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Commonwealth v Schnopps Case - Essay Example

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Commonwealth v Schnopps Case

Schnopps was convicted by a jury on murder in the first degree and was thus sentenced to the mandatory term of life imprisonment. On appeal against his conviction, Schnopps argued that the trial judge failed to instruct the jury on voluntary manslaughter. The appeal court sided with Schnopps argument and opined that: “Instructions on voluntary manslaughter must be given if there is evidence of provocation deemed adequate in law to cause the accused to lose his self-control in the heat of passion, and if the killing followed the provocation before sufficient time had elapsed for the accused's temper to cool”. (Commonwealth v. Schnopps, p.180) Basing voluntary manslaughter on the theory of provocation implies that an act of killing must have been committed in “a sudden transport of passion or heat of blood, upon a reasonable provocation and without malice, or upon sudden combat”. (Commonwealth v. Garabedian, (1987) p. 313) The success of Schnopps appeal for a conviction of voluntary manslaughter due to provocation establishes the principle that where there is reasonable evidence to show that a defendant had been reasonably provoked and had killed as a result of that provocation, a direction of voluntary manslaughter should be given to the jury. However, as established in Commonwealth v. Schopps, if enough time elapsed after the provocation to enable a cooling of temper, the act of killing could not be defended under the theory of voluntary manslaughter based on provocation. ...Show more


Commonwealth v. Schnopps is a case that involved the prosecution of a defendant – Mr George Schnopp – for killing his wife. This paper aims to briefly represent the most essential facts about the case along with further discussion about the court process…
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Commonwealth v Schnopps Case essay example
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