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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Crimes of Passion

So I’m in the grocery store yesterday, in a line whose length rivaled those on blizzard, panic shopping days. What to do, what to do? My eye was caught by a People Mag cover and yes, mon ami, I picked that rag up.

It was their Crimes of Passion issue. Now, for starters, WHAT a colossally soap opera-ishly, over dramatic, faux romance bullshit term! It makes murder sound all flowery and unavoidable.

What's the definition of Crime of Passion? Is there one outside of Hollywood's generous illustrations?

From Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
A crime committed while in the throes of passion, with no opportunity to reflect on what is happening and what the person is about to do. For example, a husband who discovers his wife in bed with a lover and who attacks and kills the lover in a blind rage has committed a crime of passion. Because the husband has been overcome with emotion, he lacks the specific intent to kill, which is necessary for a conviction of murder. If a jury believes that he acted in the heat of passion, they will convict him only of manslaughter, which does not require an intent to kill. (See also: manslaughter, specific intent)
 Free Dictionary.com adds
...sometimes called the "Law of Texas" since juries in that state are supposedly lenient to cuckolded lovers who wreak their own vengeance.

A more apt term might be the Stratospherically-Immature-Idiot-With-Zero-Impulse-Control defense. Yes, we've all acted badly when affairs have gone off the rails—OK, I have. In my long ago dark past I've said things I shouldn't have, done some crazy drunk dialing and been a real jerk BUT:
  • no murders (yea me, I get a gold star, eh?)
  • I knew that I'd behaved badly, apologized and then worked very hard to grow the fuck up. You know, maturity, got some.
People goes wide and includes any murder (attempted or completed) where marriage or just plain old sexy time is part of the scenario. Of course they do, they’re trying to sell product and sex, with a side of violence sells BIG.

Still you’d think they’d leave out the murders that were crystal clearly NOT done in the heat of passion. Nope, the editors included Laci Peterson, Nicole Brown Simpson, Gregg Smart and Dan and Linda Broderick’s murders and more. These were MOST def NOT heat of the moment killings. Just like astronaut Lisa Nowak’s case, they all included a shit-ton of planning. 

Romanticizing/glamorizing murder, giving yourself permission to kill based on your fee fees being crushed (Simpson, Broderick) or a wickedly late in the game change of heart about parenthood (Peterson) or just being afraid you'll lose the house and dog in the divorce (Pam Smart) is the stuff of insanely high drama and Shakespeare covered that already. K?

One of the very few real heat of the moment crimes mentioned was the Lorena and abusive hubby Wayne Bobbitt incident. You know, where she cut off his dick after he raped her.
This year marks 20 years since she was found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity. Jurors agreed an 'irresistible impulse' provoked by abuse led her to attack her husband.
Despite being raped and battered she, after calming down a smidge, realized what she'd done and felt bad. Lorena called 911 which saved Wayne's life and made his future as a porn "star" possible.

Pro-tip: If there’s been prep, an outline’s been sketched out, plans have been drawn, then it wasn’t a crime of passion.

Just so’s ya know.

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