Essay about Criminal Law
The issue being discussed within this memorandum is whether or not a person is capable, by law, to intentionally and premeditatedly commit homicide while Intoxicated; since this is usually considered involuntary or reckless, manslaughter.
Under Virginia law, murder is defined as "the unlawful killing of another with malice aforethought." Stapleton v. Commonwealth, 123 Va. 825, 96 S. E. 801; Premeditation, or specific intent to kill, distinguishes murder in the first from murder in the second degree; proof of this element is essential to conviction of the former offense, and the burden of proving it clearly rests with the prosecution. Shiflett v. Commonwealth, 143 Va. 609, 130 S. E. 777; Jefferson v. Commonwealth, 214 Va. 432, …show more content…
Malice, a requisite element for murder of any kind, is unnecessary in manslaughter cases and is the touchstone by which murder and manslaughter cases are distinguished. Moxley v. Commonwealth, 195 Va. 151, 157, 77 S.E.2d 389, 393 (1953). Malice may be either express or implied by conduct. Coleman v. Commonwealth, 184 Va. 197, 201, 35 S.E.2d 96, 97 (1945). In our case Joe has acted with malice as implied by his conduct of buying the knife at the hardware store and then hunting Jerry down to kill him. Where death proximately results from the want of ordinary care as practiced by a reasonably prudent person, the causative negligence is actionable as a tort. If the negligence is so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show a reckless disregard of human life, a killing resulting therefrom, although unintentional, is both a tort and a crime, punishable as involuntary manslaughter. King v. Commonwealth, 217 Va. 601, 607, 231 S.E.2d 312, 316 (1977). Since Joe’s actions were intentional and done with a