A: So, youâ€™re in a bit of a dilemma. You have this, uh, friend. Yeah, thatâ€™s it - a friend. Heâ€™s gotten himself into a little bit of a, um, predicament. He just needs some legal advice, thatâ€™s all. For those trying to discern between the two, thereâ€™s a quick trick for telling the difference between murder and manslaughter.
If your friend planned the crime ahead of time, itâ€™s murder. You see, most of the worldâ€™s legal systems distinguish between cold-blooded killings, crimes of passion, and accidental (but still unlawful) deaths. In America, â€śmurderâ€ť applies to carefully pre-planned deaths, such as a mafia hit. â€śVoluntary manslaughter,â€ť on the other hand, is whatâ€™s committed when, for example, a husband catches his wife in bed with a tennis pro and snaps.
A third category, â€śinvoluntary manslaughter,â€ť covers situations in which the death is neither pre-planned nor intentional. For instance, convincing your buddy that riding his bike off a cliff would be a totally rad idea.
Criminal law still differs widely from nation to nation. In Japan, the worst sentences are reserved for people who kill their own descendants, while in Italy a punishment can actually be lessened if the killer can prove that he acted to avenge his honor.