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Victim’s responsibility Essay

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According to Karmen (2007), the question of “victim’s responsibility” can be reduced to six, listed from least to most guilty. The first is 100% guilt free victim, a victim that might be the victim of a random crime. After this, there is victim proneness, the specific kind of victim I have chosen for the first example used. Proneness is actually the adaption of a risky lifestyle that leaves one open to criminal mischief without actually precipitating it in any way.

The next stage if victim facilitation, where certain ingredients for a crime are left in the vision of the criminal, such as wearing gold rings in a crime-ridden part of town.

Then there is victim precipitation, where the victim has goaded the criminal in some way, leading to a crime. After this is the worst, victim provocation, where the victim has attacked or otherwise abused the criminal to such an extent that the criminal becomes such involuntarily. Lastly, the 100% guilty victim, the victim creating a crime for various motives, getting attention, etc.

For this project I have chosen two murder cases: the first, the murder of Lana Clarkson by famed music producer Phil Spector in 2003, and the more recent murder of Meredith Kirchner by Amanda Cox (et al) in 2007. Given the evidence of the two cases thus far it is likely that both perpetrators are guilty. Cox has confessed to the murder of Kirchner, and, while the jury is still out on the Spector case, it does not look good. This essay will, for the sake of the course, assume that both Cox and Spector are guilty.

The first case happened in February of 2003. The victim, a long time actress in secondary roles, was working part time in a local, trendy nightclub in Los Angeles. She met Phil Spector, and, only after a few hours, was in his mansion, where she was murdered. Spector says that she killed herself and was complaining of being “down” (Guardian, 2003). But the question of victimology is given in a (2003) op-ed piece by Wesley Strick, who chides the victim for getting into a limo with a stranger, or, barring that, that Mr.

Spector was no strange, and had a reputation for violence and bizarre behavior (Strick, 2003). Hence, this case seems to flirt between victim proneness and Mr. Strick’s clear statement of victim felicitation. While it is true that working as an attractive hostess in a trendy bar is itself risky, the fact that she would have no qualms about getting into Spector’s limo with only a brief amount of time together may well bleed into victim felicitation. The second case I chose was the more recent murder of British college student in Italy, Meredith Kerchner.

As of this writing, Amanda Cox, one of her murderers, has been convicted in Italy after a confession (Owen, 2007a). But Owen (2007b) holds that there was a certain level of victim felicitation. The reports of this case show that Miss Cox was mentally unstable, and that some of her roommates were very interested in vampirism and violent images (comics, etc). The reports on this case all suggest that violent sex games were planned Holoween night, and that Miss herchner was killed for refusing to play them.

But it also is clear that the victim knew of these propensities, though not of their extent (Owen, 2007a) It seems that staying in this company goes a bit beyond victim proneness (thought this can be argued) and their Halloween antics might show a greater tilt towards victim felicitation, similar to the above case. Regardless, in both cases, the minimum one can claim is that both victims were prone to crime and were living risky lifestyles. At the same time, the decision to get into the car with Spector is parallel with the decision to stay with roommates and friends who had already shown some inclination to bizarre behavior.

Hence, one can hold that both victims facilitated the crimes they became the victims of. At the same time, neither of the two victims mentioned above can be convicted of any of the more extreme forms of victim guilt, that of precipitation or provocation, at least with the evidence so far uncovered. If, for example, Miss Kerchner was involved in the sex games, and then withdrew, then one could make the claim that she was precipitating the crime.


For the Lana Clarkson case: na (2003, 4 February). B-Movie Actress Named as Shooting Victim. Guardian.Strick, Leslie (2007, 18 April) Lana Clarkson’s Fade to Black. Los Angeles Times For the Meredith Kerchner case: Owen, Richard. (2007a, 7 November) Meredith Kerchner Killed After Refusing Orgy. The Times Online (http://www. timesonline. co. uk/tol/news/world/europe/article2821154. ece) . (2007b, 9 November) Meredith Killed for Refusing Violent Sex. Times Online. (http://www. timesonline. co. uk/tol/news/world/europe/article2841412. ece) For the victims typology: Karmen, A (2007) Crime Victims: An Introduction to Victimology. Thompson-Wadsworth.

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