Originally Posted by Inspired
I think you guys need to understand the law between manslaughter and murder.
Voluntary manslaughter is the killing of a human being in which the offender had no prior intent to kill and acted during "the heat of passion," under circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to become emotionally or mentally disturbed.
Voluntary manslaughter. This is often called a "heat of passion" crime. Voluntary manslaughter arises when a person is suddenly provoked (in circumstances which are likely to provoke many reasonable people) and kills in the heat of passion aroused by that provocation. That the killing is not considered first or second degree murder is a concession to human weakness. Killers who act in the heat of passion may kill intentionally, but the emotional context prevents them from having the ability to fully control their behavior. As a result, the heat of passion reduces their moral blameworthiness.
The common example of voluntary manslaughter involves a husband who comes home unexpectedly to find his wife committing adultery. If the husband is provoked into such a heat of passion that he kills the paramour right then and there, a judge or jury might very well consider the killing to be voluntary manslaughter.
Second-degree murder is ordinarily defined as an intentional killing that is not premeditated or planned, nor committed in a reasonable "heat of passion"
Facts: Standing next to each other in a bookstore a few feet away from the top of a flight of stairs, Marks and Spencer argue over the proper interpretation of free will in Hobbes's philosophy. The argument becomes increasingly animated and culminates when Spencer points a finger at Marks and Marks pushes Spencer backwards. The push is hard enough to cause Spencer to fall backwards and down the stairs. Spencer dies from the resulting injuries.
Verdict: Marks would probably be guilty of involuntary manslaughter. It was criminally negligent of Marks to shove a person standing near the top of a stairway. But circumstances don't suggest that Marks's behavior was so reckless as to demonstrate extreme indifference to human life, which would have elevated the crime to second degree murder.
Seriously. I gotta consider trolling someone in real life now after this incident.
I still think this should qualify as second degree murder, I think it's reasonable to conclude that his intent was to cause profound physical injury, which could (and did) lead to the mans death, therefore I believe second degree murder should have been the charge.