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Criminal Homicide Outline

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This is an extract of our Criminal Homicide document, which we sell as part of our Criminal Law Outlines collection written by the top tier of Cuny School Of Law students.

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Criminal Homicide The protected Interest - "Human Being"

1. People v. Eulo

1. Attempted to interpret what is meant by a "human being" in a statute.

2. Said that the old way of thinking about death as the cessation of cardiorespiratory functions still held true, but that brain-based criteria could be used if the other functions are being maintained by machines

2. Intentional Killings

1. Degrees of Murder: The Deliberation-Premeditation Formula

1. State v. Guthrie

1. Defendant killed his coworker for snapping a towel at his nose.

2. Court held that to "deliberate and premeditate" a murder means to have:

1. Thought of a matter before it is executed and

2. Formed in one's mind a course of action.

2. Midgett v. State

1. Child abuse case, father had history of abusing his child.

2. Court found that there was no premeditation and therefore could not be found guilty of first degree murder.

3. State v. Forrest

1. Defendant had placed father in the hospital, because the father was deathly ill.

2. Went into hospital, with gun, with the intention of shooting his father, and did so, killing his father.

3. Court found that murder was premeditated and proven by circumstantial evidence.

4. Factors:

1. Want of provocation by the deceased.

2. The conduct and statements of the defendant

3. Threats and declarations by defendant

4. Ill-will or previous difficulty

5. Dealing of lethal blows after the deceased has been rendered helpless

6. Evidence that the killing was done in a brutal manner

7. Nature and number of wounds

2. Manslaughter: "Heat of Passion" Killings

1. Girouard v. State

1. History of contentious relationship between husband and wife. After verbal and slightly physical fight, husband stabbed wife to death.

2. Manslaughter: Sudden heat of passion, before a reasonable opportunity for passion to cool. Adequate provocation. Causal connection between provocation and act.

3. Objective standard: For provocation to be adequate, it must be calculated to inflame the passion of a reasonable man and to cause him to act for the moment from passion rather than reason.

2. Why keep the Heat of Passion Defense?

3. Attorney General for Jersey v. Holley

1. Provocation must be connected to the act.

2. Was the provocation enough to make a reasonable man do as he did?

1. Assess the gravity of the provocation

2. Assess the actions.

4. MPC and Beyond

1. People v. Casassa

1. Casassa had fallen in love, was doing creepy things that resulted

1. in killing Victoria Lo Consolo Extreme Emotional Disturbance: outgrowth of heat of passion

1. For which there was a reasonable explanation or excuse, the reasonableness of which is to be determined from the viewpoint of a person in the defendant's situation under the circumstances as the defendant believed them to be.

5. Justification Defense: Defendant's actions are justified. Therefore, we punish them less harshly.

6. Excuse Defense: An excuse lessens one's culpability. Therefore, we punish less harshly.

3. Unintentional Killings: Unjustified Risk-Taking

1. People v. Knoller

1. Dog ended up killing a neighbor. Attorneys got dog from white supremecists.

2. Rule the court adopts (Phillips): "The killing is proximately caused by "an act, the natural consequences of which are dangerous to life, which was deliberately performed by a person who knows that his conduct endangers the life of another and who acts with conscious disregard for life"

2. State v. Williams

1. Failed to supply their 17-month with proper medical care, as a result of which he died.

2. In Washington, ordinary negligence is enough - "ordinary caution that a reasonable person of reasonable prudence would exercise under similar circumstances.

4. Unintentional Killings: The Felony-Murder Rule

1. People v. Fuller

1. Officer noticed someone stealing tires, chase ensued in which another car was struck and the driver was killed.

2. Court held that the felony-murder rule applied, but they said the conclusion does not further the purpose behind the rule.

2. Limitations on the rule

1. Inherently Dangerous Felony Limitation

1. People v. Howard

1. Defendant was pulled over for not having a license plate, cops gave chase and a red light was blown, other individual killed.

2. Court held that the objective felony (as read in the statute) was not inherently dangerous and could not be applied here.

2. Independent Felony or Merger Limitation

1. People v. Smith

1. Daughter refused to eat her snack on the couch. Defendant beat her until she died.

2. The felony-murder rule can only apply when the felony is not "included in fact" in the homicide.

3. The felony-murder rule can apply when done with an "independent felonious purpose"

3. Killings "in the perpetration" or "in Furtherance" of a Felony

1. State v. Sophophone

1. Conviction for death of a co-felon during the commission of a felony.

2. Agency Approach:

1. Does not apply if the killing was done by a non-felon

3. Proximate Cause Approach:

1. Responsible for any homicide if it is a result of actions


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