Criminal homicide is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. Malice aforethought includes an express intent to kill, an intent to inflict a great bodily injury, or a reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to human life.
Felony murder is a murder committed during the commission of an inherently dangerous felony. One needs only to commit the felony, not the murder, to be charged with this crime. An example would be the “getaway” driver sitting in a car while his or her friends rob a gas station. If any one is killed as a result of the robbery, the “getaway driver” although not directly involved in the killing, can be charged with murder.
Manslaughter can be voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter is distinguishable from murder by the existence of some sort of adequate provocation. Adequate provocation is not a defense to murder, rather it is a lesser charge. In order for there to be “adequate provocation” the person accused must have been exposed to provocation that would arouse a sudden and intense passion in an ordinary person, such as finding ones spouse in bed with another or being threatened with deadly force. It must be established that the person accused was indeed provoked, that there was not sufficient time for a reasonable person to cool off between the provocation and the murder, and that the person accused did not in fact cool off.
Involuntary manslaughter is a killing committed as a result of criminal, or "gross", negligence, or during the commission of a criminal act, including misdemeanors or felonies that are not inherently dangerous, and is often the result of a drunk driving incident.
Murder is the most serious of all crimes and is punishable in California by death, life imprisonment with no possibility of parole, or 25 years in the state penitentiary.
Murder and manslaughter are some of the most serious and complex criminal charges, and as a result each of these cases are unique and complex and have many possible defenses. With skill and determination, the Law Offices of Benjamin Zicherman is ready to defend and protect your freedom, or even, if necessary, your life.
If you, a family member or friend has been charged with murder or manslaughter, early representation is the key to a successful defense. At the Law Offices of Benjamin Zicherman, I have the experience, resources and sophistication to defend your life. Contact me immediately for your free consultation.