Criminal Law Homicide Hypothetical June 17, 2016 by Black's Law Dictionary Arnold is the father of a seventeen-year-old daughter, Betty, whom he loves dearly. Arnold has never committed an act of violence toward any person. Nor does he generally favor such activities. However, Arnold believes that red-headed males possess an invisible germ that can kill non-[red-headed persons] with whom they have skin-to-skin contact. Arnold observes Betty talking to Carl, a red-headed friend. Carl is touching Betty’s hand. Arnold, fearful for his daughter’s life, tells Carl to let go of his daughter’s hand. Carl does so, looks at Arnold in bewilderment, and says to Betty, “What in the world is bothering your father?” Powerfully enraged by Carl’s lack of concern for his daughter’s safety, Arnold stabs Carl to death. Of what MPC homicide offense is Arnold guilty? Would your answer to these questions change if Arnold’s odd views related to Carl’s race, rather than to hair color? Based on the plain language of the statute, Arnold would be a candidate for mitigation to manslaughter because he truly believes his daughter’s life is in danger and Carl doesn’t care. I don’t think the answer would change if the weird belief were related to race. The reason we find regular, garden variety racism so despicable is that it reflects a belief that people in a certain group are inferior to my group. That’s not what Arnold would believe in this hypothetical. Arnold would believe that members of a certain race, presumably not on purpose, are not bad or inferior, but biologically dangerous. We don’t like racism in real life, but Arnold’s “racism” would be of a bizarre and very different type that won’t change the answer to this question.