Wrongful Intent

In the question, whether wrongful intent should be necessary of any (or some) findings of legal responsibility. I think that it should be necessary on all occasions. I feel that the law also agrees that wrongful intent should always be considered. For example, there are times when someone is brought upon charges for murder and the courts take into consideration things such as, deliberation and planning. If the legal system did not take into consideration wrongful intent, I do not think that they would consider if acts, such as murder, were deliberate and planned.

In addition, while I do think that wrongful intent should always be considered. I do think that there are instances where we do no find people “guilty” of legal wrong doings because of the lack of intent; for example, the idea of insanity or knowing right from wrong. When we think of the mentally insane we do not always find that they had wrongful intentions, and although these people may have committed acts that defy the legal responsibility. However, even in these cases they can sometime not be found responsible because of the lack of intent. This to me is also evident when children commit crimes. The children are sometimes asked if they understand right from wrong, to me trying to show if they had ill intent in committing a crime. With this idea I believe that we see again the fact that the law finds it necessary to have intent.

As mentioned before, the wrongful intent being necessary is, to me, seen the most in murder investigations and cases. We often watch shows, either fictional or non-fictional, and even news stories when we hear about detectives looking for intent. It is showcased that once the detectives can find intent for a murder it can only strengthen a case against someone. I believe that the law itself emphasizes the importance of wrongful intent.

In addition, I feel that when it comes to moral responsibility that wrongful intent cannot always be a factor or necessary. I think that something as far as morals has the potential to be so vastly different from person to person that you can’t always hold them morally responsible. An example I can think of is Dr. Kevorkian, who truly believed that his mercy killings, to put people out of “misery”, by killing them was a perfectly ok. I think that at some point while punishable by law, it may not be seen as morally wrong. Some may argue that he had no ill intent behind his murders.

In all, I think that wrongful intentions will always be important when it comes to the dealings of legal and moral responsibilities. After all, I believe this is why we ask the question, “why” when bad things are done.

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About fordcn

I am a senior at Vanderbilt University majoring in Philosophy and minoring in English. I am on the pre-law track, hence the blog name lawlitphil, representing my three academic interest! This blog will consist heavily on a class I am curently taking called Modern Philosophy of the Law, however I am also taking Literature and the Law which I am sure will sometimes come up! Enjoy!

One thought on “Wrongful Intent

  1. Wrongful intent must be taken into consideration in legal findings. As fordcn stated above, it is often used in cases involving murder charges. For instance, a case that could appear from the surface as murder could have been a completely innocent hunting accident. If wrongful intent is not taken into consideration, it is possible that the defendant could spend life in prison. Whereas if wrongful intent is considered the punishment could be minimal. Contrarily, I do believe that the amount of honest pleas for wrongful intent are far less than the amount of people that are guilty of a crime and argue wrongful intent. This is why some charges are considered on a strict-liability basis.

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