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Join the conversation! There are now 4 comments on “Mens Rea pg 12 – Accident
  1. Huxley says

    Awesome comic, keep it up!.
    tl:dr: dad forgets child in car seat, child dies. Involuntary manslaughter charge (but not convicted yet).

    This has always bothered me. What purpose does this punishment serve (assuming he receive that conviction)? You can’t rehabilitate his forgetfulness. You can’t deter others from doing something they don’t intent to. Perhaps to remove a danger from society (a person who forgets things..)? He had no intention of doing what he did.

    I don’t quite see how this is all that different from your artichoke allergic baby example?

    • It’s the difference between “you should have been more careful, but you weren’t,” which is punishable, and “you can’t be expected to have known that,” which is not punishable.

      • Isn’t having your baby die a punishment?
        (Yes I do see the potential loophole then if somebody does want to kill their child)

        • Criminal punishment is something the State does to you. Not something you do to yourself. See REGRET.

          (That’s not to say “he’s suffered enough” isn’t a valid argument to make at sentencing, however.)

          As an exercise, pretend he’s just been found guilty of criminally negligent homicide in a state with a maximum sentence of 5 years, and no minimum. Considering the various purposes of punishment, and any facts you think are relevant, come up with sentencing arguments as the prosecutor and then as the defense attorney.

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