California Criminal Law
Murder, in California, is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought. Specifically excepted out from the definition is the killing of a fetus pursuant to an abortion under the Therapeutic Abortion Act, or if the death of the fetus was solicited, aided, abetted or consented to by the mother of the fetus.
Malice can be either express or implied. It is express when it is an intentional killing. It is implied when there is insufficient provocation or when the act is evidence of an abandoned and malignant heart.
California, has two basic types of murder. They are first degree murder and second degree murder.
First Degree Murder
First degree murder is the unlawful killing of
a human being or a fetus, with malice, either express or implied,
that is willful, deliberate and premeditated. Under the felony murder
rule, certain other murders that occur during the perpetration of
burglary, robbery, rape, carjacking, arson, mayhem, kidnapping and
other listed crimes, are first degree. What is significant about the
felony murder rule is that no malice is required. The penalty for
first degree murder is death, life without the possibility of parole
or a term of 25 years to life.
Second Degree Murder
Generally, all other murders are of the second degree.
Unless the victim was a peace officer, the punishment is 15 years to life. -
Written by Patrick
H. Kelly, Attorney at Law
- Written by Patrick H. Kelly, Attorney at Law
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