Module 1 Assignment 3: Select a Specific Criminal Behavior
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The goal of this course is to create a prevention plan for a specific criminal behavior. Throughout the course, you will complete interrelated assignments in each module that build toward the LASA assignment, a prevention plan.
The first step toward this end is to
identify a specific criminal behavior
for which you
will develop a prevention program
. The first chapter of the textbook describes a variety of criminal behavior problems, such as status crimes, juvenile offenders, and drug abuse.
Once you select the criminal behavior, you should do a preliminary literature search to ensure that you will have ready access to scholarly resources.
2- to 3-page paper
describing your selected criminal behavior. You must consider the following when creating your paper:
Describe the criminal behavior in detail, including any research you have found on the origins or development of this behavior (in approximately 1 page).
Discuss the specific target area you want to address in the problem (in approximately 1 paragraph).
Describe the specific group you want to focus on from among those affected by the criminal problem, i.e., juveniles, women, etc.
Describe the possible prevention and intervention ideas (in approximately 1 page).
Discuss research support for the effectiveness of your proposed prevention or intervention ideas (in approximately 2–3 paragraphs).
For example, suppose you pick juvenile sex offenders and want to develop a prevention program for adolescent sex offenders. Specifically, you want to target risk factors associated with that population.
Support your assumptions by citing reputable source material used for this assignment in
Module 1 Assignment 3: Select a Specific Criminal Behavior
Module 1 Assignment 3: Select a Specific Criminal Behavior The goal of this course is to create a prevention plan for a specific criminal behavior. Throughout the course, you will complete interrelated assignments in each module that build toward the LASA assignment, a prevention plan. The first step toward this end is to identify a specific criminal behavior for which you will develop a prevention program. The first chapter of the textbook describes a variety of criminal behavior problems, such as status crimes, juvenile offenders, and drug abuse. Once you select the criminal behavior, you should do a preliminary literature search to ensure that you will have ready access to scholarly resources. Create a 2- to 3-page paper describing your selected criminal behavior. You must consider the following when creating your paper: Describe the criminal behavior in detail, including any research you have found on the origins or development of this behavior (in approximately 1 page). Discuss the specific target area you want to address in the problem (in approximately 1 paragraph). Describe the specific group you want to focus on from among those affected by the criminal problem, i.e., juveniles, women, etc. Describe the possible prevention and intervention ideas (in approximately 1 page). Discuss research support for the effectiveness of your proposed prevention or intervention ideas (in approximately 2–3 paragraphs). For example, suppose you pick juvenile sex offenders and want to develop a prevention program for adolescent sex offenders. Specifically, you want to target risk factors associated with that population. Support your assumptions by citing reputable source material used for this assignment in APA format. Submission Details: By Wednesday, May 24, 2017, save your paper as M1_A3_Lastname_Firstname.doc and submit it to the M1 Assignment 3 Dropbox. Assignment 3 Grading Criteria Maximum Points Described the criminal behavior and described the specific group on which you want to focus on. 24 Discussed the risk factors and etiology theories associated with this type of crime. 40 Described some ideas related to prevention or intervention. 24 Wrote in a clear, concise, and organized manner; demonstrated ethical scholarship in accurate representation and attribution of sources; and displayed accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation. 12 Total: 100
Module 1 Assignment 3: Select a Specific Criminal Behavior
Course Overview Have you ever wondered why an individual turns to a life of crime? What causes a middle-class child to become a serial killer? Why does a relatively average man lead a double life as the bind-torture-kill (BTK) serial killer? What triggers school violence and the other seemingly random acts of killing seen in shopping malls and restaurants? Can the profession of forensic psychology shed light on these mysteries and answer how to prevent future crimes? Psychology of Criminal Behavior will provide an overview of the psychological factors related to criminal behavior. First, you will examine how we define and measure criminal behavior. You will also learn about the many risk factors correlated with criminal behavior. You will explore the etiology theories of criminal behavior, including biological, learning, and sociological perspectives. The course will then give you the opportunity to explore explanations for various types of criminal behavior, from property crimes to serial murders. Finally, the course will conclude with an examination of prevention, intervention, and treatment factors related to criminal behavior. In addition, you will learn about the complex relationship between crime and mental disorders while discovering the different roles of a forensic psychology professional. This course will provide you, as a forensic psychology professional, with important knowledge and help you develop some basic skills. You will learn the theories of criminal behavior, explore the nature of human aggression, and have an opportunity to consider prevention and intervention strategies to mitigate risk factors associated with criminal behavior. You will also be able to understand the complexity of predicting criminal behavior among specific populations, identify high-risk factors as well as moderating variables, and develop prevention methods that can successfully reduce criminal behavior among high-risk groups. Module 1 Overview In Module 1, you will be introduced to the definitions and measurement of criminal behavior by exploring some of the tracking systems employed by the federal government. You will also learn how each state maintains its own classification system and how the definition of what exactly constitutes a crime can vary from state to state. Learning how society and the criminal justice systems track and measure crime is an important step in understanding criminal behavior. It gives us an understanding of what types of crime are occurring and where. These patterns are an essential part of developing prevention and intervention strategies. However, the methods of tracking criminal behavior are certainly not perfect and have many shortcomings. It is important that you are aware of both the positive and negative aspects of using such measuring tools in your quest to understand criminal behavior and the society patterns. After you have gained an understanding of how the criminal justice system defines and measures crime, you will begin your journey of learning about the risk factors that are correlated with criminal behavior. Before we address the age-old “nature versus nurture” question in the next module, you need to become familiar with the developmental risk factors associated with deviant behavior. Essentially, the more risk factors a person has, the more likely he or she is to engage in criminal behavior. You will examine juvenile delinquency in particular and understand the risk factors that may lead to criminal behavior. Understanding these risk factors will assist you in your final project. Finally, in this module, you will examine one of the biggest correlational riskfactors—substance abuse. You will explore the relationship between substance abuse and crime. According to research cited in a report by SAMHSA, 29.1% of male and 53.3% of female detainees had a substance use disorder (Teplin, 1994). Substance abuse is clearly a significant issue for incarcerated populations and an area that needs to receive significant focus from forensic psychology professionals. Reference: Teplin, L. A. (1994). Psychiatric and substance abuse disorders among male urban jail detainees. American Journal of Public Health, 84(2), 290–293. Analyze criminal behavior risk factors from multiple theoretical perspectives and examine the influence of moderator variables (e.g., gender, race, and age). Synthesize data to explain future directions for policy, prevention, and punishment to minimize the antecedents and outcomes of criminal behavior and aggression. Defining and Measuring Crime Crimes are secretive in nature; therefore, they are difficult to determine and count accurately. There are several ways in which the US government attempts to track crime rates. You will have the opportunity to review government tracking systems used by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). What is a crime? At first glance, this seems to be an easy question. A crime is anything that is illegal. However, laws vary by jurisdictions, and many jurisdictions have outdated laws still on the books. In Kentucky, you cannot marry the same man four times. In some states, marijuana use for medicinal purposes is legal, but it is illegal in other states. Another question is, “Is an action criminal simply because it is illegal?” Until 1967, interracial marriages were illegal in fifteen states. Some interracial couples married prior to the Supreme Court’s decision allowing such marriages. Are such couples criminals and, thus, worthy of study? Currently, there is a great deal of debate on marriage between same-sex couples. This issue will likely come up before the Supreme Court. On the basis of the Supreme Court’s decision, marriage between same-sex couples will either be legal or not be recognized by the government. As societal norms and values change, so do the laws that the government enforces. You can see that it is a struggle to define criminal behavior, and this can lead to other issues when you study the causes of crime, for example, how can you measure criminal behavior when there is no single definition of crime? Before we can start to look for causes of criminal behavior, we need to establish an operational definition of criminal behavior. As defined in the textbook, “Criminal behavior is intentional behavior that violates a criminal code, intentional in that it did not occur accidentally or without justification or excuse.” However, there are exceptions to this definition that serve to illustrate the complexity of defining criminal behavior. Now that we have an operational definition, let’s discuss crime rates and how we measure crime. What is the crime rate in your neighborhood? Do you know of areas where there are higher and lower crime rates? Are you certain that you know the actual incidence of crime in a particular area? At first glance, measuring crime may seem like a rather easy endeavor. We could simply record the crimes reported to the police. However, there are problems with assessing how often crimes occur. Measuring crime can be a difficult process. By its very nature, crime is something that goes undetected. Law enforcement has developed a variety of techniques to track crime, such as police reports and victim reports. The FBI classifies crime based on how serious the crime is. These classifications have several different names, such as Part 1 and Part 2 crimes and indexed and nonindexed crimes. The FBI uses the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program and the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). This data is available on the FBI’s website. All crime-reporting and crime-tracking systems that categorize crime do have certain limitations. Some crimes may go unreported. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Some minor crimes, such as property theft, may not be reported because the victim does not feel the report will lead to recovery of the property and does not intend to file an insurance claim. Some crimes may not be reported to the police due to a distrust of the police and a desire to not have the police involved. Some individuals on the wrong side of the law may decide not to report a crime, such as a drug dealer who is robbed or a prostitute who is assaulted. Some people may be too embarrassed to report a crime, such as a woman who encounters a flasher in a park or an elderly person who is swindled by a con artist. Some crimes may not be reported because the individuals involved do not want the police to get involved. Gamblers are not very likely to report their illegal activity to the police, regardless of whether they win or lose. A spouse of a prominent physician may be reluctant to pursue domestic violence charges against her husband due to the social and financial ramifications. Some crimes may go undetected for years and do not appear as part of the crime statistics. Bernard Madoff ran his Ponzi scheme for nearly two decades before he was caught. Even though the FBI’s current method of measuring crime is not perfect, it is still a good start in terms of understanding criminal patterns with the ultimate goal of developing prevention and intervention methods. In the next lecture, you will examine another important underlining aspect of developing prevention and intervention strategies—knowledge of risk factors. Developmental Risk Factors A risk factor is something that increases a person’s risk for or susceptibility to a medical problem or disease. For example, being overweight, having high blood pressure, and smoking are all risk factors for developing a heart disease. What are the risk factors for juvenile delinquency or criminal behavior? Most experts believe that the more risk factors a person is exposed to, the greater the probability that person will engage in criminal behaviors. Risk factors we are most concerned about are divided into three categories: social, family, and psychological (i.e., individual attributes). Let’s take a look at some of the risk factors in each of the three categories. References: American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. Coie, J. D., Dodge, K., Terry, J., & Wright, T. (1991). Communities and changes in children’s socio-economic status: A five-year longitudinal study. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 29, 261–282. Elliott, D. S. (1994). Serious violent juvenile offenders: Onset, developmental course, and termination: The American society presidential address. Criminology, 32, 1–21. Farrington, D. P. (1989). Early predictors of adolescent aggression and adult violence. Violence and Victims, 4(2), 79–100. Farrington, D. P. (1991). Childhood aggression and adult violence: Early precursors and later-life outcomes. In D. J. Pepler & K. H. Rubin (Eds.), The development and treatment of childhood aggression (pp. 5–29). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Hawkins, J. D., Herrenkohl, T., Farrington, D. P., Brewer, D., Catalano, R. F., & Harachi, T. W. (1998). A review of predictors of youth violence. In R. Loeber & D. P. Farrington (Eds.), Serious and violent juvenile offenders: Risk factors and successful interventions (pp. 106–146). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Kupersmidt, J. B., Coie, J. D., & Dodge, K. A. (1990). Predicting disorder from peer social problems. In S. R. Asher & J. D. Coie (Eds.), Peer rejection in childhood (pp. 274–305). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Lipsey, M. W., & Derzon, J. H. (1998). Predictors of violence and delinquency in adolescence and early adulthood: A synthesis of longitudinal research. In R. Loeber & D. P. Farrington (Eds.), Serious and violent juvenile offenders: Risk factors and successful interventions (pp. 86–105). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Moffitt, T. E. (1993). Adolescent-limited and life-course-persistent antisocial behavior: A developmental taxonomy. Psychological Review, 100(4), 674–701. Murray, J., & Farrington, D. P. (2005). Parental imprisonment: Effects on boys’ antisocial behavior and delinquency through the life-course. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46(12), 1269–1278. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2005.01433.x Parker, J. G., & Asher, S. R. (1987). Peer relations and later personal adjustment: Are low-accepted children at risk? Psychological Bulletin, 102(3), 357–389. Steinberg, L. (1987). Single parents, stepparents, and the susceptibility of adolescents to antisocial peer pressure. Child Development, 58(1), 269–275. Thornberry, T. P., Huizinga, D., & Loeber, R. (1995). The prevention of serious violence and delinquency: Implications from the program of research on the causes and correlates of delinquency. In J. C. Howell, B. Krisberg, J. Hawkins, & J. Wilson. (Eds.), Sourcebook on serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders (pp. 213–237). Thousand Oaks, CA: Substance Abuse and Crime The last risk factor we will discuss is substance abuse. For the past several decades, the United States has been waging a “drug war” against individuals who possess, sell, or use illegal substances. The correlation between the drug war and increasing incarceration rates has been widely documented. Let’s take a closer look at the relationship between substance abuse and crime, along with the implications for treatment. How much does substance abuse cost the US society? According to a report published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA, 2006), “the cost to society of drug abuse in 2002 was estimated at $181 billion, $107 billion of which was associated with drug-related crime” (para. 2). Substance abuse is a significant factor among our incarcerated populations. National Institute on Drug Abuse (2012) clearly indicates that “providing comprehensive drug abuse treatment to criminal offenders works, reducing both drug abuse and criminal recidivism” (para. 1). NIDA published thirteen principles supported by research to help improve the treatment approaches to criminal populations. Illegal drugs are not the only reason why many individuals end up in jails or prisons, but failure to provide treatment almost assures that they will end up back in the system. Without the benefit of proper treatment, substance abusers are more likely to relapse and return to criminal behavior and ultimately reincarceration. Providing evidenced-based treatment is the best approach to interrupting this cycle of recidivism. References: National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2006). DrugFacts: Treatment for drug abusers in the criminal justice system. Retrieved from http://www. drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-drug-abusers-in- criminal-justice-system National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Principles of drug abuse treatment for criminal justice populations—A research-based guide. Retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-abuse- treatment-criminal-justice-populations-research-based-guide/preface Conclusion Trying to understand why a criminal became a criminal is a complicated and, sometimes, mysterious endeavor. There are no absolutes in terms of risk factors or causative elements with regard to what causes an individual to become a juvenile delinquent or a criminal. In this module, you learned the definition of criminal behavior and how it is measured. In addition, you were introduced to some of the risks associated with the development of criminal proclivities. In the next module, you will build upon this knowledge and begin to explore the etiology of criminal behavior in more depth by examining the biological, behavioral, and social theories of criminal behavior.
Module 1 Assignment 3: Select a Specific Criminal Behavior
What Is Homicide? Homicide is the killing of another human being. The definition of homicide includes intentional killings, such as murder, and non-intentional killings, such as manslaughter. Homicides, especially culpable homicides, are violent felonies and carry very severe punishments. The two most common types of homicide: Murder Manslaughter Other types of homicide include: Deaths from Shaken Baby Syndrome Serial Killing Assisted Suicide What Are the Differences between the Types of Homicides? The exact distinctions between the types of homicide will vary from state to state. In general though, there are two classes of homicide, murder and manslaughter, with two different degrees for each. Murder: First-degree murder is the intentional, malicious, premeditated, and deliberate killing of another. Murder committed during an inherently dangerous felony is also considered first-degree murder. Second-degree murder is killing of another with the intent to cause death but without premeditation or deliberation. Second-degree murder covers “accidental” killings where someone other than the intended target is killed. Second-degree murder is often a catch-all for murders which cannot be classified as manslaughter. Manslaughter: Voluntary manslaughter is killing as a result of “passion” or where an individual was “provoked.” Note that “passion” doesn’t mean anger, but any extreme emotion that suspends a person’s judgment. “Provoked” means the defendant is often confronted physically and responds by into committing the murder. Note that the provocation must be adequate enough that a reasonable person of sound mind would likely respond in a similar way. Provocation also includes an imperfect self-defense, where the killer uses more force than necessary or initiates the attack. Involuntary manslaughter is the killing of another person not through intentional actions, but through reckless or negligent conduct. Vehicular manslaughter was once a significant portion of involuntary manslaughter and may still be in some states. However, many states have chosen to have vehicular manslaughter as a third type of manslaughter rather than group it with other forms of involuntary manslaughter. What Are the Consequences of a Homicide Conviction? There are severe consequences the come from a murder conviction: Capital Punishment (for first-degree murder only) Imprisonment Loss of the right to possess deadly weapons Inability to get occupational licenses Subject to civil suit for wrongful death Likelihood of any of the above consequences depends on the following factors: Mitigating/aggravating circumstances (with regard to death penalty cases) Prior Convictions Currently on probation or parole Degree of media attention on the case Type of weapon used Family Members of Homicide Victims If you are a family member of a homicide victim and a case is currently being investigated or prosecuted, you should consider speaking with an attorney about bringing a wrongful death suit against the person who committed the homicide. While money will never bring back your loved one, it can help cover bills and expenses, and bring you a small bit of peace. – See more at: http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/homicide.html#sthash.NYp6gYMp.dpuf What Is Culpable Homicide? Culpable homicide can either indicate whether or not the killing of a human being involved malice aforethought on the part of the defendant. Malice aforethought exists when an individual acts with: The intent to kill, The intent to cause serious bodily harm, or Reckless disregard of human life so that the person is considered to act with a depraved heart. The culpable homicide could be done with the intent to commit the action that lead to the death, but this intent may not meet the legal definition of murder. If it does count as culpable homicide but does not qualify as murder, the homicide may be deemed to be manslaughter. What Is Manslaughter? Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being that occurs because of mitigating circumstances. The homicide is not considered murder because the death was not done with the required level of intent, and there was no premeditation. The two types of manslaughter are: Involuntary Manslaughter: The homicide occurs when the individual commits homicide without intent. Instead, the unintentional death happens because of criminal negligence such as vehicular manslaughter. Voluntary Manslaughter: The homicide occurs because the individual was provoked. The homicide does not meet the element of murder because there was no premeditation. – See more at: http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/What-Is-Culpable-Homicide.html#sthash.K6tNL9sa.dpuf Violent Felonies vs. Non-Violent Felonies A felony is a serious criminal offense punishable by at least 1 year in state or federal prison. Violent felonies are felonies that involve the use or threat of force against another person. This force can result in injury or even death. Classified as mala in se crimes, violent felonies are commonly prosecuted more vigorously than non-violent crimes and often carry fairly steep penalties, ranging from a few years in state or federal prison to the death penalty, depending upon the jurisdiction. The penalties vary based on the degree of force used or injury caused by the force. In addition, other aggravating circumstances can increase potential penalties, including the use of a weapon, whether the victim was a police officer or minor, and the defendant’s criminal record. Once convicted of a violent felony, the offender will lose a number of rights even after they have satisfied their sentence. A non-violent felony is a “victimless crime,” or a crime that involves non-physical injury to another, such as financial injury or property damage. Since the degree of harm is less than a violent felony, these felonies are often treated with more leniency. However they are still punishable by up to several years in state or federal prison. Examples of Violent Felonies Violent felonies are often referred to as “crimes against the person” because they involve direct and substantial physical harm to the victim. Common violent felonies include: First-degree murder: The defendant intentionally took the life of another, and the homicide was premeditated and deliberate. Second-degree murder: The defendant intentionally took the life of another but did not plan the killing in advance or the defendant took the life of another during the commission of a felony. Attempted murder: The defendant tried to take the life of another, but ultimately failed. Voluntary manslaughter: The defendant was provoked into intentionally taking the life of another, including imperfect self-defense. The provocation can involve an assault or adultery. This type of homicide generally occurs during the heat of passion. Involuntary manslaughter: The defendant unintentionally took another’s life due to gross negligence or recklessness such as drunk driving. Rape: Nonconsensual sexual penetration occurred due to use of force, threats/coercion, unconsciousness, intoxication, or intellectual disabilities. Assault, battery, and domestic violence: The defendant intentionally touched another in a hurtful or offensive manner, and this touch was unconsented or unwanted. Kidnapping in the first degree: The defendant abducts a victim and inflicts serious bodily harm in the process. Causing bodily injury while evading the police: The defendant hit someone and caused them to die or suffer physical injury while refusing to stop for the police. Threats: The defendant threatens to inflict bodily injury on another. Robbery: The unlawful taking of property using force, such as a weapon. Common Defenses to Violent Felonies Available defenses vary based on the unique circumstances of the case and the type of offense. However, common defenses include: Self-defense Mistake or accident Misidentification Adequate provocation Consent Insanity or diminished capacity – See more at: http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/what-is-a-violent-felony.html#sthash.0ByiFRD1.dpuf What Is Murder? Many people think murder is any killing of another person. Under the law, though, murder must involve: Direct action(s) which causes a person’s death. Some states include fetuses when defining “person”. Killing a pregnant woman will thus count as two murders. Malicious intent – the defendant must, at the time of the killing, wish to severely injury and/or end another person’s life. The killing was unlawful. What Is Malice? In order to be convicted of common law murder, the killing must require malice aforethought. Also known simply as malice, it does not mean that the defendant acted out of hate or spite toward the intended victim. Rather, malice aforethought exists when: Defendant intended to kill Defendant intends to inflict serious bodily injury that causes victims death Behaves in a way that shows extreme, reckless disregard to human life that results in victims death A defendant can be convicted of murder even if he or she did not intend to commit a killing, but rather was involved in a act or behaved in a way that had a high risk of death to human life. If that act result in a death of another, defendant could be liable for murder. Gradations of Murder (vary by state) First Degree Murder – generally, a killing which is deliberate and premeditated or in conjunction with a felony Many states consider the killing a First Degree Murder where: There is movement of the victim (kidnapping) The defendant was lying in wait, usually with the intent to ambush the victim There is a death of a police officer The killing has taken place during an inherently dangerous felony (Felony Murder) Torture has taken place Second Degree Murder – a non-premeditated killing resulting from an assault where death was a distinct possibility Second Degree Murder can be found where there was: Heat of passion A sudden fight or quarrel What’s the Difference between First Degree and Second Degree Murder? Many states have statutory degrees for murder. The rules vary from state to state as to what circumstances make an intentional killing either first degree or second-degree murder, but the following circumstances are factored: The killing was deliberate and premeditated: If the killer had formed intent to kill and has time no matter how brief or slight to reflect on the murder, the killing is said to be premeditated and planned. If the killer had a chance to think about alternatives, the killing is said to be deliberate. If these elements were present, the defendant would be liable for first degree murder. The killing occurs during the course of a dangerous felony: Under the felony murder rule doctrine, a felon can be guilty of first degree murder of a death of a person other than a co-felon occurs during the course of a dangerous felony, even if the felon is not the killer. The death must be a foreseeable consequence of the initial felony. If this element is met, than the defendant would be liable for first degree murder. Any other killings that involves malice: If the killing was not premeditated and deliberate and did not occur during a commission of a dangerous felony, then all other murders will be classified as second-degree murder. What Is the Difference between Murder and Manslaughter? Manslaughter is defined as the killing of another human being without malicious intent. However, states will often have different distinctions between the degrees of murder and manslaughter. This means that a second degree murder in one state may be a voluntary manslaughter in another. California, for example, considers a killing through the heat of passion as manslaughter rather than murder. The main difference between murder and manslaughter depends on the defendant’s state of mind. Typically, murder requires that the killing be done with malice aforethought, premeditation, and deliberation. However, both forms of homicide may count as culpable homicide depending on the circumstances. Are There Any Legal Defenses to a Murder Charge? The best way to defeat a murder charge is to negate one of the elements of murder: act and intent. Obviously, if a defendant can prove that there is no evidence he committed the act, then he would be clear of any murder or manslaughter charges. If, however, the defendant is linked to the act, then it may still be possible to reduce a murder charge by proving that there was no intent. Lowering the crime would reduce the sentence. A list of possible defenses to reduce the intent element can be found here. What Is the Penalty for Murder? The penalty for murder will differ based upon the degree and from state to state. Murder sentencing is subject to “enhancements” which may increase or decrease the punishment. Murder with a deadly weapon, for example, can increase the punishment while youth may work in the defendant’s favor. In general, first degree murder sentencing ranges from death to life imprisonment without parole. Second degree murder entails imprisonment with parole. The exact number of years will depend on the state, the judge and any enhancements included. What Can You Do If Accused of Murder? It is important to note that different states have different systems of gradation each with its own subtleties. Immediately consult a criminal defense lawyer familiar with your particular state’s criminal laws regarding your rights and defenses. What Can You Do If Someone You Know or a Loved One Has Been Murdered? Contact the police immediately. If there is sufficient evidence, the police will forward the case to the District Attorney’s office to prosecute the suspect who murdered the person. If you are interested in bringing a civil suit against the person, learn more at Wrongful Death. – See more at: http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/murder-lawyers.html#sthash.HwKRGTBO.dpuf What Is Manslaughter? Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another person that isn’t considered murder because of a surrounding or mitigating circumstance. Manslaughter is usually the charge of the prosecution when the killer did not plan to kill. What Is the Difference between Manslaughter and Murder? Manslaughter and murder are different when determining the defendant’s state of mind. The defendant state of mind when he kills defines the difference between murder and manslaughter. Murder usually requires malice, premeditation, and planning. Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice, but with conscious disregard to human life or recklessness and/or criminal negligence. Murder is usually mitigated to manslaughter because of mitigating factors and circumstances that surrounded around the killing. Two Types of Manslaughter There are two main types of manslaughter, voluntary and involuntary. 1) Voluntary Manslaughter Voluntary manslaughter is an act of killing that would usually be defined as murder, but the killing was committed in response to an adequate provocation. If there was adequate provocation that resulted in the killing, the criminal charges are reduced from murder to voluntary manslaughter. Adequate provocation is something that is sufficient to incite a normal person to sudden and intense passion. Courts commonly accept these types of Adequate Provocation: Conduct or act sufficient to deprive a reasonable person of self control The provocation actually provoked the defendant The time between the provocation and the actual killing cannot be long enough for reasonable person to cool off The defendant actually never cooled off 2) Involuntary Manslaughter Involuntary manslaughter is when a person unintentionally kills another person due to a lack of care. Involuntary manslaughter generally occurs on two occasions: Where there is a death attributed to recklessness or criminal negligence From an unlawful act that is a misdemeanor or a low-level felony For example, in vehicular manslaughter, a death occurs during a traffic violation such as driving under the influence. – See more at: http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/manslaughter-lawyers.html#sthash.RuUfmj5R.dpuf What Is Shaken Baby Syndrome? Shaken Baby Syndrome describes the resulting symptoms arising from the violent shaking of an infant or small child. Symptoms can be minor: Irritability Lethargy Tremors Vomiting Symptoms can also be quite major: Seizures Coma Death These symptoms arise from intracranial injuries, so unfortunately, in many cases there is no external evidence of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Are the Injuries from Shaken Baby Syndrome Serious? Yes. In fact, the injuries from Shaken Baby Syndrome can be fatal. The victims that survive their injuries often suffer from debilitating conditions ranging: Learning disorders Permanent vegetative state Blindness Mental and developmental retardation Can Falls Cause Similar Injuries to a Child as Shaken Baby Syndrome? Unless the child fell from a distance several stories high, then probably not. Alleged child abusers often claim that the injuries were sustained when the infant fell a short distance from a sofa, bed or changing table. However, studies show that short falls do not generally cause the type of intracranial injuries associated with Shaken Baby Syndrome. – See more at: http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/shaken-baby-syndrome.html#sthash.RET7M7Sv.dpuf What Is an Accessory to a Crime? An accessory to a crime is a person who voluntarily or knowingly takes part in a commission of a criminal act. Being an accessory can occur before or after the crime happens. To be criminally responsible for the crime as an accessory, the person does not have to be at the actual scene of the crime. One such accessory to a crime law in Texas is aiding an individual with ending their life. How Does the State Define Aiding Suicide? A person is guilty of assisted suicide when they act with the intent to assist or promote an individual taking their own life. It is a crime to either attempt to aid or actually aid the individual with ending their life. What Is the Punishment for Aiding Someone with Their Suicide? The crime of aiding an individual with their suicide can be a Class C misdemeanor in Texas. With a Class C misdemeanor, a person may be sentenced to a $500 fine. Can I Get Jail Time for Helping Someone with Their Suicide in Texas? Yes. Helping an individual with a suicide is only a fine if the suicide does not happen. A person does face a jail felony if their actions caused an individual to commit suicide or to attempt suicide and serious bodily injury occurs. What Is the Punishment for a State Jail Felony? In Texas, a state jail felony is punishable by: 180 days to two years in state jail $10,000 fine Both time in state jail and $10,000 fine – See more at: http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/texas-aiding-suicide-attorneys.html#sthash.FHkQfrXV.dpuf What Is Murder? Murder involves committing homicide, or a killing of a human being, with malice. Sometimes, malice is referred to as malice aforethought. Malice itself is not a specific criminal act. Instead, it is a part of many crimes where a person wants to cause harm to another. What Is Malice? Malice is the desire to engage in an evil action or commit a wrongful act. In criminal law, that wrongful act is usually one that is harmful to someone and done without any legal justification, cause, or provocation. Do Malice and Criminal Intent Have the Same Legal Definition? No. As previously mentioned, malice is the desire to do a wrongful act or act in an evil manner. Typically, that wrongful act is physically harming someone. Criminal intent is the intent to actually commit a specific crime instead of possessing a general desire to do something evil. Sometimes a crime may have both malice and criminal intent as elements, but they are not the same. Is Malice Only in Criminal Law? No. Malice is found in tort law as well. It still has the same general definition of being a sense of ill will or desire to do evil. However, it is not part of any attempt to physically harm someone, but rather to inflict psychological or financial harm. In the context of tort law, a person usually acts with malice to harm an individual’s reputation or livelihood. This is the case with libel and slander. Libel is a false and malicious statement made in print. Slander is a false and malicious statement said about someone. For a public figure to prove a libel or slander case, they must prove the defendant did the act with malice. Can I Go to Prison for Acting with Malice? Yes, but the exact punishment that someone may face depends on the criminal offense a person is charged with committing. For instance, a person convicted of murder can be sent to prison for the rest of their life. Can I Go to Prison for Acting with Malice in a Tort Case? No. Tort cases focus on providing a remedy such as money to the wronged person or requiring the defendant to act or avoid acting in a certain manner in an effort to remedy the harm that they have inflicted on the plaintiff. A person who commits a tort with malice will likely be required to pay money to the plaintiff or take some other action to remedy the harm they caused. Should I Talk to a Lawyer about My Case? Yes. Although malice can be complicated to prove, any criminal charge involving malice is a serious criminal charge, such as a first degree murder charge. If you are accused of committing a crime with malice, contact a criminal lawyer immediately. – See more at: http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/malice-lawyers.html#sthash.190MkNb3.dpuf homicide (n.) “the killing of another person,” early 13c., from Old French homicide, from Latin homicidium “manslaughter,” from homo “man” (see homunculus) + -cidium “act of killing” (see -cide). The meaning “person who kills another” (late 14c.) also is from French (homicide), from Latin homicida “a murderer,” from homo + -cida “killer.” Identical in French and English, the two words differ in Latin and in other languages (for example, Spanish homicida/homicidio). 1325-75; Middle English < Middle French < Latin homicīdium a killing,homicīda killer, equivalent to homi- (combining form of homō man) + -cīdium, -cīda -cide Evolutionary Forensic Psychology: Darwinian Foundations of Crime and Law
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