MISC: Latest season of CSI: New York

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Wed Jun 24 16:53:41 PDT 2009

Rob Rogers replied to Martin, with a quote from the 'Permanent Damage' column:
>                                                          interesting
> jurisprudence questions for superhero universe mavens: if a character 
> is murdered but comes back from the dead, is his murderer still guilty 
> of murder?  If still guilty, can his murderer then freely murder him 
> again under shield of double jeopardy? (You theoretically can't be 
> tried twice for the same crime, a legal principle prosecutors have 
> been trying to make hash of for decades now.) 
I submit that double jeopardy wouldn't be applicable in such a case.  
Don't think of it specifically as 'an act of murder', because in our 
world that's a crime that can only be committed against someone once 
and that's muddying the thinking.  Instead, think of it more generically 
as multiple instances of the same type of crime.  Therefore in a 
superhero setting where coming back from the dead is common then 
multiple acts of murder against someone should be counted serially, 
the same that other consecutively committed examples of the same crime 
would be.
The notion of whether guilt from a murder can be legally abrogated by 
the victim returning from the dead is slightly trickier.  The prosecution 
would have to prove that the fact that the victim is alive *now* is not 
due to some flaw in the murder attempt (in which case it would become a 
case of attempted murder), but rather that the circumstances of the 
victim's return (not just survival) is due to factors completely 
unrelated to the killing.
In a setting where this is only just starting to be relevent then the 
problem would be arguing the case and getting the court to accept that 
you can have multiple counts of murder in the same way that you can have 
multiple counts of assault, or multiple counts of possesion, or whatever. 
Which, yes, is prime _Superfreaks_ material.  However once the principle 
is established in legal precedent then it's a relatively straightforward 
matter.  OTOH you could have endless fun with legal counterclaims about 
whether an extant charge of murder should stick post the victim's 
Saxon Brenton   University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia 
     saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
"These 'no-nonsense' solutions of yours just don't hold water in a complex 
world of jet-powered apes and time-travel." - Superman, JLA Classified #3
POP access for Hotmail is here! Click here to find out more

More information about the racc mailing list