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Basic Information

Homicide is the act of killing a human being. It includes the crimes of Murder and Manslaughter, as well as non-criminal killings such as those covered by the self-defense plea, the insanity defense, or homicide committed under duress.

Suicide is not generally considered a criminal form of homicide, but prior to 1870, felo-de-se was.

In many times and places a homicide charge may also be disputed by a defence that the accused had legal authority to kill the victim.



Game and Story Use

  • Sometimes, figuring out whether or not a killing was actually murder is as important as figuring out who did it, and how.
  • In a medieval setting a feudal lord accused of murdering one of his tenants defends himself with the assertion that the deceased was a serf and, as his landlord, the killer possessed rights of High Justice over him. The dead man's relatives assert that the man was in fact free and thus exempt from such 'summary justice' … cases like this could be surprisingly hard to resolve.
    • There may even be an argument of due process - perhaps as a last minute save by a PC lawyer - even if they cannot prove that the dead man was free and therefore cannot definitively prove that the landlord did not have rights of high justice over him, the landlord may be convicted of murder simply on the basis that he didn't convene the manor court to condemn the man.
  • In a sci-fi setting, someone is accused of killing a Sapient AI by destroying a storage device on which crucial parts of it were stored. This case could be even more exciting as AI rights activists seek to make a political point in parralel. Was the AI actually sapient? Is it actually dead? Did the accused scrap the device with the intent to harm the AI? Did he even know it was resident there? Did someone else tell him to carry out the destruction and if so, does that absolve him? Does the case cross jurisdictions with different AI rights in each? Perhaps anti-AI groups will weigh in on his behalf whether he's guilty or not … which might not help his case.
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