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33 Cards in this Set

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The 3 traditional homicide offenses?
Murder
Voluntary Manslaughter
Involuntary Manslaughter
Analysis of these offenses
1. Did D cause death of victim?
2. Did D act with malice aforethought?
3. Was there also adequate provocation?
4. Did D either:
a. Act with criminal negligence
b. Cause death while committing a misdemeanor?

If yes to 1 and 2, then murder, unless...
Adequate provocation, then voluntary manslaughter
If yes to 1 and no to 2 under question 4, both are involuntary manslaughter if yes.
3 kinds of Causation
1. Factual causation - "but for" acts of D, victim would not have died when and as he actually did die.
2. Year and one day rule- V must die within a year and one day from the infliction of the injury
3. Proximate causation
What if there's no causation?
D is often guilty of attempted murder.
What is proximate causation?
1. D intends to cause V's death
2. D factually causes v's death
3. BUT death occurs in an unexpected manner.
Rule on Proximate Causation?
It exists if V's death naturally results from D's actions, even if this occurs in an unexpected manner, unless the events are extremely unusual.
What if there's a superseding factor interjected into the chain of causation?
Proximate causation is then lacking.
What are the elements of a superseding factor?
1. Independent of D's actions
2. Unforseeable, and
3. Sole immediate cause of V's death.
What if D simply "speeds up" and already dying V?
Then he factually causes the V's death!
If someone intends to cause a death in one way, but there's a superseding, unexpected way instead, what happens?
There may be a lack of proximate causation!
What if the intervening/contributing cause of death is only a contributing factor?
Then that won't break chain of proximate causation.
A killing is with malice aforethought and therefore murder if the defendant acted with:
1. Intent to kill, or
2. Intent to cause serious bodily injury, or
3. Awareness of extremely high risk that death will result, or
4. Intent to commit felony
Intent to KILL is not...
necessary for the offense of murder. One of the other intents/malice mental states is ok.
What is the general rule for Felony Murder?
Accidental deaths caused during commission of a felony are murder.
What are the requirements for Felony Murder?
1. The death must have been forseeable, OR
2. The felony must have been dangerous as committed.
Are all co-felons guilty of a felony murder?
Yes, if the death was forseeable to them.
What is the Merger Rule?
Felony murder can't be based on felony assault/battery causing death of the victim.
Why aren't all co-felons guilty of felony murder?
B/c a death during a felony may be forseeable to some of the felons but not to others.
What if the fatal shot was not fired by one of the felons (such as by a security guard)?
Most courts unwilling to apply felony murder.
What is an unlucky felon?
Courts are most reluctant to apply felony murder where the person killed is one of the felons.
What are Degrees of Murder?
Some statutory provisions divide murder into degrees.
What category do most killings with malice aforethought fall into?
Second degree murder.
Which murders fall into first degree murder?
Certain felony murders.
Premeditated killings.
What is premeditation?
It requires some conscious deliberation over whether or not to kill.
What if a provoking incident is not quite enough to reduce a killing to voluntary manslaughter?
That means it may show an absence of premeditation.
What are the elements of Voluntary Manslaughter?
It is an intentional killing that would otherwise be murder is reduced to voluntary manslaughter if 3 things are shown:

1. objectionably reasonable provocation
2. that actually caused the defendant to kill the victim; and
3. D acted on that before an objectively sufficient cooling period elapsed
What is insufficient provocation as a matter of law for voluntary manslaughter?
"Mere words"
Elements of Involuntary Manslaughter
Defendant killed either:
1. In the course of committing a misdemeanor, or
2. With criminal negligence
How much negligence is needed for criminal liability?
More negligence than civil liability!
Can criminal liability sometimes rest upon a person's failure to act?
Yes, liability for an omission.
When is an omission sufficient for criminal liability?
1. When the D has a legal duty to act.
2. D was aware of the facts giving rise to a duty to act, and
3. Performing the duty was possible

D must also have necessary intent.
When will D's legal duty to act arise?
1. Criminal law
2. Tort law
3. Contract law
4. Any other body of law
Where D has no legal duty to act...
Criminal liability cannot rest upon D's failure to take action.