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Criminal Procedure

2018

Law Faculty Articles and Essays

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The Heat Of Passion And Blameworthy Reasons To Be Angry, Jonathan Witmer-Rich Apr 2018

The Heat Of Passion And Blameworthy Reasons To Be Angry, Jonathan Witmer-Rich

Law Faculty Articles and Essays

This article seeks to resolve a longstanding conceptual puzzle plaguing the "heat of passion" doctrine--how courts should determine which features, beliefs, or characteristics of a defendant are properly relevant to assessing whether the defendant was sufficiently provoked, and which of those features should be disregarded. This article argues that provocation is not adequate if the reason the defendant became extremely angry is due to some blameworthy belief or attribute of the defendant. A belief is blameworthy if it contradicts the fundamental values of the political community. The blameworthiness principle distinguishes those aspects of the defendant that cannot form a basis ...