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The act of malicious self-murder; felo de se. But it has been decided in England that where a man's life was insured, and the policy contained a proviso that "every policy effected by a person on his or her own life should be void, if such person should commit suicide, or die by duelling or the hands of justice," the terms of the condition included all acts of voluntary self-destruction, whether the insured at the time such act was committed, was or was not a moral responsible agent. In New York it has been held, that an insane person cannot commit suicide, because. such person has no will.
It is not punishable it is believed in any of the United States, as the unfortunate object of this offence is beyond the reach of human tribunals, and to deprive his family of the property he leaves would be unjust.
In cases of sudden death, it is of great consequence to ascertain, on finding the body, whether the deceased has been murdered, died suddenly of a natural death, or whether he has committed suicide. By a careful examination of the position of the body, and of the circumstances attending it, it can be generally ascertained whether the deceased committed suicide, was murdered, or died a natural death. But there are sometimes cases of suicide which can scarcely be distinguished from those of murder. A case of suicide is mentioned by Doctor Devergie, which bears a striking analogy to a murder. The individuul went to the cemetery of Pere la Chaise, near Paris, and with a razor inflicted a wound on himself immediately below the os hyoide; the first blow penetrated eleven lines in depth; a second, in the wound made by the first, pushed the instrument to the depth of twenty-one lines; a third extended as far as the posterior of the pharynx, cutting the muscles which attached the tongue to the oshyoide, and made a wound of two inches in depth. Imagine an enormous wound, immediately under the chin, two inches in depth, and three inches and three lines in width, and a foot in circumference; and then judge whether such wound could not be easily mistaken as having been made by a stranger, and not by the deceased.