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Second Degree Murder Replaces Voluntary Manslaughter in Illinois: Problems Solved, Problems Created

NCJ Number
Loyola University of Chicago Law Journal Volume: 19 Issue: 3 Dated: (Spring 1988) Pages: 995-1030
J B Haddad
Date Published
36 pages
In 1987 the Illinois legislature, in replacing the offense of murder with first degree murder and voluntary manslaughter with second degree murder, created new difficulties while solving old problems.
The new statute does not require an analytical shift in resolving problems that arise under either the new or the old versions of the statute. The new legislative provisions have been criticized on several counts. First, they create considerable complexity in jury instructions. Second, they give greater emphasis to first degree murder and delay discussion of second degree murder even when the court has determined that the evidence requires that both be considered. The structuring of the order of jury deliberations often results in hung juries. Other problems created by the legislative change include overcharging by the prosecution and the clear establishment of an effective date. The author concludes that changes in penal statutes always engender litigation. 145 footnotes.


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