At common law, voluntary manslaughter is defined as the intentional killing committed in "sudden heat of passion" as the result of "adequate provocation."
- i.e. Killing another without malice aforethought.
There are four elements to common law manslaughter:
- The defendant must not have had a reasonable opportunity to cool off.
- There must be a causal link between the provocation, passion, and homicide.
Model Penal Code
MPC § 210.3(1)
- Criminal homicide constitutes manslaughter when:
- it is committed recklessly; or
- a homicide which would otherwise be murder is committed under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance for which there is reasonable explanation or excuse. The reasonableness of such explanation or excuse shall be determined from the viewpoint of a person in the actor's situation under the circumstances as he believes them to be.