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Week 8 notes of Principles of Criminal Law

by: Molly Notetaker

Week 8 notes of Principles of Criminal Law

Marketplace > East Carolina University > Criminal Justice > > Week 8 notes of Principles of Criminal Law
Molly Notetaker

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About this Document

All notes taken during class 8 as well as definitions for the test
Principles of Criminal Justice
Study Guide
Week 8 notes, Principles of Criminal Law, Law, Criminal Law, Week 8
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This 4 page Study Guide was uploaded by Molly Notetaker on Tuesday February 2, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to at East Carolina University taught by in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 82 views. For similar materials see Principles of Criminal Justice in Criminal Justice at East Carolina University.


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Date Created: 02/02/16
Class 8 Chapter 10: Homicide A) One person (the defendant) B) Taking (the Act) a) Failure to act? b) Causation C) Life of Another (the victim) Elements of criminal homicide:  Actus reus: the act of killing another men rea: the intent to cause death through: purpose, knowing, recklessness, negligence Causation: the acts causing legal and factual death Result: the death of another human being Murder is divided into categories: 1st degree murder: the intent to kill 2nd degree murder: intent to commit serious bodily harm but no intent to kill Manslaughter: the killing with no intent, heat of passion, or imperfect self defense  ● Homicide classified as either: ○ Justified homicide (police officers, state executions, wars) ○ Excusable (car accidents, civil matters) ○ Criminal (or felonious) homicide (knowing and without legal  justification ● In most jurisdictions criminal homicides are classified as: ○ Murder (always look at intent) ○ Manslaughter (diminished responsibility) ○ Negligent homicide (gross negligence) ● Corpus delicti: to have a body ○ Means the body or substance of the crime (proof that a crime has  been committed and the defendant committed the crime) ○ In homicide cases (at a min.) it must be proved that: ■ A “person” has died ■ That another person (the defendant) caused the  death ■ That the death was cause unlawfully, that is  knowingly, purposefully, recklessly or negligently ● “No Body Cases” ○ Is the missing person dead? ○ Did the defendant kill this missing person? ■ Circumstantial evidence ■ Confessions corroborated by other evidence  ● Proving the victim “died” (NOTE: death of a fetus was not considered murder in  the common law) ○ Homicide requires proof that the victim died of an unlawful act ○ Prosecution has the burden of showing that the victim was “alive”  at the time of the unlawful act ○ One can’t “kill” a person already dead, though it is usually a crime  to do violence to corpse ○ The fact that the victim was “about to die” from another cause  doesn’t mean the victim was not “alive” in a homicide case ○ In some states, if “brain death” occurs, then homicide can be  charged ● “Alive” and the “Born alive” requirement ○ To be able to charge homicide of a newborn baby, the prosecution  must be able to prove that the child was living at the time it was killed ○ Feticide: the murder of an unborn child ○ Viability? (18 states still have the ‘born alive’ requirement) ● Responsibility of Death ○ Causation Cause or “cause in fact”: means result would not have  happened but for the conduct in question ○ Proximate Cause or “legal” causes: that defendant can be held  responsible for the death even though it occurred in a different manner than  intended by the defendant  ● Intervening Cause ○ An independent intervening cause can break the chain of  causation between a defendant’s acts and the victim's death ○ Regular evidence = “foreseeable”  ○ Subsequent causes that are foreseeable in response to the criminal  act are not intervening causes ● Murder ○ While the acts resulting in death must be voluntary, the mental  state driving the acts can vary ■ Common law = 1 type  ■ Modern Law recognizes variation is mental state ● 1st degree or Premeditated murder:  Intending to kill and planning the results with “malice  aforethought” ● 2nd degree Murder: Intending the  cause death, but without planning the result or intending to cause  serious bodily injury, but not death ● Manslaughter  (voluntary/involuntary)  ● 1st Degree Murder:  ○ a) “Malice aforethought” = mens rea ○ b) Pre­Meditations = active planning  ○ c) Deliberation  ● Proof of Intent: Deadly weapons ○ Committing a crime by use of “deadly weapon” such as assault  with a deadly weapon, is commonly a separate and more serious crime  ○ IN a murder case the use of deadly weapon creates an inference of  the user’s intent and proof of malice aforethought ○ Deadly weapon: type of instrument, who used it and how it was  used  ○ What about human body parts ● Transferred Intent ○ = intent to kill can transfer to somebody else ○ In most jurisdictions it does not matter if both the intended victim  and unintended victim die ● 2nd Degree Murder:  ○ Look for these situations: ■ The actor intended to cause serious bodily harm  such that death could be a likely result  ■ The actor’s conduct, thought, without any intent to  cause death, was so reckless and in disregard of the high risk of death as to illustrate a “depraved heart” ● Depraved Heart Murder typically  involved acting with “extreme indifference to the value of human  life” ■ Middle group between 1st degree and manslaughter ● Felony­Murder ○ Murder happens while committing the felony ○ The felony proves the intent of the murder charge ○ Must have occurred while the felony occurred and was a  foreseeable consequence ● Co­Felons and 3rd Parties ○ ALL persons committing a designated felony are liable for felony­ murders if death is a result of the crime  ● Manslaughter ○ At common law, was divided into voluntary and involuntary  homicide ○ Involuntary manslaughter: is death that occurs without intent,  but as a result of unlawful activity ○ Voluntary manslaughter: differs from murder charges in that it is not accompanied by premeditation or malice and is based on circumstance that  mitigate the crime (the death) ■ Mitigating factor: ● Heat of the Moment (only with  spouses)  ● Imperfect self­defense and necessary


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