Friday, November 15, 2013

Commonwealth v. Mink case brief

Commonwealth v. Mink case brief summary
123 Mass. 422 (1877)

Defendant filed a bill of exceptions from the judgment of a trial court in the County of Middlesex (Massachusetts) that convicted her of manslaughter.

Defendant was engaged to the decedent. When the decedent expressed a desire to break off their engagement, defendant attempted to kill herself with a gun. The decedent struggled with defendant to gain control of the gun and was killed in the process.


  • The court overruled defendant's bill of exceptions because the act of attempting suicide was unlawful and the trial court properly instructed the jury that if a homicide was produced by the performance of an unlawful act, then defendant was guilty of manslaughter. 
  • The court determined that even though suicide was not technically a felony, suicide had not ceased to be unlawful and criminal in Massachusetts. 
  • Any person who killed another while attempting to do an unlawful act, although not intending another's death, was guilty of criminal homicide, or at the least, manslaughter.

The court overruled the bill of exceptions that was filed by defendant from her conviction for manslaughter.

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