Voluntary manslaughter (some states like Maryland have 1st and 2nd degree manslaughter... SEE NOTES and more discussion in text p. 129-30)
an intentional, unlawful killing that occurred in the heat of passion as a result of some adequate provocation (and not just mere words). Common examples include a death resulting from mutual combat or killing someone by use of excessive force while defending oneself or a family member or defense of property.
the unintentional killing of another by the accused's gross or wanton negligence. It includes due to an omission to act in instances where the law imposes a duty to act, which is also called criminally negligent homicide or reckless homicide.
1st degree murder
is usually defined as requiring either malice aforethought or premeditation with a specific intent to take another's life, which requires no specific amount of time as long as the process of premeditation occurs at any point before the killing. The required malice may be expressed or only implied from the circumstances, though a court found that a punch was insufficient to establish malice aforethought.
Felony murder doctrine
when an accused unintentionally kills a human being while committing, or attempting to commit, common law felonies, when the required malice was carried over from the original felony.... that is, in not needing the requirement of premeditation. Some states have sought to include drug offenses with this doctrine... with states establishing degrees of felony murder based on seriousness of felony attempted, etc. Florida Supreme court said that there must be no break in the chain of circumstances beginning with the felony and ending with the murder.
2nd degree murder
In many jurisdictions, is a residual classification applied to unlawful homicides not evidenced by malice aforethought or premeditation (ASK QUESTION AS DIFFERENT IN BOOK), not occurring inn conjunction with other felonies and not falling within the statutory definition of manslaughter.
More commonly, is defined as an unlawful killing of a human being by a person having a depraved mind or heart. One state supreme court held that a trial court properly defined the phrase "evincing a depraved mind" as conduct demonstrating an indifference to the life of others, that is, not only disregard for the safety of another but also a lack of regard for the life of another.
is a specific felony rather than prosecuting with manslaughter for causing a traffic death, which also includes boats and airplanes.... which creates an unreasonable risk of injury ... which constitutes a material deviation from the standard of care which a reasonable person would observe under the same circumstances.
Justifiable and excusable homicide
Justifiable for one to take another's life by authority of law (execution or by justifiable police actions, and excusable if death results from the inadvertent taking of another's life when the actor is not guilty of criminal negligence... when committed by accident or misfortune or in doing any other lawful act by lawful means, with usual and ordinary caution, and without any unlawful intent... may also be excusable when committed in the heat of passion or on sudden and sufficient provocation, or on sudden combat where no undue advantage is taken nor any dangerous weapon is used and the killing is not done in a cruel or unusual manner.
Removal of life-support systems
Generally, a competent adult who is terminally ill may decide to forgo such extraordinary measures or may order such measures to be discontinued... and the Florida Supreme Court has held that terminally incompetent persons hav ethe same right, and that family members or guardians may exercise such rights on their behalf.... all in good faith based on competent medical advice.
Prosecutorial burdens in homicide cases
Victim of crime must have been alive, and also establish corpus delicti, or "body of the crime"... consisting of the fact that a human being is dead and that the death was caused by the criminal act or agency of another person, AND, with independent (direct or circumstantial) evidence beyond a defendant's confession (i.e., usually the body with statement of medical examiner to cause of death).
Defendants actions must be the cause of the victim's death... the defendant's act was the proximate cause of the victim's death... the natural and probable consequence of the defendant's unlawful conduct.
Death of the victim defined as "only" brain death and must occur within a stated period of time, though the one year and a day rule have been abolished by most states given today's medical advances. The reason for the rule was the inability of medical examiners to accurately determine the cause of death (as homicide) after long periods of time, which is not the case today.
Defenses may include heat of passion, reasonable care or accidental killing.
Suicide and assisted suicide
Latest supreme court (1997) case found that a right to terminate medical treatment is different than a right to have assistance in committing suicide, and that the many state statutes that ban it are constitutionally valid. The Florida Supreme Court (1997) since ruled it was okay with that state's constitution but in Alaska did not (2001).
Just reread timeline beginning with Roe v. Wade, which dealt mostly with partial birth abortion versus statutes that outlaw it even if needed to protect the health of the mother.
The non-abortion killing of a fetus is an independent crime, but varies from anytime during pregnancy to only after quickening (when movement is first felt by the mother at 16 to 18 weeks). Depending on the mental state of the perpetrator, in Tennessee at least, the crime can be everything from 1st degree murder to criminally negligent homicide.