Homicide and Battery Essays
Most killings are unlawful and the circumstances behind the demise of individual play a part in determining whether it is a murder or manslaughter. To prove that a killing is a murder, evidence must be provided to indicate that the action was premeditated and planned by the perpetrator. Manslaughter, on the other hand, entails unintentional killings and are not treated in the same manner as murder. Manslaughter attracts less serious punishment compared to murder.
Abandoned Heart Homicide
Abandoned heart homicide occurs when the perpetrator acts in a reckless manner that endangers the lives of others. The careless acts of such a person, if the they result in the death of a person, make him or her liable for abandoned heart homicide (Regoeczi, Jarvis & Mancik, 2018). The reckless behavior of the defendant is often referred to as gross negligence. An example of such is a person doing target practice in a suburban and ends up killing a passerby accidentally (Tamsen, Logan & Thiblin, 2014). Even though the killing is unintentional, the defendant was in full knowledge of the likelihood of their actions killing another.
Involuntary manslaughter takes place when a person unintentionally kills another by engaging in a careless behavior that was of a criminal nature. The death might result from a low-level misdemeanor such as DUI or criminal negligence (Zazula, 2015). Summarily, it is a homicide caused by a person in the process of committing another unrelated crime. Involuntary manslaughter is different from the other forms of homicide because there was no premeditation or intent on the part of the perpetrator. Given the fact that it was not planned or intended, it is considered the lowest form of homicide by the justice system. Criminal negligence is one of the ways in which involuntary negligence can take place (Egan, 2018). The defendant, in this case, must have been proven to have acted in an unreasonable manner that contributed to the death of the victim. Criminal negligence does not require the offender to have engaged in a criminal act. It can render both legal and illegal acts criminal.
Difference Between Abandoned Heart Homicide and Involuntary Manslaughter
The difference between abandoned heart homicide and involuntary manslaughter is in the way they are defined and treated by the justice system. In abandoned heart homicide, the accused caused the death of the victim by acting in a reckless manner that put the lives of others in danger. The accused committed the dangerous actions intentionally and knew that they had the potential of causing the death of others. In abandoned heart homicide, the actions of the accused are considered intentional and requiring severe punishment (Morse, 2015). On the other hand, involuntary manslaughter involves a person that was not at the time that his or her actions could cause the demise of another. This is a crime that was neither planned nor premeditated. Involuntary manslaughter is considered less severe by the justice system as a result. In the justice system, abandoned heart homicides carry more punitive sentences compared to involuntary homicides.
When considering whether to charge a defendant for involuntary manslaughter or abandoned heart homicide, the prosecutor has to consider several matters. The level of negligence that is demonstrated by the defendant at the time of the incident has to be considered. The actions of the defendant that caused the death of the victim also have to the analyzed to determine whether they were of a negligent nature and whether they were illegal (Ehrenfreund, 2015). The state of mind of the defendant at the time of the demise of the victim is also taken into consideration to determine whether the reckless behavior was intentional or otherwise. Intentional reckless behavior can lead to the prosecutor leaning towards abandoned heart homicide.
In the case of People v. Bilbrey, the jury found the defendant guilty of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, battery with serious bodily injury and aggravated mayhem. Bilbrey was sentenced to 11 years to life in the state prison after his motion to have a new trial was denied (FindLaw, 2018). The defendant had stabbed a man repeatedly outside a Benicia bar back in 2008 (Sullivan, 2018). He had been locked up for more than ten years for an action he claimed was triggered by getting insulted by the victim after closing time of the bar on the day of the incident.
Bilbrey, the defendant, got into a fight with the man. He stabbed the victim in the mouth, slicing the tongue in the process. He proceeded to stab the man in the face and eyes leaving him legally blind. Bilbrey was taken into custody and the trial proceeding was concluded in 2010 when he was found guilty of attempted murder and aggravated mayhem (Sullivan, 2018). He was handed 11-year-to-life imprisonment.
In 2016, proceedings were initiated where the defendant claimed that his lawyer made mistakes in the initial trial. The lawyer conceded the same. A writ of habeas corpus was granted, and a new trial ordered. This was due to the ineffectiveness of the trial counsel in the initial case of People v. Bilbrey (Sullivan, 2018). The appellate court stated that there was a high likelihood of the defendant having received a favorable result had the lawyer done better representation.
The mental health history of the defendant was not taken into consideration during the initial court trial. The defense lawyer did not take that into account when preparing for the trail. Instead, the defense had depended on the defendant’s claim of self-defense during the incident (Sullivan, 2018). Given the facts of the case, the initial sentencing given as appropriate due to the degree of harm that the defendant caused the victim. With the new facts brought to light, the sentence might be reduced to no less than eight years in state prison.
Egan, T. (2018). Criminal – Involuntary Manslaughter – Self-Defense. Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/2073185397?accountid=1611
Ehrenfreund, M. (2015). Baltimore is calm following ‘depraved-heart murder’ charge. Washington: WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1678496540?accountid=1611
FindLaw. (2018). People v. Bilbrey ||FindLaw’s California Court of Appeal case and opinions. Retrieved from https://caselaw.findlaw.com/ca-court-of-appeal/1899695.html
Regoeczi, W., Jarvis, J., & Mancik, A. (2018). Homicide Investigations in Context: Exploring Explanations for the Divergent Impacts of Victim Race, Gender, Elderly Victims, and Firearms on Homicide Clearances. Homicide Studies, 108876791880288. doi: 10.1177/1088767918802885
Sullivan, J. (2018). Court of Appeals reverses Benicia man’s life sentence. Retrieved from https://www.dailyrepublic.com/all-dr-news/solano-news/crime-solano-county-courts/court-of-appeals-reverses-benicia-mans-life-sentence/
Tamsen, F., Logan, F., & Thiblin, I. (2014). Homicide Injury Quantification. Homicide Studies, 19(1), 88-100. doi: 10.1177/1088767914558142
Zazula, B. (2015). Involuntary Manslaughter in The New Romanian Penal Code. Journal Of Legal Studies, 16(30), 31-38. doi: 10.1515/jles-2015-0008
Morse, D. (2015, May 01). What Is Depraved-Heart Murder In Maryland? (posted 2015-05-01 16:51:28). The Washington Post Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1677626807?accountid=1611