Murder Versus Manslaughter


There are varying degrees of homicide and one single fact can result in a different charge under homicide laws. Life is defined in the law by statute as is the issue of viability, which can determine whether a statute applies in a given factual situation. For example, for a criminal homicide to occur at common law, the victim had to be born alive. Today, statutes may define life to include a fetus, and some classify illegal abortions as a criminal homicide. At common law, death occurred when the heartbeat and respirations ceased. Now, many courts use the brain death standard, which is said to occur when there is an absence of physiological or electrical brain activity that can be registered. Note that brain death may occur even though respiration and a pulse may continue.

For this discussion, varying charges will be explored. Imagine the following scenario:

During a domestic quarrel, a wife continually taunted her husband by degrading him and telling him he was a lousy lover and that she wanted to be rid of him. When the husband tried to persuade her to relent, she continued to taunt him in a louder voice. Finally, he grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed her, and she died as a result. The husband was convicted of second-degree murder. On appeal, he argues his actions were taking place during a fit of passion and seeks to have his conviction reduced from second-degree murder to manslaughter.


For this discussion, incorporate this concepts according to the scenario:

  • Differentiate the key distinctions between second-degree murder and manslaughter in your state.
  • Explain how this case would play out if it were being heard in a court in your state.
  • Determine whether the prosecutor charged the defendant with the incorrect crime.
  • Articulate what would constitute enough evidence at trial to meet the criminal standard of proof to convict for the crime charged.

Additional Instructions:

Create a 1 page essay in APA Format according to the instructions above. Use 2 scholarly sources for references. Be sure to use in-text citations.