other times, an intentional killing may be negotiated down to the lesser charge as a compromised resolution of a murder case, as in the case of former UFC fighter Gerald Strebendt's intentional shooting of an unarmed man after a traffic altercation.Phill Lewis
Phill Lewis (born 1968) is an American actor, comedian and director, known for his role as Mr. Moseby on the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and its spin-off, The Suite Life on Deck. Lewis has also appeared on series such as Lizzie McGuire, Friends, The Wayans Bros and Scrubs.Randy Blythe
David Randall "Randy" Blythe (born February 21, 1971), is an American singer, best known as the lead vocalist and lyricist of American heavy metal band Lamb of God. He has also performed guest vocals for Cannabis Corpse, Overkill, Gojira, Eyehategod, Bad Brains and in 2018, his voice appears in the Soulfly song "Dead Behind the Eyes", and he is also the lead singer of side-project band Halo of Locusts. As a teenager, he listened to bands of the hardcore punk scene such as the Sex Pistols, Bad Brains and Black Flag. He is often referred to as "Uncle Randy" in the metal community.In June 2012, Blythe was arrested in the Czech Republic and was indicted on manslaughter charges related to the 2010 death of Daniel Nosek, a 19-year-old fan, after a Lamb of God concert. The Czech court found that Blythe had pushed the fan off the stage and was "morally responsible" for the killing, but held that liability for Nosek's death also lay with promoters and security members, and ultimately acquitted Blythe of the criminal charges specifically.After his acquittal, Blythe recorded the album VII: Sturm und Drang with Lamb of God, an album inspired by the manslaughter case and his detention time in the Czech Republic.Roger Avary
Roger Roberts Avary (born August 23, 1965) is a Canadian-American film and television director, screenwriter, and producer. He collaborated with Quentin Tarantino on Pulp Fiction, for which they won Best Original Screenplay at the 67th Academy Awards. Avary directed Killing Zoe and The Rules of Attraction, and wrote the screenplays for Silent Hill and Beowulf.Suge Knight
Marion Hugh "Suge" Knight Jr. (; born April 19, 1965) is a former American record producer, music executive, former American football player and incarcerated felon. He is best known as the co-founder and former CEO of Death Row Records, which rose to dominate the rap charts after Dr. Dre's breakthrough album The Chronic in 1992, and enjoyed several years of chart successes for artists including 2Pac, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Outlawz and Tha Dogg Pound.
Suge Knight is also known for his numerous legal issues. In September 2018, Knight pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in a fatal 2015 hit-and-run and was sentenced to 28 years in prison.Vehicular homicide
Vehicular homicide is a crime that involves the death of a person other than the driver as a result of either criminally negligent or murderous operation of a motor vehicle.
In cases of criminal negligence, the defendant is commonly charged with unintentional vehicular manslaughter.
Vehicular homicide is similar to the offense, in some countries, of "dangerous driving causing death."
The victim may be either a person not in the car with the offending motorist (such as a pedestrian, cyclist, or another motorist), or a passenger in the vehicle with the offender.Vince Neil
Vincent Neil Wharton (born February 8, 1961) is an American musician. He is best known as the lead vocalist of heavy metal band Mötley Crüe which he co-founded in 1981, but he has also released three albums as a solo artist. He is known for his turbulent personal life which has led to multiple arrests and convictions, including one for vehicular manslaughter.Voluntary manslaughter
Voluntary manslaughter is the killing of a human being in which the offender acted during the heat of passion, under circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to become emotionally or mentally disturbed to the point that they can't reasonably control their emotions. Voluntary manslaughter is one of two main types of manslaughter, the other being involuntary manslaughter.