What Types Of Violent Crimes Have You Handled In Illinois?
Technically, even a battery can be a violent crime. There isn’t any specific statutory language that I’m aware of which defines violent. It’s like an open ended thing, like when you have an aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. A deadly weapon doesn’t have to be a knife or club, it could be anything else that is used in a deadly fashion—a golf club, a baseball bat, even a frying pan. It could be your car, things that you wouldn’t normally consider to be a deadly weapon, but they are in the right circumstance. As far as a violent crime goes, there isn’t really a set definition of what violent is.
If the violence gets to the point where it leads to broken bones, stitches, or anything that breaks the skin, that’s considered an aggravated. In some way, aggravated and violent go hand-in-hand. The definition would make you believe that it’s obviously purposefully to inflict some sort of pain or to intimidate somebody on a greater scale than normal. For example, you have robbery and you have armed robbery. Was armed robbery a violent crime? I think some people would say that if they had a gun stuck in their face, they would be so scared that they consider it violent. It’s a bit of a grey area of definition.
What Are The Distinctions Between Homicide, Murder And Manslaughter Cases In Illinois?
The distinctions between homicide, murder, and manslaughter differ quite a bit. First, homicide means that somebody died. Whether it’s a reckless homicide—for example, if you did it while you were drunk driving—or if it was a voluntary manslaughter type scene, where you killed someone but you were in the heat of the moment. The typical law school example they gave us was you come home and you find your wife in bed with somebody else, and you get so enraged that you pull out a gun and shoot them, but you’ve never met this person before. The difference between first-degree murder and second-degree murder would be voluntary manslaughter, and they say you were so wound up in the heat of the moment that’s why you did it. Murder usually has to be premeditated. You still have to have some intent to commit murder when you are doing it, and trying to seek the exact verbiage.
If you planned the whole thing out, it’s first-degree murder, but if it’s something that’s very spur of the moment and brought up by some sets of facts and circumstances that have been made in the heat of the moment or the heat of the passion, would be manslaughter. There was a case in Texas where a man caught another man raping his 8-year-old daughter, and upon finding that he proceeded to beat the man to death on the spot. The grand jury there did not indict him, and said they thought it was justified.
There are all kinds of factors that can come in as to whether the heat of the moment defense is going to drop something down from a regular murder to a voluntary manslaughter. You can’t use that same scenario, where let’s say an estranged wife has been dating a guy for 2 years and has been living together for 2 years, and you happen to come upon them when they are in some sex act, which they’ve been doing for years. That would not qualify for second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter. There are some fine distinctions. A lot of it comes to down to a jury’s determination as to whether they think they have premeditation.
They have to determine whether the intent was thought out and planned, or was it on just the spur of the moment, because something incited such anger and fury than it would have in a normal person that lowers the severity of the penalty. The standard is applied when a reasonable person under those circumstances would have been so enraged that he momentarily loses ability to be more reasonable and just call the police, or deal with it that way.
Does Each Type Of Charge Whether It Be Homicide Or Murder Or Manslaughter, Have Its Own Subcategories?
Each type of charge has its own subcategories. There is first-degree murder and second-degree murder, or what used to be called voluntary manslaughter. Then you have reckless homicide, which is death caused in a reckless manner and wasn’t premeditated, such as the person that gets drunk and runs somebody over in the street. You weren’t trying to kill them, but the act of killing them was when the person was drunk and behind the wheel, instead of using ordinary care and caution, and staying out from behind the wheel. The minute you do that, you start driving drunk, you are opening yourself up to some very hard consequences. If you commit some horrible act while you were drunk, you can’t use drunkenness as a defense. There is no voluntary intoxication defense—that you were so drunk that you didn’t know any better, therefore shouldn’t be blamed for it. That defense is not valid and it will not work, otherwise everybody would say they were drunk and didn’t know what they were doing.
There isn’t any insanity defense anymore, either. Even if you are insane, they changed the statute so that you can’t get off on a murder charge on an insanity defense. The insanity defense used to be that you were found not guilty by reason of insanity, but the state has closed that loophole now. You can now be still found guilty, what is called guilty but mentally ill. Instead of going to regular prison, you go to a prison with a psych ward in it. There are different defenses, but you can’t voluntarily put yourself in a dangerous situation, where you have less control or ability to reason, and then avoid the long arm of the law.
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