Heat of Passion

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Related to Heat of Passion: Involuntary manslaughter

Heat of Passion

A phrase used in Criminal Law to describe an intensely emotional state of mind induced by a type of provocation that would cause a reasonable person to act on impulse or without reflection.

A finding that a person who killed another acted in the heat of passion will reduce murder to Manslaughter under certain circumstances. The essential prerequisites for such a reduction are that the accused must be provoked to a point of great anger or rage, such that the person loses his or her normal capacity for self-control; the circumstances must be such that a reasonable person, faced with the same degree of provocation, would react in a similar manner; and finally, there must not have been an opportunity for the accused to have "cooled off" or regained self-control during the period between the provocation and the killing.

The Rule of Law that adequate provocation may reduce murder to manslaughter was developed by the English courts. It was a means of avoiding the severity of the death penalty, a fixed punishment for murder under the Common Law, when the act of killing was caused by natural human weakness.

The type of provocation considered serious enough to induce a heat of passion offense varies slightly from one jurisdiction to another, although the usual test is reasonableness. Depending upon the circumstances, assault, Battery, Adultery, and illegal arrest are illustrative of what may be held to be sufficient provocation.

In almost all cases, the reasonableness of a provocation is a decision made by a jury.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

heat of passion

n. in a criminal case, when the accused was in an uncontrollable rage at the time of commission of the alleged crime. If so, it may reduce the charge, indictment or judgment down from murder to manslaughter, since the passion precluded the defendant having premeditation or being fully mentally capable of knowing what he/she was doing. (See: murder, manslaughter)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(122.) See Dressier, Rethinking Heat of Passion, supra note 41, at 424 n.24 (noting the remarkable lack of interest in the issue and the fact that "[w]hat interest has been demonstrated is largely found in British circles").
The court only sentences this man to one year in prison because his murder "was done in the heat of passion, under circumstances of great provocation" (309; emphasis mine).
Hunt's Betty Ann is pic's most original creation, not quite as cold as CW would deem her and with enough vulnerability under the undefined feminism to collapse under the heat of passion.
Noting Yokota has spent most of his adulthood in prison following an unfortunate childhood, Wakahara said he committed the crime in the heat of passion as a result of an argument with the victim.
to be without malice and hence manslaughter if committed in the heat of passion upon adequate provocation."(45) Adopted in the United States, this form of homicide mitigates an intentional killing, that would otherwise be murder, to voluntary manslaughter, if the defendant can prove that the killing was done in a heat-of-passion caused by the victim's provocative conduct.(46) The law's rationale is that the defendant's passion prevented the premeditation or formation of the requisite intent to murder.
The Mississippi Code(96) defines manslaughter as "[t]he killing of a human being without malice, in the heat of passion, but in a cruel or unusual manner, or by the use of a dangerous weapon, without authority of law, and not in necessary self-defense."(97) Murder, however, must be committed with malice aforethought.(98)
TWO Scorpios together will certainly feel the heat of passion.
I asked one of my mentors why our country had heat of passion crimes and why people should not be held fully responsible for their intended actions.
Thus, therein lies the sum total of Ophelia's sex education; the knowledge that, somewhere, underneath all those black clothes, Hamlet had a 'throbbing member' and somehow, in the heat of passion, he and she would 'become one' together.
According to Mison, trial judges often instruct juries on provocation in NHA cases.(20) Put differently, most courts believe that a jury could find reasonably, that a NHA is sufficient provocation to incite the Reasonable Man to lose his self-control and kill in the heat of passion. Mison states that, although "[t]his sexual-advance defense could be used by a male or a female who claims that he or she killed in reaction to the victim's sexual advance[,] [a]s the law now stands, ...
A Conway woman's voluntary manslaughter conviction has been overturned because there was no evidence that she shot her husband in a heat of passion, and thus no justification for the trial judge to instruct the jury on the charge of voluntary manslaughter, the South Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled.