Murder, Manslaughter, and Hate Crime: The Law and Emotions

Emotions are more vital to our survival than any other component of our lives. They are what make life worthwhile to live, or to terminate. Determining the meaning of emotion is as difficult, if not impossible, as determining the meaning of law. As a result, most of the great classical philosophers—Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, and Hume—each have their own definition of emotion, much as different jurists such as Austin, Savigny, and Bentham each have their own definition of law.

Emotion, according to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, is “a powerful sensation such as love, fear, or anger: the component of a person’s character that consists of feelings.”

Because emotion is an unavoidable component of our lives, it is impossible to avoid emotion entering the “domain of law” (which itself is very debatable). We may reject it at times, but the law has always taken emotions into account. Some relevant evidence, such as gory photos, is not admitted by the courts because there is a fear that it will elicit such strong emotions that will override Judges’ ability to reason in the manner required. According to reports, jurors who are exposed to gory and gruesome evidence are five times more likely to convict than jurors who are not exposed to such evidence. When determining whether a killing is manslaughter or murder, courts weigh feelings of rage and envy. Fear, grief, and remorse ideas are central to criminal law. Compensation for emotional distress is also available under tort law.

However, it is commonly stated that emotion should not be allowed to enter the realm of law. Emotions have no place in the legal system. Reason and logic, not emotions, should be the ones to stay. Despite the fact that it is implausible, this theoretical paradigm has persisted. There are occasions when emotion just comes to the surface, such as in victim impact statements or hearings on emotional damage. Law is accompanied with emotion in all of its facets. Criminal law, civil law, and various acts such as the Domestic Violence Act, etc.

Criminal Law & Emotion

Emotions are as common in criminal law as they are in everyday life. However, the law has traditionally taken a completely different approach to emotions. Is it necessary to be sympathetic to defendants who are swept up in emotions like rage and fear? Emotions are a symptom of a personality disorder, but they also represent ways of seeing the world. Mens Rea, or Guilty Mind, is the most fundamental and fundamental aspect in convicting someone for a crime. A guilty mentality is nothing more than a collection of negative emotions or feelings toward someone that motivates you to hurt that person or his stuff.

Manslaughter and Murder

Emotions are always taken into account by the law. Murder and manslaughter are two different crimes. Murder needs proof of ‘malice forethought,’ which indicates that the act was driven by or originated from a wicked, depraved, or malignant mind-a mind that is cruel, wanton, or malignant even when unprovoked, heedless of human life or disregarding societal obligation. However, if the same act of killing is committed with the intention of killing under the influence of passion or heat of blood, caused by an adequate or reasonable provocation, rather than by any wickedness of heart, cruelty, or recklessness of disposition, then the law, in deference to the frailty of human nature, very properly regards the offence of a less heinous character than murder, and gives t design to manslaughter.

Both of the aforementioned actions constitute murder and, as a result, are punishable. In the instance of manslaughter, however, it is just considered less horrible. Because the moral evaluations of one’s actions are influenced by the quality of one’s feelings.

There are a few key characteristics that must be present for a murder committed in a fit of rage to be considered manslaughter. Arousal of passion: a profoundly emotional state of mind generated by a form of provocation that would force a rational person to act on impulse or without thought. Cooling time: the interval following the onset of passion’s heat, during which reason is said to be able to triumph over emotion. However, this could last for a long time, and it is up to the court’s discretion to determine.

Hate Crime

Hate crimes occur when a victim is singled out for being a member of a specific social group, which is commonly defined by race, religion, ethnicity, or other factors. Hate crimes are characterized by a high level of emotional excitement, yet they are regarded as a serious threat to society, and most countries’ legislation is designed to combat them.

Hate crimes have increased as a result of globalization, particularly in fast-growing and exceptional economies, as well as in countries that have traditionally been quite varied, such as India and the United States. Many countries have penalty augmentation laws that increase the penalties for such crimes. In the United States, there is a distinct category of crime.

Hate crimes create more individual and societal harm, which is why we need a distinct consideration for them. “Bias-motivated crimes are more likely to trigger retaliatory offenses, inflict distinct emotional injuries on their victims, and foment societal unrest,” the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously found in Wisconsin v. Mitchell.

Furthermore, proving a Hate Crime is difficult in practice since they are not really different from other crimes; the only distinction is that they are generally accompanied by a hate speech, which the criminal frequently gives before committing a crime.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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