Capital Murder and the Domestic Discount: A Study of Capital Domestic Murder in the Post Furman Era

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Southern Methodist Law Review, Vol: 49, Page: 1507

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Rapaport, Elizabeth
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In this Article I will challenge the tendency to discount the severity of domestic homicide, a phenomenon I call "the domestic discount." I will argue against automatic mitigation-the imputation of provocation or diminished capacity-simply or merely because the relationship" between victim and defendant is domestic or sexually intimate. I will argue that the traditional hot blood/cold blood dichotomy is an imperfect guide to the moral grading of homicide offenses. In particular, reliance on it has led to the under evaluation of the seriousness of some domestic homicides. It is my contention, or hypothesis, that the conclusions I draw from the study of capital domestic cases can be generalized to the entire domain of domestic homicides: If homicide laws were purged of patriarchal values, the remaining principles that underlie our grading of homicide offenses would be consistent with the rejection of a domestic discount; the worst domestic murders like the worst predatory murders would rank among the most reprehensible crimes.