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Criminal Law - Homicide


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People v. Eulo
D shot victim in head and doctors removed life support. Sufficient evidence for a rational juror to have concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that each defendant’s conduct caused the victim’s death and that the medical procedures were not superseding causes of death.
State v. Schrader
Schrader stabbed store owner 51 times claimed store owner had a gun (self-defense).
Rule: Premeditated murder – can occur in an instant
Midgett v. State
Father beat son regularly, and son died days after harsh beating. Not enough evidence of the premeditated and deliberated purpose – required for conviction of 1st degree murder. However, evidence was sufficient to sustain a conviction of 2nd degree murder.
State v. Forrest
Son killed critically ill father because he didn't want father to suffer. Whether there was insufficient evidence of premeditation and deliberation presented at trial? No – evidence was sufficient to uphold first degree murder.
Girourd v. State
Defendant killed his wife after she repeatedly verbally abused him. Words alone-that is, unaccompanied by conduct indicating a present intention and ability to cause bodily harm-cannot constitute adequate provocation to reduce murder to manslaughter.
Director of Public Prosecutions v. Camplin
Boy killed victim, after victim allegedly sodomized boy and taunted him. "Reasonable person" standard requires that the jury account for the Defendant's age and sex in considering provocation as a defense.
People v. Cassassa
D was convicted of second-degree murder for the killing of a woman with whom he had become obsessed. The affirmative defense of "extreme emotional disturbance" requires that the defendant act under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance, and there was a reasonable excuse for the extreme emotional disturbance.
Berry v. Superior Court
D was charged with 2nd degree murder after his dog killed the child of his neighbors. A person is guilty of second-degree murder upon proof of an unintentional killing where he evidences an extreme indifference to the value of human life, and his conduct is illegal or he knew it to be dangerous.
People v. Nieto Benitez
D shot and killed the victim after an argument. Brandishing a loaded firearm in a threatening manner, when viewed in context, may constitute a sufficiently dangerous act to support a finding that the defendant acted with implied malice. Whether a defendant acted with malice is a question for the jury. Under this case, brandishing a loaded weapon is sufficient to prove malice.
STate v. Hernandez
D was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after he caused the death of a passenger in a vehicle that was run off the road by D's van while D was in a drunken state.
A person is criminally negligent when he “fails to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that certain circumstances exist or result will follow, and such failure constitutes a gross deviation from the Standard Of Care which a reasonable person would exercise in the situation.” Hence, proof that the D knew of alcohol’s effect on him was irrelevant, and any evidence of such is inadmissible.
State v. Williams
The Defendants were convicted for manslaughter for failure to seek medical treatment for the wife's infant son.
A person is guilty of statutory manslaughter if the death of a dependent minor child is caused by a failure to exercise "ordinary caution" in obtaining medical care.
A parent must exercise "ordinary caution" in seeking medical treatment for a dependent minor child.
Transferred intent:
Defendant intends to harm one person but accidentally causes it to another, court typically assert what has come to be transferred intent. Is not broadening mens rea—still need to have intended the harm. Must intend the harm that is cause; can only transfer that same harm from one person to another; if cause different harm than ever intended, should not be liable for that—must be the same
“Wilful Blindness” Doctrine:
if you are aware that it is practically certain that your conduct will cause a certain result then you can be held liable.
Mala in se
bad in itself; moral wrong
Mala prohibitum
wrong because its prohibited
an act done with a bad purpose and an intentional violation of a known duty
“But-for” cause
necessary, but not necessarily sufficient (i.e. two simultaneous, non-mortal knife wounds which together result in death)
What is the actual cause of V's death?
X intentionally stabs V in the chest. V will die from loss of blood in 15 minutes. SImultaneously, D intentionally shoots V in leg. V would not die from this wound alone. V dies in 10 minutes.
Both X and D are guilty of causes – given as acceleration
What is the actual cause of V's death?
X stabs V. Simultaneously, D stabs V. Neither wound by itself would kill V. V dies from loss of blood from both wounds.
Both are causes in fact. Concurrent sufficient causes.
What is the actual cause of V's death?
X shoots V in the heart. Simultaneously, D shoots V in the head. V would die instantly from either wound. V dies instanty.
Both, Concurrent sufficient causes.
Is tiger coincidental or dependant intervening cause?
Coincidental because defendant didn’t set in motion tiger’s escape from the zoo. It could be a dependant intervening cause if you lead a trail to body from tiger – results from defendant’s conduct
Intervening causes: Is it dependent or coincidental?
A dependent intervening cause related to something defendants did and coincidental is not related to anything the defendant did.
Have to be a cause-in-fact; doesn’t matter how many intervening causes there are if you intended the consequences.
Intended the bad thing and the bad thing happened; have to be part of the causal chain.
express malice
Purpose or desire to kill; or knowledge that one’s actions will result in death (knowing standard)
implied malice
Purpose/desire or knowledge that one’s actions will result in grievous bodily harm
“Depraved heart”/Extreme Recklessness
Proceeding in the face of a known, grave risk that one’s actions will result in the death of another
People v. Fuller
Appeal challenges the CA felony-murder rule as it applies to an unintentionally caused death during a high-speed automobile chase following the commission of a non-violent, daylight burglary of an unattended motor vehicle. Solely by force of precedent, the Fifth District Court of Appeal held that the felony-murder rule applies to burglary and as a result, the Respondents can be prosecuted for first-degree murder.
People v. Burroughs
Defendant, a "healer," was convicted for felony murder and felony practicing medicine without a license after a patient in his care died. In order to be guilty of felony murder, the underlying felony must be "inherently dangerous to human life."
People v. Smith
The Defendant was convicted of both felony child abuse and second-degree murder after beating her two-year-old daughter to death. Where the conduct constituting a felony is the sole cause of death, i.e. assault, the felony "merges" with the homicide into a single crime.
State v. Sophophone
D appeals his conviction for felony murder for the death of his co-felon. A defendant cannot be guilty of felony murder for the death of his co-felon caused by the lawful acts of police officers in apprehending the co-felon.
Gregg v. Georgia
D was convicted of murder with intent and armed robbery. He was thereafter sentenced to death. The death penalty is constitutional.
McClesky v. Kemp
The US Constitution (Constitution) does not require that a state eliminate any demonstrable disparity that correlates with a potentially irrelevant factor in order to operate a criminal justice system that includes capital punishment.
Payne v. Tennessee
Testimony of Victim impact. The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution (Constitution) does not per se bar a State from permitting the admission of victim impact evidence.
Tison v. Arizona
Helped Dad escape from prison. The death penalty may be imposed where there exists no specific intent to kill but rather, the defendant knowingly and substantially participated in criminal activities known to carry a grave risk of death.
the merger doctrine says if you intend to commit some harm and you cause that harm but it results in death – can’t use that crime to elevate it to felony murder. Intend assault with a deadly weapon and result is death = felony murder merger limitation
2nd degree murder – “depraved heart murder”
Wanton disregard for life – differs from gross negligence because YOU KNOW THE RISK
“Res gestae” Doctrine:
escape counts as felony
Provocative Act Doctrine:
Where one of accomplices own provocative conduct causes their own death – then accomplices cannot be guilty.

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