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Murder, Manslaughter & Homicide

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Without any doubt, in the 21st century the legislation system has faced a big problem regarding the legal concepts, such as murder, manslaughter, and homicide. Historically, the first recollection of homicide dates back to the ancient times. For instance, Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire chose the episodes of murder as the main dramatic theme for their theaters. Blood, cruelty, aggression and death were the core motives in these performances associated with criminal acts. Moreover, most sacred religious edifications include many examples of homicide and murder to their Holy Writs. Since the ancient times, scholars began to develop different approaches of classification of crime cases. Consequently, it is highly recommended to point out the main peculiarities of murder, manslaughter, and homicide, by evaluating academic investigations in that field in order to deduce the legitimate definition of these types of crime.

First of all, murder is defined as a form of killing a person intentionally. English judge and politician, Edward Coke, determined murder according to the Latin term actus reus that means a guilty act. Furthermore, law contains three types of murder, such as first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and third-degree murder. The degrees of murder are differentiated according to the gravity of the offence and the sentence of that offence. The first-degree murder is defined as a “willful, deliberate, premeditated” murder. Moreover, it can be called as a “cold blooded” murder or an “A-class” felony. Additionally, the first-degree murder will encompass the deliberate intention to cause serious injury or death. The second-degree murder is defined as a murder that has“intent to inflict grievous bodily injury”. This type of murder, commonly known as a “B-class” felony, has an intention to injure a person being unaware that his/ her action can lead to the death of the injured person. he third-degree murder is defined as a “deprived heart” murder or involuntary manslaughter. This murder can be called as a “C-class felony” who willfully disregards the life of the victim; however, this murder does not bear any intention to kill the victim (Gilbert, 2004). 

Secondly, in the framework of defining different types of crime, it is necessary to mention the definition of manslaughter and its types, since this type of crime tightly interlaces with murder and homicide. However, the difference amidst murder and manslaughter is in the constituent of intent. According to the definition, manslaughter can be referred to the third-degree of murder. Moreover, manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a person without an implied malice to cause the death of a victim. Criminal law contains two types of manslaughter such as voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. In order to accuse a person of voluntary manslaughter, the prosecution should confirm that the person who did that offence was in the same mental state that is required for murder. However, in case of voluntary manslaughter, a person has inadvertently acted in illegal act due to the impairment of physical sate, diminished responsibility, and loss of self-control or provocation. This mental state is characterized as a state of “heat of passion”.

In order to condemn the person of manslaughter, the prosecution should prove that the person who committed the murder had mental problems that considerably had influenced his/ her loss of control. Furthermore, involuntary manslaughter is also distinguished in criminal law. According to the definition, involuntary manslaughter is unlawful killing of a person resulting from criminal negligence. This definition is a new legal concept with respect to penal law and sometimes it is identified as the third-degree murder or a “D-class” felony. In order to charge a person with involuntary manslaughter, the prosecuttion should prove that illegal act that led to death of a victim included a considerable departure from the fundamental principles of care to be expected from a prudent. Moreover, a common law distinguishes three types of involuntary manslaughter, such as reckless manslaughter, huge negligence manslaughter, and “illegal and perilous” manslaughter (Gilbert, 2004).

Furthermore, in the scope of giving the correct definitions to the cases in criminal law, it is highly recommended to identify the law-term justifiable homicide and to point out its main features in order to broaden personal knowledge of juridical terms. Amenably to the definition, justifiable homicide is the killing of a person without criminal intent or malice. For instance, during a time of war, the soldiers killed many enemies who menaced to the national security. Moreover, federal statistics indicates that justifiable homicide was mostly committed by police officers who resorted to killing in order to protect civilians. The police officers allowed using deadly force to apprehend or to stop offenders. However, the deadly force should be applied regardless of the circumstances. For example, in case if arrest is possible in order to stop the felon, deadly force should not be used. It is clearly seen that the utilization of deadly force depends on the standard of “objective reasonableness” (Hatch, 2003).

All in all, the importance of differentiation between the legal concepts, such as murder, manslaughter, and homicide can be amplified by the fact of utilization of right accusation of crime, and type of imprisonment that are resorted to the offender according to the type of offence. The legitimate definition of crime act will significantly influence the offender’s life, since each type of offence has specific peculiarities of magnitude of an offence. Consequently, the prosecution should assiduously investigate the crime case and announce a definite sentence. 

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