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  1. #1
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    Default Homicide charges when bullying leads to suicide?


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    If bullying results in a suicide should the bullies be charged with manslaughter or even murder if they knew the victim was suicidal?

    Also should a bully be received a harsher punishment if their victims kill themselves with the victim's suicide being an aggravating factor?

    If bullied could be charged with murder/manslaughter if their victim's kill themselves could bullying be deterred?

    My view is that if a bully knows that their victim is suicidal, but keeps doing then there should be homicide charges or at the every release a harsher punishment if harassment and bullying charges are filed.


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    Default Re: Homicide charges when bullying leads to suicide?

    If the bully knows what he is doing, and that the victim is at risk of suicide, then I think a murder is an acceptable charge given the circumstance is appropriate. For example, that the victim did not suicide due to other reason.

    If the bully didn't know, but his act did cause the suicide, then manslaughter seems appropriate.

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    Default Re: Homicide charges when bullying leads to suicide?

    If they knew their actions were very likely to lead to the other person's suicide then it should be a charge of criminally negligent homicide. If it was a misplaced comment that they had no idea would lead to their suicide, there should be no punishment, or probation at the very worst.
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    Default Re: Homicide charges when bullying leads to suicide?

    Quote Originally Posted by EASJR1991 View Post
    If bullying results in a suicide should the bullies be charged with manslaughter or even murder if they knew the victim was suicidal?
    It would take a lot to persuade me.

    I'd also be curious to know how you will prove the bully knew the suicide was suicidal. At the very least, i would think you would have to prove the suicide was insane and so had no control of their actions.

    Aren't there already other punishments for bullying? Are they not sufficient?
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    Default Re: Homicide charges when bullying leads to suicide?

    I think they should be charged with murder or manslaughter. If you hurt someone enough to the point where they feel that they're nothing and never will be anything because of what you've done to them, and they kill themselves, then you should be put in prison for a good long time. No one should be bullied in the first place. If only the people that were being bullied knew how to fight back against them.
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    Default Re: Homicide charges when bullying leads to suicide?

    Quote Originally Posted by EASJR1991
    My view is that if a bully knows that their victim is suicidal, but keeps doing then there should be homicide charges or at the every release a harsher punishment if harassment and bullying charges are filed.
    Quote Originally Posted by rebellious_ex
    If the bully knows what he is doing, and that the victim is at risk of suicide, then I think a murder is an acceptable charge given the circumstance is appropriate. For example, that the victim did not suicide due to other reason.

    If the bully didn't know, but his act did cause the suicide, then manslaughter seems appropriate.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheRighteous
    If they knew their actions were very likely to lead to the other person's suicide then it should be a charge of criminally negligent homicide. If it was a misplaced comment that they had no idea would lead to their suicide, there should be no punishment, or probation at the very worst.
    Quote Originally Posted by Klrvette
    I think they should be charged with murder or manslaughter. If you hurt someone enough to the point where they feel that they're nothing and never will be anything because of what you've done to them, and they kill themselves, then you should be put in prison for a good long time.
    I'm not defending bullying, but have you people thought this through?

    If one of the members of govteen killed themselves, many of you (us) would, by your standards, be liable to criminal charges. If you've made fun of a poster, mocked their opinion, and so forth, and they are so upset over this that they kill themselves, do you think a charge of manslaughter or reckless homicide is approporiate? Please.

    Bullying someone is bad, and I suppose that if I could be persuaded that a person bullied with the expectation that his/her victim was likely to commit suicide, I might think there was a case - though even them I'm doubtful I would go beyond the civil penalties that can be applied to bullying.

    Bottom line - you can't make all bad/intolerent/insensitive/crude behavior criminal.
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    Default Re: Homicide charges when bullying leads to suicide?

    Quote Originally Posted by standardstate View Post
    If one of the members of govteen killed themselves, many of you (us) would, by your standards, be liable to criminal charges. If you've made fun of a poster, mocked their opinion, and so forth, and they are so upset over this that they kill themselves, do you think a charge of manslaughter or reckless homicide is approporiate? Please.
    You seem to have raised two issues in your scenario which seem to make it inappropriate to charge the accused with homocide, namely:

    1. It occured over the internet.
    2. The victim is overly sensitive.

    Needless the say the first issue is not really an issue. Cybercrimes shouldn't be seen any less serious than traditional crimes. Had I did something criminal to a random person on the street as oppose to a random govteener, I should be seen no differently from a legal perspective.

    With regard to the second issue, there is a legal doctrine called the eggshell skull rule which I think should apply in this case. Under this rule, an accused is responsible to the damages he makes even if the damages arose because of some pre-existing weaknesses on the part of the victim. That is, a victim's skull is made of eggshell, an accused criminally assault this person's head very gently and should the victim suffer greatly as a result, the accused shall be responsible for the whole damage. I think this is a reasonable principle in criminal law because if a person decides to do something maliciously, criminally and immorally, the burden of expecting the worst case scenario rests on him. So, as per your scenario, if a govteener bullies another, and that person committed suicide, and give that other relevant circumstance is present, a charge of murder is appropriate irregardless of the fact that the victim may be overreacting.

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    Default Re: Homicide charges when bullying leads to suicide?

    In real-life, it doesn't really work. You can't prove it. If Tom bullies Jimmy and 24 hours later, he commits suicide, how exactly do you empirically link the suicide to bullying?
    Unless the situation is actually where the victim is being encouraged to commit suicide and say, locked in a room or backed into a corner, you just can't link the two together.

    To make a charge of homicide stick you must be able to prove intent and that's not even counting other possibly mitigating factors, like the victim being mentally impaired at the time of suicide, etc etc
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    Default Re: Homicide charges when bullying leads to suicide?

    Quote Originally Posted by rebellious_ex View Post
    You seem to have raised two issues in your scenario which seem to make it inappropriate to charge the accused with homocide, namely:

    1. It occured over the internet.
    2. The victim is overly sensitive.
    You've missed my point. That it happened to use internet bullying is irrelevant to what I was trying to say - which was that I don't see (except perhaps under highly restrictive circumstances) a good reason to make bullying that leads to suicide grounds for murder or manslaughter charges.

    Needless the say the first issue is not really an issue. Cybercrimes shouldn't be seen any less serious than traditional crimes.
    Which is why I used it as my example.

    In regard to the second issue, there is a legal doctrine called the eggshell skull rule
    That there is a name for the legal doctrine doesn't mean anything. Is the "eggshell doctrine" commonly used? If so, where? It surely doesn't seem to be the case.

    If I say "boo" to someone and they have a heart attack and die, your legal doctrine would justify murder charges against me. i doubt very much that would happen.
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    Default Re: Homicide charges when bullying leads to suicide?

    Murder? Definitely not.

    Manslaughter? Perhaps, but I am not sure of the criteria which would be required to gauge whether the "bullying" was "unreasonable".

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    Default Re: Homicide charges when bullying leads to suicide?

    Quote Originally Posted by standardstate View Post
    That there is a name for the legal doctrine doesn't mean anything. Is the "eggshell doctrine" commonly used? If so, where? It surely doesn't seem to be the case.
    It is adopted in most common law countries, including australia, uk and hong kong although i am not so sure about the us. Of course, it shouldn't be accepted just because it exist, I've explained why I think it is a reasonable princple, that is, someone who does something criminal, malicious and immoral should bear the burden of expecting the worst case scenario. In this case, the bully, who chooses to maliciously harm someone, should bear responsibility if a worst-case outcome is realised.

    In addition, I would expect that the bullying that is sufficient for a homicide charge needs to be adequately serious. If, say, I simply criticise someone in a govteen debate, and that person commits suicide because he can't take it, there wouldn't be sufficient causation for me to be charged, since I am not the operative cause of his suicide. Making criticism, opinions (sometimes reasonably harshly) ...etc. are considered to be normal everyday social interactions, even if I do not critcise this govteener in the debate, someone else, through the course of everyday social interaction, may well make similar criticisms and caused him to suicide. So the sort of bullying I am concern about needs to be serious and beyond the sort of everyday interaction we are expected to face.

    If I say "boo" to someone and they have a heart attack and die, your legal doctrine would justify murder charges against me. i doubt very much that would happen.
    You'd be surprise that this does happen. I've heard of a case in Hong Kong where two teenagers scared a friend with heartattack to death in a camping trip, both were charged with manslaughter. Unfortunately I am unable to google the case out, but I've found a similar case in the US involving a robber being convicted for scaring an old woman to death . Police: Robber scared grandmother to death - U.S. news - Crime & courts - msnbc.com

    My question to you is if someone does die after you scared him, then who is responsible for that death? Surely you can't blame a person for having weak heart, just as you can't defend yourself in a car collision case by saying "it is the guy's fault for being paraplegic, normal people would have been able to dodge my car".

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    Default Re: Homicide charges when bullying leads to suicide?

    Murder - almost definitely not. Very difficult to see how murder might be appropriate.
    Manslaughter - possibly, in theory, but I imagine this would almost never be appropriate in practice and even in cases where it would be appropriate, I imagine manslaughter would be very difficult to make out.
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    Default Re: Homicide charges when bullying leads to suicide?

    Quote Originally Posted by rebellious_ex View Post
    You seem to have raised two issues in your scenario which seem to make it inappropriate to charge the accused with homocide, namely:

    1. It occured over the internet.
    2. The victim is overly sensitive.

    Needless the say the first issue is not really an issue. Cybercrimes shouldn't be seen any less serious than traditional crimes. Had I did something criminal to a random person on the street as oppose to a random govteener, I should be seen no differently from a legal perspective.

    With regard to the second issue, there is a legal doctrine called the eggshell skull rule which I think should apply in this case. Under this rule, an accused is responsible to the damages he makes even if the damages arose because of some pre-existing weaknesses on the part of the victim. That is, a victim's skull is made of eggshell, an accused criminally assault this person's head very gently and should the victim suffer greatly as a result, the accused shall be responsible for the whole damage. I think this is a reasonable principle in criminal law because if a person decides to do something maliciously, criminally and immorally, the burden of expecting the worst case scenario rests on him. So, as per your scenario, if a govteener bullies another, and that person committed suicide, and give that other relevant circumstance is present, a charge of murder is appropriate irregardless of the fact that the victim may be overreacting.
    Uhh, well you're technically right in a lot of what you say here but you're ignoring a lot of problems and thinking about the law a little too inflexibly...

    First of all, you have to remember that the standards for murder or manslaughter are a little more stringent than "there was some chance he might kill himself if he were insulted and the accused was aware of that possibility"... Though you've sort of stated the eggshell skull rule correctly, it's not really relevant. Murder has very specific elements in almost all jurisdictions, they can't be loosened in the way you are saying by the eggshell skull rule. Let's look at murder for example, a basic definition of which would be something like an act causing death, done with an intent to kill or cause serious bodily harm. As you can see the eggshell skull rule is pretty much irrelevant - it has no bearing on whether there was an act and no bearing on the intent of the accused... The only possible relevance might be to loosen standards for causation, e.g. the fact that he committed suicide rather than being stabbed or shot does not break causation because you take your victim as you find them. In any case, in 99.999% of cases it would be almost impossible to show this kind of intent on the part of a bully... Murder is entirely inappropriate.

    Even manslaughter would only be made out in very extreme cases, I think. It seems to me like in most cases the only grounds for manslaughter would be criminal negligence on the part of the bully. In my opinion, in this case, the bully would have to know that the person being bullied was suicidal or depressed, or in some such mental state that made him especially vulnerable, AND that as a result there was a high chance he would kill himself or severely harm himself because of the bullying. In this regard, your point about the internet is (though again technically true) not really accurate. Since we don't really know anybody on the internet, it's very doubtful that a reasonable judge could be satisfied that a govteen poster who insulted some random member meets the criteria for criminal negligence.

    There are some cases where manslaughter might be appropriate, but very rarely imo...
    "[T]oo many had suddenly stormed to his coffin, crying, sobbing, screaming in a wild explosion of despair. It was almost a riot, a fury. All order was overturned through a sort of elemental ecstatic mourning such as I have never seen before or since at a funeral. And it was this gigantic outpouring of grief from the depths of millions of souls that caused me to realise for the first time how much passion and hope this lone and lonesome man had borne into the world through the power of a single idea."

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    Default Re: Homicide charges when bullying leads to suicide?

    Quote Originally Posted by rebellious_ex View Post
    It is adopted in most common law countries, including australia, uk and hong kong although i am not so sure about the us.
    That is pretty meaningless.

    To use my previous example, if I say "boo" to a person, and they drop dead of a heart attack, that would fall under your "eggshell skull" rule. Am I really supposed to believe that if that happens in the uk (and there are no additional added circumstances besides the ones I've given)I will be prosecuted for murder? You'll have to provide a few examples to convince me.

    Of course, it shouldn't be accepted just because it exist, I've explained why I think it is a reasonable princple, that is, someone who does something criminal, malicious and immoral should bear the burden of expecting the worst case scenario.
    And I have explained that I don't believe all criminal, malicious, and immoral" behavior should be criminalized. Absent a proof for either position I don't see anything productive coming from this.

    (By the way, if my failure to be persuaded by your argument causes you to do yourself in, keep in mind that I live in the us and will likely not be subject to prosecution under your legal doctrine.)

    In this case, the bully, who chooses to maliciously harm someone, should bear responsibility if a worst-case outcome is realised.
    I disagree, and, more to the point, the laws (at least in the us) indicate disagreement as well. There is a difference between killing someone by carelessness (in which case you might be prosecuted for manslaughter or reckless homicide) and a calculated murder (in which case you could be prosecuted for murder). Both victims are equally dead, so why the difference in charges? I suspect because the law takes your eggshell doctrine with several grains of salt.

    In addition, I would expect that the bullying that is sufficient for a homicide charge needs to be adequately serious.
    Not if your eggshell standard is used.

    This is like saying I would assume anyone the police arrest is guilty, or why would they arrest them?

    If, say, I simply criticise someone in a govteen debate, and that person commits suicide because he can't take it, there wouldn't be sufficient causation for me to be charged, since I am not the operative cause of his suicide.
    What if he mentions your criticism as the proximate cause of his suicide (criticism has been the supposed cause of death form some artists and scientists, such as boltzmann)? Your doctrine is...

    With regard to the second issue, there is a legal doctrine called the eggshell skull rule which I think should apply in this case. Under this rule, an accused is responsible to the damages he makes even if the damages arose because of some pre-existing weaknesses on the part of the victim. That is, a victim's skull is made of eggshell, an accused criminally assault this person's head very gently and should the victim suffer greatly as a result, the accused shall be responsible for the whole damage.

    You are, by this doctrine, responsible for "the whole damage".

    Now, you don't have to worry about me, but there may well be members more sensitive to criticism...

    Making criticism, opinions (sometimes reasonably harshly) ...etc. are considered to be normal everyday social interactions, even if I do not critcise this govteener in the debate, someone else, through the course of everyday social interaction, may well make similar criticisms and caused him to suicide. So the sort of bullying I am concern about needs to be serious and beyond the sort of everyday interaction we are expected to face.
    That doesn't help if you use your standard above. There is no exception that I see for "reasonably harsh" criticism.
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    Default Re: Homicide charges when bullying leads to suicide?

    negligent homicide or accidental manslaughter perhaps? depends on the situation, but some form of punishment is certainly appropriate.

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