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Rowland v. State

Rowland v. State

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Rowland v. State

Hofstra Law School, Prof. Burke
Fall 2008

Criminal Law: Cases and Materials, Kaplan, Weisberg, Binder, 6th Edition.
Rowland v. State

Hofstra Law School, Prof. Burke
Fall 2008

Criminal Law: Cases and Materials, Kaplan, Weisberg, Binder, 6th Edition.

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Published by: crlstinaaa on Jan 12, 2009
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03/06/2013

 
 Adultery and other "Adequate Provocations"
Case:
 
 Rowland v. State
, 35 So. 826(1904) [p 350-351] Summary: Rowland catches his wife committing adultery, and shootsthe guy, butkills her instead. The jury instruction from the lower court said that "murder is the killing of a human being without authority of law, . . . ,when done with the deliberate design to effect the death of the person killed." Rowland was convicted of murder and appealed. This court explained that the charge should be reduced to manslaughter, because thecommon law stated that adultery is adequate provocation and so the killed was justifiable.
Class Notes
Common law - adultery is provocation.
As a matter of law, the uncontested facts of this case say that its manslaughter, not murder. Because theintent to kill was formed as a result of catching his wife in the act of adultery.
 _________________________________________ 
 
Notes
: [p. 352-358]
Trend is to relax categorical rules - Previously, the provocation by adultery required proof that Δ actuallywitnessed the physical act of intercourse. But by 19th century, a more realistic view of provocation wastaken by the courts:
o
 Price v. State
(1885) - held that positive proof the Δ actually witnessed the act are not required,and are rarely attainable. As a crime, adultery can be proven by circumstantial testimony. Like, if it's really obvious what was going on - there would be no other reason for a man to be in wife's bed with her, etc.
o
 Elsmore v. State
(1937) - victim was publicly cursing and threatening Δ. When victim startedgetting drunk and violent, Δ shot him to death. Held that insulting words or gestures might besufficient to constitute adequate cause (provocation) - if the words or gestures would commonly produce a degree of anger, rage, resentment, or terror in a person of ordinary temper sufficient torender the mind incapable of cool reflection is manslaughter.
State v. Yanz 
(1901) - Δ was mistaken about the adultery - he caught his wife with another under compromising circumstances, but he was actually wrong. Held that since it was reasonable for him to believe she was committing adultery, still sufficient provocation because it creates the same emotions asthe wrongful act would.
Carter v. State
(2002) - Δ intended to kill one person (who sufficiently provoked Δ), but instead kills the provoker, and in the course of the encounter, another person. He was convicted of intentional murder onthe second killing, but voluntary manslaughter on the first. This is because of "transferred intent" - whenkiller intends to kill one person, but in the course of the action kills another, the mens rea of intent istransferred to the second killing. The first killing was ameliorated by the heat of passion justification, but not the second. 
Class Notes
CL: Categorical, "rule-based"
o
There was a rule - what impassioned a reasonable person to kill
o
They listed what those provocations were
Adultery
 physical assault or attack on Δ (not including self-defense) or Δ's family member 
Mutual combat - thought to be mutual decision to fight to the death
These are about pride/honor. Not about force necessary. Being a man, necessary to protect price (old-fashioned male pride). It reflects the times.
Old case - considered adultery as the highest invasion of a man's property. Andonly gave a very small punishment.

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