Week 8 notes of Principles of Criminal Law
Week 8 notes of Principles of Criminal Law
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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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