Professor Scott Ciocco
March 06, 2011
I intend to show how the 19 year old female committed the criminal act of first degree murder and how a 62 year old elderly man committed manslaughter protecting his home. The 19 year old female went out with two male friends who came back to her home and raped her. After thinking about the horrific act that happened to her, she decided to invite them back for anotheI ir “date”. When the men came to her home, she shot and killed one of them as the other man fled. The 62 year old man was asleep in his home when he heard a noise in another part of his house. The elderly man armed himself with a loaded pistol and went into the hallway. When they began to approach him, he shot and killed both of them. Were the acts forceful? Were they justifiable?
The Law Governing the Use of Force
The 19 year old female defendant was out with two men she apparently knew and eventually the outing ended with them returning to her domain. Since we do not know exactly what took place, let’s envision her being forcibly raped by the alleged as one held her while the other raped her, and vice versa. After the alleged assailants departed, the defendant showed signs of anger and disillusion. At this time, the defendant began to plot a way(s) to punish the men so they will not ever harm her or any other woman again. Still envisioning, the defendant loaded the gun with live ammunition and waited for her predators to come. Maybe she did not want to kill them! Maybe she only wanted to frighten them or harm them in a way they would never attempt to do to anyone else what they did to her. BUT, she did load the gun and when they appeared she aimed the gun and pulled the trigger knowing the bullets would cause bodily harm that could also cause death. The law states that pointing a firearm at another person and pulling the trigger to kill or seriously wound another person is a forceful act and is classified as the Deadly Weapon Doctrine. The laws also states that the intent to take another human’s life is First Degree Murder. However, it could be argued that the defendant was so distraught by the illegal act that was done to her that she became temporarily insane. Yes, she had time to think about the illegal act and the more she thought about it, the harder it was to come to terms with it and the more pronounced it became. Her mind was consumed with what happened to her. The law states that she committed a forceful act and should be charged with first degree murder and weapons offenses. Fact: After constantly thinking about the altercations, the 19 year old invited the alleged assailants back to her home for another date, which is classified as premeditated or first degree murder, because she planned out her crime before acting on it. (Gardner & Anderson, 2009) The law states a person commits first degree murder if he kills another person without justification and does so intentionally or he knows such acts will create a strong probability of death. (Gardner & Anderson, 2009, p. 239) Fact: A forceful act committed.
The law states that “deadly force” is force that is likely to cause or is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. (Gardner & Anderson, 2009, p. 107) Fact: The defendant pointed a shotgun at another person and pulled the trigger and shot him. The law states that if a person points a weapon at another person and pulls the trigger, it is classified as the “deadly weapon” doctrine. (Gardner & Anderson, 2009, p. 240) Fact: The defendant was so traumatized by the rape that her mind was consumed with what happened to her to the point she couldn’t eat or sleep, thereby claiming diminished capacity or temporary insanity. The law states that under the M’Naghten rule, defendants are not legally responsible for their acts if at the time they were laboring under defect of reason as not to know what he was doing or the seriousness of what he is doing or if he did know it, that he did not know that what he was doing was wrong. (Gardner & Anderson, 2009, p. 88) The defense of “diminished capacity” is simply a label that identifies evidence introduced by a defendant to support a claim that he did not commit the crime charged because he did not possess the requisite mens rea. (Gardner & Anderson, 2009, p. 94) A 62 year old retired army officer was asleep in his home when he heard a noise in another part of the house. The retired officer got out of bed, armed himself with a loaded pistol and went into the hall. As he went into the hall, he noticed two apparent burglars coming toward him. The retired officer fired his pistol, killing both the men who were in the act of burglary, but apparently were unarmed. Would the Florida law “stand your ground” apply? “Make my day”? or the “castle” theory apply? The law states the crime was a forceful act. However, the retired officer should only be charged with manslaughter and a possible weapons defense, unless proven differently. Fact: Two unarmed men were burglarizing the retired officer’s home and he shot and killed both of them as they approached him. The law states that a man’s house is his “castle” thereby creating the castle law. The “make my day” rules put no limits on the use of deadly force by the occupant of a dwelling. (Gardner & Anderson, 2009, p. 109) Florida’s law “stand your ground” states a person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony. (Gardner & Anderson, 2009, p. 108) Fact: The defendant fired his gun at the burglars, killing them, thereby committing voluntary manslaughter. The law states that a form of voluntary manslaughter is heat of passion manslaughter. This crime is commonly charged when an action(s) cause the defendant to become enraged, and angered to the point of losing normal self-control and, in the heat of passion, killing. To reduce murder to manslaughter four requirements must be met; 1. There must be adequate provocation.
2.The killing must have been in a heat of passion (anger, rage, or emotional disturbance). 3.There must have been no opportunity to cool off.
4.There must be a causal connection between the provocation, the rage or anger, and the fatal act. (Gardner & Anderson, 2009, p. 247) Fact: A forceful act was committed.
The law states that “deadly force” is force that is likely to cause or is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. (Gardner & Anderson, 2009, p. 107) Fact: The defendant pointed a shotgun at another person and pulled the trigger and shot him. The law states that if a person points a weapon at another person and pulls the trigger, it is classified as the “deadly weapon” doctrine. (Gardner & Anderson, 2009, p. 240) Both of the crimes were forceful. However, the crime committed by the 19 year old female was not justifiable, whereas the crime committed by the retired officer was justifiable. Others might say the crime of the 19 year old female was justifiable, because of the intense trauma she suffered. I believe the law was broken regarding the 19 year old female, because she could have notified the police of the attack upon her. Instead, she took the law in her own hands and took another person’s life. I imagine she was ashamed, because she knew the assailants and would not have believed they would have raped her. But she should have telephoned someone to be by her side while she notified the police. The 62 year old retired officer, on the other hand, did not break the law, because he was protecting his home, his family and himself. He did not know the men did not have weapons. He just reacted to the forceful entry and the fact they were burglarizing his home.