Ch. 6 Part 1
Ch. 6 Part 1 CJ 341
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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by Nicole Wolfe on Friday September 30, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CJ 341 at University of North Dakota taught by Kristi Venhuizen in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see Criminal Law in Criminal Justice at University of North Dakota.
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Date Created: 09/30/16
Chapter 6: Homicidal Offenses Homicide o Taking of the life of one human being by another o Common Law: Murder Manslaughter Voluntary Involuntary Suicide o Modern approach Murder First degree Second degree Manslaughter Voluntary Involuntary Suicide Doctor assisted o Overwhelming majority of homicide prosecutions are brought under state law, handled at state level Murder o Common law required malice aforethought with no degrees o Today First degree – requires either malice aforethought or premeditation Specific intent to take another’s life o Malice aforethought can be expressed or implied Express – deliberate intention Implied – no considerable provocation or other circumstances indicating malice o Malice aforethought established through Relationships with the victim including threats, quarrels, conversations Nature of the wound Weapon used Prior attacks Behavior before and after the killing o Premeditation No length of time is needed Only enough time to form the intent to kill Intent to kill must occur before the killing o N.D.C.C. 12.1-16-01(1)(a) A person is guilty of a murder, a class AA felony, if the person intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another human being Felony murder o When an accused unintentionally kills a human being while committing, or attempting to commit, such common-law felonies as burglary, arson, rape, or robbery Typically felonies that use violence or pose threat to life or limb o Must show the causal connection between the homicide and the underlying felony o Subject to much debate – some argue it violates the basic principal or moral culpability Substitute the intent for the felony to the murder No specific intent to kill needed o Well-established in most jurisdictions Hard line on crime o Felony murder law poses many questions: Does it apply to a victim who kills a co-felon? Does it apply if the police kill a victim during commission of the felony? Does it apply if a co-felon accidently kills a police officer or bystander? o N.D.C.C. 12.1-16-01(1)(c) Acting either alone or with one or more other persons, commits or attempts to commit treason, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, felonious restraint, arson, gross sexual imposition, a felony offense against a child under section 12.1-20-03, 12.1-27.2-02, 12.1-27.2-03, 12.1-27.2-04, or 14-09-22, or escape and, in the course of and in furtherance of such crime or of immediate flight therefrom, the person or any other participant in the crime causes the death of any person. In any prosecution under this subsection in which the defendant was not the only participant in the underlying crime, it is an affirmative defense that the defendant: (1) Did not commit the homicidal act or in any way solicit, command, induce, procure, counsel, or aid the commission thereof; (2) Was not armed with a firearm, destructive device, dangerous weapon, or other weapon which under the circumstances indicated a readiness to inflict serious bodily injury; (3) Reasonably believed that no other participant was armed with such a weapon; and (4) Reasonably believed that no other participant intended to engage in conduct likely to result in death or serious bodily injury. Subdivisions a and b are inapplicable in the circumstances covered by subsection 2. o Second degree – unlawful homicides not evidenced by malice aforethought; having a “depraved mind or heart” Anything that is not first degree, felony murder, or manslaughter Show an indifference to the life of others Examples: shooting a firearm into a crowd, “shaken baby”, dropping stones from a bridge, swinging a bat at someone Often referred to as a jury pardon – jury decides not enough to find premeditation o N.D.C.C. 12.1-16-01(1)(b) Causes the death of another human being under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life o Example #1 Defendant is playing a game of Russian roulette. He pointed a revolver loaded with a single cartridge at the victim. The weapon fired on the third try and the victim Did the defendant have the necessary intent for the crime of murder? Yes. This would be an example of second degree murder. The defendant did not intend to kill his friend but he was acting with a depraved mind and heart o Exmple #2 Defendant claimed she was attempting to shoot over the victim’s head in order to scare him. The bullet struck the victim and he died Did the defendant have the necessary intent for the crime of murder Yes. The defendant showed a reckless disregard for human life. This would most likely be viewed as second degree murder o Example #3 Defendant fired several shots into a house that he knew was occupied by several persons. His actions caused the death of the victim Did the defendant’s conduct evidence an intent to kill? Yes. The defendant actions showed a depraved mind and heart and would most likely be charged as second degree murder o People v Anderson The defendant killed the 10 year old daughter of his live-in girlfriend, and the victim’s body was found with 60 stab wounds. There was evidence that the defendant had been drinking and may have been drunk at the time of the murder. In addition, the defendant told conflicting stories to the victim’s mother and brother about her whereabouts What shouls the defendant be charged with? The court found that the facts surrounding the murder were insufficient to support first-degree murder on premeditation and deliberation, because there was no evidence of any planning activity by the defendant. In addition, there was no evidence of motive, nor was the stabbing committed is such a way that would indicate a “preconceived design” o Example #5 Two people stopped the victim while she was walking down the street and attempted to rob her. The first robber stood in front of the victim and held a knife to her ribs. The second robber stood behind the victim and struck her over the head with the butt of a loaded pistol. The impact caused the pistal to discharge, killing the first robber. Does the felony-murder rule apply? Yes. The defendant was involved in the felonious act of robbery. The intent for the felony is enough to establish the malice aforethought for the crime of murder o Example #6 The victim and defendant began kissing on the side of the road in the defendant’s truck. When the defendant tried to take off the victim’s pants, she said “no”. the defendant then slapped her several times across the face. He pulled off her pants and tried to get her top off her. The victim pushed the defendant off her. He threw her out of the truck and drove away. She was found the next day, dead from hypothermia. Is the defendant guilty of felony-murder? Yes. This is one continuous transaction because the death was direct result of the sexual assault o Example #7 The defendant and his two accomplices decided to rob a Uni- Mart store. One of the accomplices fatally shot the store clerk, and all three boys ran out of the store without taking any money If the killing is only committed by one of the accomplices, can the others be charged under the felony murder rule Yes. All three boys ran away after the robbery showing it was in furtherance of the Manslaughter Common law defined manslaughter as the unlawful killing of one human being by another when no malice was involved o Common law defined manslaughter as the unlawful killing of one human being by another when no malice was involved Voluntary was the intentional, unlawful killing that occurred in the heat of passion or as the result of provocation Ex: Walk in on your spouse cheating Involuntary was the unintentional killing of another though negligence o Today there are two generally accepted categories: Voluntary - death of the victim occurs in a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion Usually requires specific intent Example: mutual combat, excessive force when defending property or people Involuntary – death results from the commission of a lawful act that might produce death in an unlawful manner; without due caution and circumspection Usually requires general intent, don’t have intent to kill, negligent leads to the unintentional killing of a person Criminal negligence Example: The Twilight Zone (1982) – helicopter lost control, child actor is decapitated, sued and found to be an accident, Dr. Conrad Murray (2011) – physician that treated Michael Jackson, convicted of involuntary negligence o Some states define by degree (not voluntary or involuntary) by the same basic definitions o Provocation – must be something that would cause a reasonable person to lose control Typically, mere words are not enough, usually requiring more than words Example: adultery o Negligent performance of a legal duty Example: medical attention (using prayer to treat a child), care for children (child locked in bedroom when house fire) o N.D.C.C. § 12.1-16-01(2) A person is guilty of murder, a class A felony, if the person causes the death of another human being under circumstances which would be class AA felony murder, except that the person causes the death under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance for which there is reasonable excuse. The reasonableness of the excuse must be determined from the viewpoint of a person in that person's situation under the circumstances as that person believes them to be. An extreme emotional disturbance is excusable, within the meaning of this subsection only, if it is occasioned by substantial provocation, or a serious event, or situation for which the offender was not culpably responsible. o N.D.C.C. § 12.1-16-02 A person is guilty of manslaughter, a class B felony, if he recklessly causes the death of another human being. o N.D.C.C. § 12.1-16-03 A person is guilty of a class C felony if he negligently causes the death of another human being. United States v. Collins – Example #1 o Defendant was an employee at the post office. He entered the building, found his victim, stalked with a hidden weapon, shot and killed her. Defendant claimed he shot the victim because he thought he had a bad employee evaluation and would lose his job. o What is the appropriate charge based on these facts? o This is a good example of first degree murder. The murder was planned out. It is not likely going to be viewed as voluntary manslaughter because ther was not sufficient provocation. Example #2 o Manuel, walking on a dark night, carelessly fires his pistol toward some garbage cans, not aiming at anyone. A youngster noiselessly playing in the are is killed. o What would you charge Manuel with? o In this case the defendant was convicted of second degree murder. Example #3 o The defendant was home watching television. The victim arrived and appeared to e under the influence of drugs. The defendant assisted the victim in the process of injecting heroin in to her arm. The victim died, and the defendant summoned the police. o How would you charge the defendant? o This is a good example of involuntary manslaughter. People v. Gounagias – Example #4 o The victim committed sodomy on Gounagias while he was unconscious. For nearly a month, the victim bragged about the incident to others, and Gounagias finally killed the victim because of the severe humiliation. o Was the killing the result of adequate provocation? o YES. The appellate court held that too much time elapsed between the provocation and the killing and denied the legal right to Gounagias take the provocation issue to the jury. People v. Berry Example #5 o Defendant strangled his wife with a telephone cord after waiting 20 hours in the apartment for her to return. Prior to that, the defendant’s wife taunted him for a two-week period with her infidelity, possible pregnancy with another man, and demands for a divorce. o Was the killing the result of adequate provocation? o The defendant appealed his conviction of murder in the first degree. The court stated that there was sufficient evidence of a two-week period of provocation by the defendant’s wife. Although the defendant waited for his wife in the apartment for 20 hours, because of the long course of provocation, he did not have time to cool off. He killed in an uncontrolled rage when his wife returned to the apartment and started screaming. Example #6 o Burge and Calloway have a fight. Calloway displays a knife and Burge pulls out a gun. Burge points the gun at Calloway and cocks it. Burge pushes Calloway into his car and during the action Calloway’s hand hits the gun, it discharges, and Calloway is severely wounded. Burge runs out of gas on the way to the hospital and calls an ambulance. Calloway dies on the way to the hospital. o What would you charge Burge with? o This is an example of manslaughter. The homicide is due to negligence as Burge was not in real danger from the knife. Vehicular Homicide o Unintentional killing of a human being committed by the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that created unreasonable risk o Created a separate offense to address potential problems with the manslaughter statutes Different intent requirements Not every state has a definition for vehicular homicide o N.D.C.C. § 39-08-01.2 An individual who operates a motor vehicle on a highway or on public or private areas to which the public has a right of access for vehicular use in this state who refuses to submit to a chemical test, or tests, required under section 39-06.2-10.2, 39- 20-01, or 39-20-14, is guilty of an offense under this section. An individual is not subject to an offense under this section for refusal to submit to an onsite screening test under section 39- 20-14 if the person submits to a chemical test under section 39- 20-01 or 39-06.2-10.2 for the same incident. Upon the individual's refusal to submit to an onsite screening test, the police officer shall inform the individual that the individual may remedy the refusal if the individual takes a chemical test under section 39-20-01 or 39-06.2-10.2 for the same incident. Example o Dawson was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Peaslee on a snow- packed, icy road. Peaslee intentionally “fishtails” and loses control of the car. Dawson is ejected and is run over by another vehicle. o What would you charge Peaslee with? o This is an example of vehicular homicide. Justifiable and Excusable Homicide o Justifiable homicide – criminal codes generally provide that you can take another’s life by authority of law Example: executioner performing duty o Excusable homicide – death results from the inadvertent taking of another’s life when the actor is not guilty of criminal negligence When committed by accident or misfortune of in doing any other lawful act by lawful means, with usual and ordinary caution, and without any lawful intent Ex: unavoidable traffic accident (sliding into someone on ice) ; self defense Withdrawing light support (Karen Quinlan, Terry Schiavo) Prosecutorial Burdens in Homicide Cases o Victim must have been alive before the criminal act o Corpus Delicti or “body of the crime” Death of a human being was caused by the criminal act of another Makes sure no one is convicted based on mistake or coerced confession Some jurisdictions require independent evidence beyond a defendant’s confessions Some argue this is a technically that impairs the search for truth o Proximate cause requirement – death is the natural and probably cause of the defendant’s unlawful act Examples: HIV, shoot and boat and boys jump and drown o Must determine determine that death has occurred Heart stops Brain death – cessation of brain function Statutory provisions One year and one day rule Suicide Suicide o Common law defined suicide as the intentional taking of a person’s life by self-destruction Contrary to nature Offense against the biblical commandment “Thou shalt not kill” Deprived the Crown of one of its subjects Penalty was forfeiture to the crown o Today, suicide laws punish those who assist another to commit suicide o Assisted Suicide – allows physicians to withdraw medical treatment at a patient’s request Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act – allows those with a terminal illness to get a physician’s prescription for a lethal done of medication Physicians can withhold treatment at a patient’s request Washington’s Natural Death Act o Washington v. Glucksberg (1997) Supreme Court said that laws prohibiting physician-assisted suicide are a long-standing expression of the state’s commitment to protection and preservation of life Court rejected any parallel between a person’s right to terminate medical treatment and the “right to have a physician’s assistance in committing suicide o N.D.C.C. §12.1-16-04 1. Any person who intentionally or knowingly aids, abets, facilitates, solicits, or incites another person to commit suicide, or who provides to, delivers to, procures for, or prescribes for another person any drug or instrument with knowledge that the other person intends to attempt to commit suicide with the drug or instrument is guilty of a class C felony. 2. Any person who, through deception, coercion, or duress, willfully causes the death of another person by suicide is guilty of a class AA felony o N.D.C.C. § 12.1-16-06 Sections 12.1-16-04 through 12.1-16-06 do not preclude the use of medications or procedures necessary to relieve a person's pain or discomfort if the use of the medications or procedures is not intentionally or knowingly prescribed or administered to cause the death of that person. In addition, sections 12.1-16-04 through 12.1-16-06 do not preclude the withholding or withdrawal of life-prolonging treatment pursuant to state or federal law. You can withdrawal support and given medicine to be kept comfortable
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