special circumstances

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special circumstances

n. in criminal cases, particularly homicides, actions of the accused or the situation under which the crime was committed for which state statutes allow or require imposition of a more severe punishment. "Special circumstances" in murder cases may well result in the imposition of the death penalty (in states with capital punishment) for murder or life sentence without possibility of parole. Such circumstances may include: rape, kidnapping or maiming prior to the killing, multiple deaths, killing a police officer or prison guard, or actions showing wanton disregard for life such as throwing a bomb into a restaurant. (See: capital punishment)

References in periodicals archive ?
A PHANTOM helicopter which spooked British authorities in the 70s was believed to be an IRA terror weapon ready to be unleashed on the mainland, it has emerged.
And it continues to deploy barrel bombs as a terror weapon against entire neighborhoods.
There are growing concerns that the Islamic State jihadists may use Ebola virus as a bio terror weapon to attack the West.
A terror weapon, a weapon of intimidation" is what Iran would seek via its nuclear program, he suggested.
The V-2s, the author writes, were "only a terror weapon because they were deficient in reliability, accuracy, destructive capacity, range and numbers.
Shwaane Abdul's terror weapon was a double-bladed knife with a handle in the middle decorated with a skull.
But for Terror Weapon of the Somme: A Time Team Special (Channel 4, 9pm), historians and archaeologists set out to find and retrieve whatever was left of a flame projector abandoned in June, 1916, just before the infamous Battle of the Somme.
This finding, they added, should help allay concerns about the potential consequences of an accidental release of the 1918 influenza virus from high-containment laboratories or its possible use as a bio terror weapon.
A Chlorine truck bomb is something that is extremely effective as a terror weapon," said Brian Jackson, who serves as associate director of the RAND Corporation's Homeland Security Department.
A gunman who brandished a sawn-off shotgun and the friend who lent him the terror weapon have been jailed for a total of 10 years.
World War II was an occasion not only for solemn unity of purpose but for stupid comedies like Abbott and Costello's Buck Privates and Hal Roach's The Devil With Hitler, a two-reeler so bad it should have been deployed as a terror weapon itself.
But some of the other radioactive material - including cesium-137, colbalt-60 and strontium - could have been valuable to a terrorist seeking to fashion a terror weapon.