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American University Law Review

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This Article offers three major contributions to challenge existing view of provocation: first, it considers psychological research that found that fear, similarly to anger, may also significantly interfere with individuals’ decision making processes by disturbing rational judgment, therefore sometimes leading to lethal aggression. Second, drawing on this research, this Article argues that provocation doctrine should be reconstructed to also include a fear-based prong. Third, recognizing fear-based provocation calls for rejecting the loss of control paradigm that currently dominates judges’ and jurors’ perception of the defense. In its place, this Article advocates focusing on the fearful defendant’s fear of violence threatened by the deceased that caused a significant impairment in the defendant’s thought processes, resulting in obscured judgment and reasoning. The reconstructed defense would also include an objective component, under which, the defendant would have to prove that a person of ordinary disposition would also experience such emotion and respond rashly without exercising reason and judgment.



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