This product has three parts.
1. A complete presentation of the chance for defense, mitigation or extenuating by using "crime of passion" in a criminal law trial. Many case examples are used to explain the concept.
2. A flash card review of the presentation.
3. A 20 point multiple choice test with answer key about the program.
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A crime of passion: a violent crime, especially homicide, in which the perpetrator commits the act against someone because of sudden strong impulse such as sudden rage rather than as a premeditated crime.
The crime of passion defense challenges the element of intent needed for first degree murder. There is no malice aforethought because the crime was committed in the "heat of passion." The necessary state of mind for crime of passion can also be thought of as extremely elevated states of emotion between perpetrator and victim.
This defense can often lead to a conviction for manslaughter or second degree murder instead of first degree murder. The crime lacks premeditation, a requisite for first degree murder. In some cases, the jury and/or judge go even lower as the defendant’s extenuating circumstances are brought forth.
Historically crime of passion was associated with the defenses of temporary insanity or provocation. Today its use is often more nuanced. The lawyer will enter this evidence of high emotion and use it to influence the jury and judge to lighten their pronouncements upon the defendant. It frequently works if used skillfully enough and if the defendant did not drag innocent third persons into the fray.
One danger with this defense is that the defendant often needs to testify to get belief in his or her story. Defendants’ testifying in their own criminal trials is a practice fraught with peril. It is a frequent cause for conviction.
Thus it comes as no surprise that often the best use of crime of passion is to use it to secure the best plea bargain for the defendant instead of the best verdict. Many prosecutors will be amenable to such plea bargains because they are wary of putting a very sympathetic defendant through a long jury trial.
Canada has come up with a modern definition for crime of passion which many practitioners may find more workable in modern law practices. It is: “Abrupt, impulsive and unpremeditated acts of violence committed by persons who have come face to face with an incident unacceptable to them and who are rendered incapable of self-control for the duration of the act.”
This modern definition opens up the concept to all emotions not the usual ones seen in the cases. Jealousy over a lover or spouse was the traditional emotion. Today others are realized too.
The best way to learn more about the concept is to study actual cases, which begin on the next slide.
THE CASES USED IN THE PRESENTATION ARE:
LISA NOWAK (ASTRONAUT LOVE TRIANGLE)
CLOTTEMANS (BELGIAN PARACHUTE)