Personal Crimes

Personal Crimes

            Personal or violent crime is that which is committed against another such as aggravated assault, murder, rape and robbery. In tort law, there is a difference between assault and battery. Assault is the act of threatening bodily harm to someone and instilling fear in him or her. Battery on the other hand includes physical contact. It is the painful, violent and offensive physical touch on another person. Mayhem is the disfiguring of a person’s body. However, the term is no longer used in most jurisdictions and it is considered as a form of battery.

Sex between a child or minor and an adult is considered statutory rape. It does not have to be forceful for it to be considered as rape. Using coercion to have sex with a minor is enough to get a person convicted. There is no clearly defined age of consent and it differs in most states. A person charged with statutory rape is usually convicted regardless of whether there was consent. Rape is often referred to as sexual assault in some jurisdiction. The most common method of proving sexual assault is through the DNA testing and this exonerates the ones who are not guilty. Sexual assault cases are sometimes difficult to prove. In some jurisdictions, they hold that if the victim was dead at the time the crime was being committed then he or she is not guilty of the crime. This has led to many victims being raped on the assumption that they are dead. This was the case in people v. Hunter (Gardner & Anderson, 2008).

Homicide is the taking away of a person’s life by another. A person who has been convicted of murder usually faces a life sentence or the death penalty. Murder is a form of homicide. The above named cases are usually the major reasons why second degrees murder, manslaughter, justifiable and executable crimes tale place. Homicide can be divided into three types. The first type is justifiable homicide. This type of homicide may be in self-defense or in the defense of another person.

There have to be a strong reason to believe that the person was in danger of being killed for him or her to claim self-defense. It is also inclusive of homicide, which is authorized by law for instance that which occurs in the line of duty such as state executions and homicide by police officers. The second type of homicide is excusable homicide. This can occur in two ways. The first is when someone kills another accidentally. The second is way is when there is enough provocation to constitute the killing. A person charged with excusable homicide usually has fault.

The third type of homicide is criminal or felonious homicide. This is just unlawful intentional and reckless killing. It is divided into murder and manslaughter. Murder in the first degree is the premeditated killing. It is sometimes done by someone who is seeking vengeance, wants someone from the other person or simply by some psychopaths who have no reason at all. The jury has to consider the defendant’s state of mind. This was the case in Fisher v. United States, 328 U. S. Murder in the second degree is not premeditated. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the first and the second degrees. This was the situation in the above case.

Manslaughter is unintentional killing caused by negligence. Most people found guilty of manslaughter usually have the intention to harm rather than to kill. In some jurisdictions, homicide is not divided into degrees nor is it considered justifiable and excusable. This was the case in Mullaney et al v. Wilbur 421 US 684. The Maine law only recognized two type of homicide, which are murder and manslaughter. The prosecution had to prove beyond reasonable doubt that for the case to be treated as manslaughter. Wilbur, who was the respondent, was found guilty of murder. He had assaulted Hebert, the victim, after he had made sexual advances towards him.

A person’s state of mind is used to determine his or her intention of killing. There are three methods of proving corpus delicti. The first one is by examining the corpse for evidence. The second is through circumstantial evidence and the third is by a confession. If there is no body to be examined, this presents a problem to the prosecution. The problem with confessions is that they are not reliable. A person can confess to something that he did not do if he is forced or coerced to do so. He or she might also do it to save a friend.

With the improvements in forensic evidence, the prosecution can prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. If possible, it is wise to use the three methods. A jury can decide to infer that the murder was intentional based on the weapon that was used. This would change the charge the charge to first-degree murder. In this case, any weapon that can cause serious body harm and result to death is considered a deadly weapon. This was the case in people v. Lipsky (Gardner & Anderson, 2008).

Assault can attract a very heavy punishment. In Payne v. Tennessee, 501 US 808, the petitioner was convicted with two counts of first-degree murder and he was sentenced to death. He was also convicted of assault with an attempt to commit murder and he was sentenced to thirty years in prison. Payne murdered Charisse and her daughter after spending the afternoon taking drugs. The acts under which the crimes are committed determine whether the homicide was intentional or not. The sentences are harder and more severe if the crimes are intentional and premeditated. This is the case for someone who intentionally affects another with AIDS. Though the probability of murdering someone using the disease is low, it can still cause death because it is incurable (Hall, 2008). It is important for people to know the various forms of homicide and the charges that come with it. This way some will learn how to control their anger since it is one of the things, which lead people to perform evil acts as murder.


Gardner, J. T. & Anderson, M. T. (2008). Criminal Law. BostonMA: Cengage Learning

Hall, E. D. (2008). Criminal Law and Procedure. BostonMA: Cengage Learning

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