Criminal law essay

This intent can be established either through the SE of a statement made by the defendant demonstrating this intent, or by the defendant’s conduct. In particular, if the defendant uses a deadly weapon in a manner suggesting the defendant intended to kill the victim, the law will infer the defendant acted with the intent to kill. Here, Deft drew a gun and shot Kyle in the chest. This provides adequate support to establish Deft intended to kill Kyle and the required malice is present. Justification: If evidence exists to justify the defendant’s acts, the killing will not be considered murder or any crime at all.

An intentional killing can be justified if the defendant acts in self-defense. Self-defense: To assert this doctrine, the use of self-defense must be both necessary to avoid an imminent deadly attack and the force used must be both necessary and reasonable to avoid that deadly attack. No force can be used merely in retaliation or for revenge. Was it necessary and reasonable the use of deadly force? Deft shot Kyle after confronting Kyle and accusing him of killing Debt’s son. Deft then saw Kyle reach into his jacket pocket. In fact, there was no deadly attack on Deft that was imminent.

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However, it could have reasonably appeared to Deft that Kyle was about to pull out a gun and shoot him. A party claiming self-defense is entitled to make a reasonable mistake as to the need to use deadly force. Alternatively, Deft may not have feared an attack but instead have acted to avenge the killing of his child. If Deft acted out of revenge rather than fear, a self-defense claim cannot be sustained. Imperfect self-defense: If a defendant kills honestly but unreasonably believing that the use of deadly force is necessary in self-defense, the so-called imperfect self- defense doctrine applies.

Under this doctrine, the defendants criminal liability will be reduced to voluntary manslaughter, rather than murder. Assuming Deft honestly believed that Kyle was about to pull out a weapon and shoot him, then deadly force was necessary to prevent Kyle from killing him; the charge would be voluntary manslaughter rather than murder. Mitigation heat of passion: A charge of voluntary manslaughter rather than murder is proper when the defendant kills in the heat Of passion. This mitigating circumstance occurs only if the facts show that four requirements are met: Reasonable provocation

The defendant was in fact provoked A reasonable person would not have cooled off before killing The defendant must not in fact have cooled off. Here, it is reasonable for a parent to become angry enough to kill when a child is taken from them by violence. The question is whether a reasonable person would still be angry enough to kill one year after the murder of their child. Even if a reasonable person may have come to terms after a year with the sudden loss of a child from a violent act, the anger could reasonably have been rekindled during a subsequent confrontation and heated argument with the killer.

Since insults and angry words were exchanged, the argument with Kyle may have caused Debt’s to become angry enough to kill. A charge of manslaughter against Deft should be sustained unless his self-defense. Degree of murder At common law there were no degrees of murder. By statute today, all jurisdictions divide murder by degree. In most states, there are at least two degrees of murder. First degree murder requires either a finding of intent to kill malice with premeditation and deliberation, or a finding of malice based on the Felony Murder Rule and the underlying felony is one that is specified y statute as eligible for first degree murder.

All other murder is second degree murder. In this situation, there is intent to kill. There is no underlying felony, so the Felony Murder Rule does not apply to this case. Therefore Deft can be convicted of first degree murder only if there is evidence of both premeditation and deliberation. First Degree Murder Premeditation Premeditation exists if the killing occurs after defendant thought about the act of killing the victim, turning it over in his mind or giving it a second thought, even if only briefly a prior reflection. Many facts support a finding hat Deft premeditated the killing of Kyle.

Deft vowed to find the killer and see that justice was done. He searched for the killer for several months and once he found the supposed killer of his child, carried a loaded, concealed weapon to confront the supposed killer. Deft then traded insults for several minutes before drawing his gun and shooting Kyle in the chest. It is reasonable to conclude that all these planning and waiting facts demonstrate that Deft thought about killing Kyle and had a prior reflection. Therefore, Deft acted with premeditation. First Degree Murder Deliberation

Deliberation requires acting with a cool mind, as opposed to suddenly and impulsively. At some point during the year, Deft likely had a cool mind. He had plenty of time to cool off since Deft shot Kyle a year after the death of his son. However, Deft would argue that he became angry during the heated exchange of words and insults with Kyle. Although Deft may have had a cool mind while he searched and waited, the defense may claim that when Deft saw Kyle reach for a possible weapon after a heated argument with him, Deft had to act suddenly and impulsively while angry and impassioned.

If so, Deft did not act with sufficient deliberation and cannot be charged with first degree murder. Instead, a charge of second degree murder would be proper. On the other hand, the prosecutor would argue that Debt’s act was not sudden or impulsive. Rather, Deft carefully planned the murder of his son’s killer. Without provocation, upon identifying Kyle, Deft immediately showed Kyle the dead child’s photo and called Kyle a low-life scum, then yelled at Kyle and insulted him further, all for the purpose of enraging Kyle and inducing Kyle to attempt an assault on Deft.

Although the facts tell us that the exchange was heated, the prosecution will claim that Debt’s act was well- thought-out and carried out with a cool mind, even though aspects of his demeanor appeared heated. C] Based on the prosecution’s arguments, reasonable evidence exists that Debt’s killing of Kyle was both premeditated and deliberate. Deft can reasonably be charged with first degree murder Murder charges against Len Len may also be found guilty of murder if his acts are sufficient to show he caused Kyle’s death and acted with malice.

Homicide: The homicide element s met if the defendant is both an actual and proximate cause of death. Len will argue that Deft acted alone when he shot and killed Kyle. However, Len wrote the note hoping that Deft would act on the letter and give Kyle a beating. Deft may not have ever found Kyle but for Lens’s letter. Moreover it is foreseeable that someone who has publicly vowed to see that justice was done might use deadly force to avenge a child’s death. There are sufficient facts to assert that Len is an actual and proximate cause Of Kyle’s death.

Malice: Len did not intend Kyle’s death, but the malice for murder can be established in other ways. Malice will also exist if the defendant intends to cause great bodily harm. Here, Len intended to cause Deft to confront Kyle and give Kyle a serious beating. A serious beating would constitute the great bodily harm required for malice. In addition, Len may have committed an act sufficient for depraved heart murder. Len provided Deft with the location of the man Deft was searching for. Len hoped and probably knew that Deft would use deadly force to capture Kyle or avenge his child’s death. The murder charge against Len is proper.