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 ?
"Then what they had been waiting for was suddenly coming in loud and clear, according to Israeli sources familiar with the operation: it was, as a sullen spy official described it, 'a primer in constructing a terror weapon.' With an unemotional precision, an ISIS soldier detailed how to turn a laptop computer into a terror weapon that could pass through airport security and be carried on board a passenger plane.
Apart from the obvious fact that they're readily accessible to the latest terror weapon of choice, the truck, van or car, this seems to be another reason why these places attract this sort of hatred: For a city dweller, they embody a certain idea of happiness.
Apart from the obvious fact that they're readily accessible to the latest terror weapon of choice - the truck, van or car - this seems to be another reason why these places attract this sort of hatred: For a city dweller, they embody a certain idea of happiness.
A PHANTOM helicopter which spooked the nation in the 1970s was feared to be an IRA terror weapon, it has emerged.
And it continues to deploy barrel bombs as a terror weapon against entire neighborhoods.
"A terror weapon, a weapon of intimidation" is what Iran would seek via its nuclear program, he suggested.
The terror weapon was unleashed to frighten individuals, parties and the people.
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.
Eisenhower also had to consider the V-2 ballistic missile, the new German terror weapon that could not be thwarted as easily as its sputtering predecessor, the V-1 flying bomb.
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.