A: So, you’re in a bit of a dilemma. You have this, uh, friend. Yeah, that’s it – a friend. He’s gotten himself into a little bit of a, um, predicament. He just needs some legal advice, that’s all. For those trying to discern between the two, there’s a quick trick for telling the difference between murder and manslaughter.
If your friend planned the crime ahead of time, it’s murder. You see, most of the world’s legal systems distinguish between cold-blooded killings, crimes of passion, and accidental (but still unlawful) deaths. In America, “murder” applies to carefully pre-planned deaths, such as a mafia hit. “Voluntary manslaughter,” on the other hand, is what’s committed when, for example, a husband catches his wife in bed with a tennis pro and snaps.
A third category, “involuntary manslaughter,” 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.