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Born-alive rule
Homicide law once said that to be a person, and therefore a homicide victim, a baby had to be “born alive” and capable of breathing and maintaining a heartbeat on its own.
Law defining when life begins for purposes of applying the law of criminal homicide.
Intentionally causing the death of another person with “malice aforethought.”
Unlawful killing of another person without malice aforethought.
Justifiable homicide
Killing in self-defense, capital punishment, and police use of deadly force.
Excusable homicide
Accidental killings done by someone “not of sound memory and discretion” (insane and immature).
Criminal homicide
A homicide that’s neither justified nor excused.
Malice aforethought
Killing on purpose after planning it.
Depraved-heart murder
Extremely reckless killing.
Murder when death results following acts triggered by the intent to inflict serious bodily injury short of death.
Express malice aforethought
Intentional killings planned in advance.
Implied malice aforethought
Killings that weren’t intentional or planned but still resulted from the intention to do harm.
Murder actus reus
Causing the death of a person.
Murder mens rea
The purposeful, knowing, reckless, or negligent killing of a person.
Capital case
Death penalty cases in death penalty states and “mandatory life sentence without parole” cases in non-death penalty states.
A mandate that the death penalty decision be made in two phases: a trial to determine guilt and a second separate proceeding, after a finding of guilt, to consider the aggravating factors for, and mitigating factors against, capital punishment.
Criteria for decision (in death penalty cases)
Must be limited by the criteria established and announced before the decision to sentence the defendant to death but includes aggravating factors for and mitigating factors against imposing death.
Specific-intent-plus-real-premeditation-deliberation definition
The law looks at three areas to determine whether a killing was premeditated and deliberate: signs of planning, motive, and deliberate method in the killing.
Equivalent-of-specific-intent definition
Some courts define a willful, premeditated, deliberate killing as the same as specific intent, which may render the difference between first- and second-degree murder meaningless.
First-degree murder
Premeditated, deliberate killings and other particularly heinous capital murders.
Second-degree murder
A catchall offense including killings that are neither manslaughter nor first-degree murder; unintentional killings.
Felony murder
Unintentional deaths that occur during the commission of felonies.
Third-party exception
Defense to felony murder that someone other than the felon caused the death during the commission of a felony.
Resisting-victim exception
Exception to the third-party exception to felony murder, in whichthe defendant can be charged with the killing of his accomplice, which was committed by the resisting victim.
Inherently dangerous felony approach
Courts look at the felony in the abstract-if a felony can be committed in a way that’s not dangerous to life, even if it was committed in a dangerous way, then it’s not inherently dangerous.
Case-by-case approach
The facts and circumstances surrounding the way the felony was committed  in the particular case, not the elements of the crime in the abstract, may be considered to determine whether it was dangerous to human life.
Involuntary manslaughter
Criminal homicides caused either by recklessness or gross criminal negligence.
Adequate provocation
The circumstance element in voluntary manslaughter that is the trigger that sets off the sudden killing of another person; acts that qualify as reducing murder to manslaughter.
Objective test of cooling-off-time
In voluntary manslaughter, the element of whether, in similar circumstances, a reasonable person would have had time to cool off.
Last-straw rule
A smoldering resentment or pent-up rage resulting from earlier insults or humiliating events, culminating in a triggering event that, by itself, might be insufficient to provoke he deadly act.
Extreme mental or emotional disturbance
A defense that reduces criminal homicide to manslaughter if emotional disturbance provides a reasonable explanation for the defendant’s actions.
Paramour rule
A husband who caught his wife in the act of adultery had adequate provocation to kill and could reduce criminal homicide to voluntary manslaughter.
Involuntary manslaughter
Criminal homicides caused either by recklessness or gross negligence and resulting in the unconscious creation of substantial and unjustifiable risks.
Criminal negligence manslaughter
the mental elements of both recklessness and negligence.
Unlawful act manslaughter
Sometimes called “misdemeanor manslaughter,” it’s involuntary manslaughter based on deaths that take place during the commission of another crime.
Unlawful act
Include everything from committing felonies, misdemeanors, and even traffic violations, city ordinances, administrative crimes, and non-criminal wrongs, such as civil trespass and other torts.
Second-degree murder is generally an intentional but unpremeditated murder.
No corporation has ever been charged with a criminal homicide.
A defendant who cools off after the provocation and then intentionally kills is guilty of voluntary manslaughter.
Reckless or negligent criminal homicides are usually termed involuntary manslaughter.
Recklessness has both objective and subjective components.
At common law, murder was divided into first, second, and third degrees.
In some jurisdictions, murders that include aggravating circumstances (torture, heinous, atrocious, or cruel) are capital offenses.
The Eighth Amendment requires case-by-case consideration of aggravating and mitigating factors before the death penalty can be imposed.
Manslaughter was not a common-law crime.
Insulting gestures or words and racial slurs are adequate legal provocation for manslaughter.
At common law, a criminal homicide committed with malice aforethought is a murder.
All felony murders are intentional homicides.
Not all homicides are criminal.
Corporations cannot be guilty of criminal homicide.
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