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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still considered attempted suicide a crime (North and South Dakota, Washington, New Jersey, Nevada, and Oklahoma, which repealed its law in 1976).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."

Comments

09/01/2011 at 3:03 PM
Cheryl
Suicide is not a crime in New Mexico. However, I believe that whenever there is a suspected suicide, it may be treated as a homicide (crime) until ruled definitively otherwise after examination. If anyone knows otherwise I'd love to hear it. I hear your pain and understand the distress...I've been through it.
09/01/2011 at 1:11 AM
cali
I was told by the police and the medical examiner that suicide is a crime in the state of NM. I was not allowed to touch or hold my son. I can find nothing to back up these statements. The way I was treated by them felt criminal to me.
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