Research essay Example

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Killing your colleague is considered to be a very serious undertaking by law. Most criminal laws regard killing another person as homicide. Though all forms of homicides are not treated equally based on the misfortune that they cause, they should not be levelled when subjecting a person to criminal charges. This is because there are those people who engage in crime purposefully, while it tends to be inadvertent for others. The manner in which homicides are evaluated depends on the objective of the suspect as well as the forces that pushed him to engage in crime (Simmons 2006, p. 95).

There is a big difference that prevails between manslaughter and murder. Murder is regarded as an intentional and unlawful way of taking the life of your colleague, or when one is proved to have degenerate indifference towards the life of another human being. Most of the murders that get reported are usually premeditated, and most societies choose the strictest chastisements to those individuals who engage in murder. Conversely, manslaughter refers to killing a person in an unlawful manner based on the situation that the criminal is subjected to. It does not carry severe punishment like in the case of a person who engages in murder (Morris and Blom-Cooper 2011, p. 202). This paper will discuss the issue of manslaughter as an illegitimate activity based on the strain theory that is linked to crime.


Theoretical Framework

There are various theories that one can adopt to explain the reasons as to why people engage in crime, and in this case manslaughter. The strain theory is one of the most highly prevalent theories, since most people in the modern society are subjected to various strains that force them to engage in various crimes (Rebellon, et al. 2012, p. 231). According to the strain theory, the stressors or strains that people experience every day play a crucial role with respect to influencing an individual to engage in a particular crime. These strains comprise of the failures that a person experiences while trying to realize his goals (prominence or monetary aims), loss of optimistic inducements (misplacing a possession that you value), or when one is subjected to pessimistic inducements (being exposed to bodily or verbal abuse) (Ackerman and Sacks 2012, p. 190). The people who get subjected to these stressors become infuriated, and may result to criminal activities to allow them cope with their current state.

Crime is a popular way of allowing an individual to result to crime. For instance, a person may steal money that can help him to run away from a person who subjects him to abuse, such as his parents (Moon and Jonson 2012, p. 253). Other people engage in crime in retaliation from a particular stressor, such as assaulting the people who offend or harass them. Moreover, people may engage in drug abuse to help them feel better after being subjected to hardship situations. In this case, the strain theory plays a crucial role with respect to offering the crucial explanations as to why people engage in crime (Barn and Tan 2012, p. 214).

Influence of Strains towards Engaging in Crime

Strains encourage one to Engage in Crime

Research reveals thatstrains have the potential of making one to engage in crime. This is because stressors are associated with creating undesirable feelings, such as distress, anger, frustration and despair. These feelings tend to create force in a person to engage in a corrective activity. People who are strained are unhappy, and they believe that they can only feel better once they engage in a particular activity to help them address the situation. Crime, such as manslaughter is among the corrective actions that individuals embark on (Barn and Tan 2012, p. 216). Crime is treated as a way of allowing an individual to engage in revenge, escape from a certain stressor, or eliminate negative feelings. In the case of strain theory, anger plays a crucial role with respect to giving an individual sufficient energy to engage in a certain activity, reduce embarrassments, and also creates a strong longing to engage in vengeance (Ackerman and Sacks 2012, p. 192).

Manslaughter Overview

In the event of common law, all unlawful homicides that are not classified as murder are considered to be manslaughter. This offense is broad in terms of scope, and it is limited by accidental killing on one end and murder on the other. There is a growing number of legal wrongdoings of unlawful carnage, such as corporate manslaughter and hazardous driving. A number of these legal offenses bar trial that is attributed to manslaughter, though in most instances manslaughter is treated as an alternative to charges that are directed towards certain statutory transgressions (Anderson and Gardner 2014, p. 24).

The two broad categories that are linked to manslaughter include unconscious and deliberate manslaughter. The distinction between these two categories of manslaughter depend on the intention of the person being accused at the time of engaging in the action. In the event where there is no intention to kill or inflict bodily harm to the victim, this action is regarded as involuntary manslaughter (Anderson and Gardner 2014, p. 37). Conversely, voluntary manslaughter becomes prevalent in the event where a certain individual intended to inflict bodily harm or kill another person, but based on certain circumstances, such as reduced responsibility, incitement or in the event of enactment of a recklessness pact. This lowers the crime of the accused to a less serious class or criminal killing. These limited fortifications towards murder were established to help eliminate death penalty (Davies 2008, p. 103). In the contemporary world, these fortifications exist in an unsatisfactory manner in order to help eliminate the situation where an individual would be subjected to life sentence as a result of engaging in murder.

Voluntary Manslaughter

In the event when a person is believed to have engaged in voluntary manslaughter, and was in his normal mind’s state while engaging in the activity, it is possible for him or her to avoid being convicted for murder in case he or she manages to prove that the action resulted from contracted accountability, aggravation, suicidal accord, or infanticide (Clarkson and Cunningham 2013, p. 54). From each of these cases, the perpetrator is in a position to succeed with the protection, and his obligation is not treated as murder, but as manslaughter. However, this sentence is left at the judge’s decision. This form of manslaughter is regarded as ‘voluntary’ because there would be sufficient evidence which would reveal that the accused intended to engage in the activity, though a various mitigating issues would play a crucial role with respect to excusing the actions that he engaged in (Great Britain Law Commission 2006, p. 244).

Reduced Responsibility: With respect to the case of reduced responsibility, the defendant would be regarded as being guilty of manslaughter as opposed to murder in case he managed to prove the incident while applying an equilibrium of likelihoods. In case an individual kills or subjects another to harm in the body, he would not be sentenced for murder if it is proved that he had an abnormal state of mind, which contributed to the acts that he engaged in (Meng and Yeo 2004, p. 133). An abnormal state of mind is believed to result from an injury or disease, inherent causes, or when one experiences a stunted growth of the mind. Although this protection refrains from covering drugs or drinks, it shields those diseases that result from long term exposure to drugs and drunkenness. The strain in this case is the instability of mind, which the offender cannot control, and thus making him to embark on manslaughter (Buoye 2000, p. 12).

Provocation: When a person is being charged for killing, the jury seeks for evidence on whether the offender was subjected to aggravation at the time when he was engaging in the activity. For instance, provocation may result from things assumed or done to him, which made him to lose self-will. However, it is at the preference of the jury to determine whether the kind of provocation that the offender was subjected to had sufficient grounds to make him lose his self-will and act in the way that he did (Hagan 2010, p. 34). In case the jury determines that the accused was subjected to acts of provocation, he is supposed to leave the issue to the jury, who are the ones who are supposed to answer the questions on his behalf. Provocation is the strain in this case, since it is the one that makes an individual to lose his self-control (Great Britain Law Commission 2006, p. 247).

Infanticide: The issue of infanticide revolves around where a pregnant women can kill her infant before reaching 12 months, but have sufficient grounds for doing so. With respect to the issue of infanticide, a woman is supposed to reveal confirmation that she engaged in the act before the 12 months were ended. Additionally, a woman should reveal that the state of her mind was experiencing a series of disturbances, such as those related to complications of giving birth and lactation (Hagan 2010, p. 40). In this perspective, the jury clears her off murder charges. This protection aims at offering protection to those women who may suffer significant depression after birth. However, this protection does not apply to those women who kill their older children for arguing that they are undergoing post-natal misery. In this case, one may argue that the strain that may force a woman to embark on infanticide is the issue of birth-related complications that she may witness during birth (Carper and McKinsey 2011, p. 42).

Involuntary Manslaughter

Instinctive manslaughter applies to a situation where the thoughtlessness of a person or criminal carelessness leads to the death of a person, or in the case where the illegitimate act serves as a transgression or low-level offense (Simmons 2006, p. 59). In this case, the death of the casualty is not intentional. This incident may become prevalent where an individual finds that is wife is cheating on him, and decides to take alcohol in order to overcome his depressed state. However, after getting to a car and driving in a reckless manner, the individual may hit a pedestrian accidentally (Clarkson and Cunningham 2013, p. 16). This action is regarded as involuntary manslaughter because the offender did not intend to kill the pedestrian. Therefore, in this case, the strain that forced the driver to take alcohol is when his wife cheated on him

Unintentional Manslaughter Elements

In order for an individual to be regarded as guilty for manslaughter through involuntary means, there are certain elements that are supposed to be fulfilled. Firstly, in case the victim dies or gets hurt as a result of the offender’s actions, then the defendant is regarded as guilty of the crime. Secondly, the accused is regarded as guilty in case the activity that he engaged in posed dangers to other people, or that it was carried out in a manner that did not have any appreciation for human life (Anderson and Gardner 2014, p. 83). Lastly, the offender is treated to be guilty in case he was aware that his actions would pose threats to the lives of other people. Also, those activities that are regarded as being entirely lawful can result to unconscious manslaughter in case they are carried out in an irresponsible manner (Davies 2008, p. 69).


The paper has revealed that the issue of manslaughter cannot be likened to murder since there are a number of remedies that one can be subjected to prevent him from serving life imprisonment. With respect to the strain theory, it is true that an individual engages in various crimes based on the strains that prevail in his life, such as seeking for prominence or monetary gains, loss of optimistic inducements, and in case he encounters pessimistic inducements. These factors play a crucial role with respect to influencing the kind of crime that an individual engages in. Moreover, it is true that deliberate and instinctive manslaughter are two distinct crimes that are subjected to different remedies. However, the offender is supposed to reveal sufficient evidence, which would play a crucial role in terms of preventing him from being charged for murder that would make him to be sentenced for life.

Reference List

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