insulation / built-in defense

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Stray Lamb

Senior Member
Portuguese
Hi! In legal terminology, what does "insulation" and "built-in defense" mean in this sentence:

“The fact that these three female defendants [Atkins, Krenwinkel, Van Houten] obeyed Charles Manson and did whatever he told them to do does not immunize them from a conviction of first degree murder. It offers no insulation, no protection whatsoever. If it did, then hired killers or trigger men for the Mafia would have a built-in defense for murder. All they would have to say is: ‘Well, I did what my boss told me to do.’”

Can you help me?

Source: "Helter Skelter", by Vincent Bugliosi.
 
  • koper2

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Hi! In legal terminology, what does "insulation" and "built-in defense" mean in this sentence:

    “The fact that these three female defendants [Atkins, Krenwinkel, Van Houten] obeyed Charles Manson and did whatever he told them to do does not immunize them from a conviction of first degree murder. It offers no insulation, no protection whatsoever. If it did, then hired killers or trigger men for the Mafia would have a built-in defense for murder. All they would have to say is: ‘Well, I did what my boss told me to do.’”

    Can you help me?

    Source: "Helter Skelter", by Vincent Bugliosi.
    I'm not so sure that "insulation" and "built-in defense" are strictly legal terms in the Vincent Bugliosi's book. Bugliosi was not only a prominent lawyer but also a writer who popularised the law in his books thus making law theory and its terms more accessible to the general public. I read both noun phrases, i.e., "insulation" and "built-in defense" as lexical ones that you can look up in the dictionary. Note that "built-in" is a compound adjective and the modifier in the noun phrase "built-in defense".
     

    Stray Lamb

    Senior Member
    Portuguese
    Hi koper2! Thanks for answering. :) Yes, but I think that in this context, "insulation" is, maybe, a legal term. Legal terminology isn't my strong suit. I loved reading this book, and the chapter I found most boring was that of the trial, precisely because of the legal terms. Bugliosi, fortunately, simplified them. However, Portugal has the "civil law" and the United States has the "common-law", which, in my case, makes it difficult to differentiate.
     

    koper2

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Yes, but I think that in this context, "insulation" is, maybe, a legal term.
    I don't think so. I read "insulation" as a metaphor in the cited paragraph. In other words, it means that acting in the blind obedience to Manson's criminal instigation doesn't shield three female defendants from being found guilty in the court of law.
     
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