Adjudicating Child Homicide Cases Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

maintain that the more common situations of child homicide arise not out of the intent to kill the child; rather it is the end result of harsh punishment. Based on this reasoning, such offenders should not be handled in criminal courts and the offenses should be criminal offenses, but rather the cases should be handled in juvenile and domestic relations courts. To determine the whether this reasoning is sound, this paper reviews the relevant literature concerning child homicide and intent, followed by a summary of the research and important findings in the conclusion about these issues.

The recent high-profile case of Minnesota Vikings football star Adrian Peterson concerning charges that he inadvertently injured his 4-year-old son while physically disciplining him drives home the points that anyone can make a terrible and irrevocable mistake in the heat of passion and, that compared to young children, adults are veritable super-giants that can easily exert their will on them. These two points are also at the heart of the debate over home child homicide defendants should be adjudicated by the courts. As Pritchard (2000) emphasizes, "Because child homicide is statistically so rare (a very large number of those in the risk groups do not kill or injure children), it is virtually impossible to devise predictive guidelines, or describe typical child homicide assailants" (p. 125). In fact, Pritchard points out that because of the rarity of the crime

According to Black's Law Dictionary (1990), homicide is "the killing of one human being by the act, procurement or admission of another; a person is guilty of criminal homicide if he purposely, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently causes the death of another human being" (p. 734). In addition, charges for criminal homicide can range from murder, to manslaughter or negligent homicide, each with its own defining characteristics and burden of proof (Black's, 1990). In the case of child homicide, it is fairly straightforward to understand -- which is not to say approve --…

Sources Used in Document:


Black's law dictionary. (1990). St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Co.

Pritchard, C. (2004). The child abusers: Research and controversy. Maidenhead, England: Open

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