First Degree Murder vs Manslaughter

Topics: Murder, Manslaughter, Criminal law Pages: 7 (2519 words) Published: July 15, 2008
Topic: First Degree Murder Vs Manslaughter

In the paper, I will be explaining about 1st Degree Murder and Manslaughter: the differences between them, the branches of them, and when they will be applied into different situations. In order to help explaining, I will insert in diagrams and simulate cases into this paper. And there will also be Cases Analysis as the second part of this paper. Homicide is the killing of one human being by another. If the killing is not excusable or justifiable, then it is called criminal homicide. Murder and Manslaughter are the two general categories of criminal homicide. In most countries, First Degree Murder is the most serious crime that people can commit, where manslaughter is a less serious criminally homicide. 1st Degree Murder is a criminal charge when a person killed the other person with malice aforethought; and the killing was premeditated. To kill with malice aforethought means to kill either deliberately and intentionally or recklessly with extreme disregard for human life. Premeditation means with planning or deliberation. The theory of premeditation becomes effective when the amount of time is long enough for the killer to have been fully conscious of the intent and to have considered the killing. There are two common schemes of defining the degrees of murder: *The first scheme, used by New York among other states:

-First Degree Murder: Murder involving special circumstances, such as murder of a police officer, judge, fireman or witness to a crime, multiple murder, the use of torture or especially heinous means, or means requiring great preparation, such as poison or lying in wait. -Second Degree Murder: Any premeditated murder or felony murder that does not involve special circumstances. -Third Degree Murder: All other murder.

*The second scheme, used by Pennsylvania among other states: -First Degree Murder: All premeditated murders, and (in some states) murders involving certain especially dangerous felonies, such as arson or rape, or committed by an inmate serving a life sentence. -Second Degree Murder: Any felony murder not a first degree murder. -Third Degree Murder: All other murder.

Any kind of first degree murder is considered as a class 1 felony. And the penalty is death penalty or life imprisonment. Simulate Case:
- For First Degree Murder:
Park a truck with bomb in a public place, and cause the explosion during busy hours. Manslaughter, also called criminally negligent homicide in the United States, it arises when criminal liability as a homicide is imposed on those who kill: either when they do not intend to cause death or serious injury but cause the death of another through recklessness or criminal negligence; or where a person intentionally kills another but is not liable for murder either because he or she falls within the scope of a mitigatory defense, such as provocation or diminished capacity that will reduce what would otherwise have been murder to manslaughter. Manslaughter can be divided into two categories, which are the voluntary manslaughter and the involuntary manslaughter.

Voluntary manslaughter refers to intentional killings committed in the absence of malice and premeditted design. It requires the intent to cause death or serious injury, but the potential liability for murder is mitigated by the fact that the accused was subjected to a level of provocation sufficient to drive an ordinary person to kill in the heat of passion, or suffering from diminished responsibility. Very usually, defendant will argue that they had committed a justifiable homicide rather than a voluntary manslaughter because justifiable homicide will exclude the liability of homicide. The concept of justifiable homicide in criminal law stands on the dividing line between an excuse and an exculpation. It can excuse the defendant from all criminal liability or treats the defendant differently from other intentional killers. In eighteenth century English...
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