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Is suicide a crime?

Historically, various states listed the act as a felony, but all were reluctant to enforce it. By 1963, six states still considered attempted suicide a crime (North and South Dakota, Washington, New Jersey, Nevada, and Oklahoma, which repealed its law in 1976). By the early 1990s only two U.S. states still listed suicide as a crime, and these have since removed that classification. In some U.S. states, suicide is still considered an unwritten "common law crime" as stated in Blackstone's Commentaries. (So held the Virginia Supreme Court in Wackwitz v. Roy in 1992.) As a common law crime, suicide can bar recovery for the family of the suicidal person in a lawsuit unless the suicidal person can be proven to have been "of unsound mind."


06/17/2015 at 2:43 PM
Karen Nemet-Nejat
Suicide is not a crime For some people,life is too painful to continue to keep trying to stay alive. Some religions consider suicide a sin against God who gives and takes life. I believe that all measures, religious or otherwise, should take into consideration the needs of the grieving family.
07/30/2012 at 11:50 AM
Sonia Tellez
Does "common law crime" protects Life Insurance companies from paying surviving family as well. Or is this a whole different discussion?
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