7 LONG TITLE
8 General Description:
9 This bill amends the circumstances under which special mitigation is applicable to
10 reduce the level of a criminal homicide offense.
11 Highlighted Provisions:
12 This bill:
13 ▸ establishes circumstances under which a defendant experiences extreme emotional
15 ▸ establishes circumstances under which special mitigation for extreme emotional
16 distress is not applicable to a defendant charged with criminal homicide;
17 ▸ provides that if a jury is unable to unanimously agree that special mitigation for
18 criminal homicide has been established, the jury shall convict a defendant of the
19 greater offense that was proven beyond a reasonable doubt; and
20 ▸ makes technical changes.
21 Money Appropriated in this Bill:
23 Other Special Clauses:
25 Utah Code Sections Affected:
27 76-5-205.5, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2009, Chapter 206
29 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
30 Section 1. Section 76-5-205.5 is amended to read:
31 76-5-205.5. Special mitigation reducing the level of criminal homicide offense --
32 Burden of proof -- Application to reduce offense.
33 (1) Special mitigation exists when the actor causes the death of another or attempts to
34 cause the death of another:
35 (a) (i) under circumstances that are not legally justified, but the actor acts under a
36 delusion attributable to a mental illness as defined in Section 76-2-305;
37 (ii) the nature of the delusion is such that, if the facts existed as the [
38 believed them to be in the delusional state, those facts would provide a legal justification for
39 the [
40 (iii) the [
41 objective viewpoint of a reasonable person; or
42 (b) under the influence of extreme emotional distress for which there is a reasonable
43 explanation or excuse.
44 (2) (a) Except as provided in Subsections (2)(b) and (c), an actor is under the influence
45 of extreme emotional distress for which there is a reasonable explanation or excuse under
46 Subsection (1)(b) if:
47 (i) the actor experiences:
48 (A) extremely unusual and overwhelming stress immediately after and solely as a result
49 of a highly provoking act of the victim; and
50 (B) a loss of self-control as a result of the stress described in Subsection (2)(a)(i)(A)
51 that is not regained before the actor commits the offense;
52 (ii) a reasonable person under the circumstances described in Subsection (2)(a)(i)(A)
53 would have experienced a loss of self-control; and
54 (iii) the time period after the circumstances described in Subsection (2)(a)(i) and before
55 the commission of the offense was not long enough for a reasonable person under the same
56 circumstances to have regained self-control.
57 (b) Under Subsection (1)(b), emotional distress does not include:
58 (i) a condition resulting from mental illness as defined in Section 76-2-305; or
59 (ii) distress that was substantially caused by the:
60 (A) actor's own conduct;
61 (B) victim's termination of or request to terminate the victim's relationship with the
62 actor; or
63 (C) victim's words or statements alone.
64 (c) An actor may not claim special mitigation under Subsection (1)(b) on the basis of
65 extreme emotional distress if the actor responded to the stress described in Subsection
66 (2)(a)(i)(A) by inflicting serious or substantial bodily injury on the victim over a prolonged
67 period of time, or inflicting physical torture on the victim, regardless of whether the victim was
68 conscious during the infliction of serious or substantial bodily injury or torture.
70 or ingested alcohol, controlled substances, or volatile substances at the time of the [
71 offense may not claim mitigation of the offense under Subsection (1)[
72 mental illness or extreme emotional distress if the alcohol or substance caused, triggered, or
73 substantially contributed to the mental illness or extreme emotional distress.
80 Subsection [
81 of special mitigation under this section is established by a preponderance of the evidence, it
82 shall return a verdict on the reduced charge as provided in Subsection [
83 (b) If under Subsection [
84 (i) aggravated murder, the defendant shall instead be found guilty of murder;
85 (ii) attempted aggravated murder, the defendant shall instead be found guilty of
86 attempted murder;
87 (iii) murder, the defendant shall instead be found guilty of manslaughter; or
88 (iv) attempted murder, the defendant shall instead be found guilty of attempted
90 (c) If the trier of fact finds that special mitigation has not been established, the trier of
91 fact shall convict the defendant of the greater offense for which the prosecution has established
92 all the elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
94 establish the existence of the special mitigation.
95 (b) If the jury [
96 shall return a verdict on the reduced charge as provided in Subsection [
97 (c) If the jury finds by a unanimous vote that special mitigation has not been
98 established, [
99 established, the jury shall convict the defendant of the greater offense for which the prosecution
100 has established all the elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
104 jury shall return a special verdict indicating whether the existence of special mitigation has
105 been found.
106 (b) The trier of fact shall return the special verdict at the same time as the general
107 verdict, to indicate the basis for its general verdict.
109 an offense by more than one degree from that offense, the elements of which the evidence has
110 established beyond a reasonable doubt.
Legislative Review Note
Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel