Homicide
Overview
 
Homicide refers to the act of a human killing another human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

. Murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

, for example, is a type of homicide. It can also describe a person who has committed such an act, though this use is rare in modern English. Homicide is not always a punishable act under the criminal law, and is different than a murder from such formal legal point of view.
Criminal homicide takes several forms and includes certain unintentional killings.
Encyclopedia
Homicide refers to the act of a human killing another human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

. Murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

, for example, is a type of homicide. It can also describe a person who has committed such an act, though this use is rare in modern English. Homicide is not always a punishable act under the criminal law, and is different than a murder from such formal legal point of view.

Criminal homicide

Criminal homicide takes several forms and includes certain unintentional killings. The crime committed in a criminal homicide is determined by the state of mind of the defendant and statutes defining the crime. Murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

, for example, is usually an intentional crime. In some jurisdictions, certain types of murders automatically qualify for capital punishment
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

, but if the defendant in a capital case is sufficiently mentally disabled in the United States he may not be executed, for reasons described in Atkins v. Virginia
Atkins v. Virginia
Atkins v. Virginia, , is a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 6-3 that executing the mentally retarded violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishments.-The case:...

, similar to those utilizing an insanity defense.

Varying by jurisdiction, a homicide that occurs during the commission of a felony
Felony
A felony is a serious crime in the common law countries. The term originates from English common law where felonies were originally crimes which involved the confiscation of a convicted person's land and goods; other crimes were called misdemeanors...

 may constitute murder regardless the felon's mental state with regard to the killing. This is known as the felony murder rule
Felony murder rule
The rule of felony murder is a legal doctrine in some common law jurisdictions that broadens the crime of murder in two ways. First, when an offender kills accidentally or without specific intent to kill in the course of an applicable felony, what might have been manslaughter is escalated to murder...

. Much abbreviated and incomplete, the felony murder rule says that one committing a felony may be guilty of murder if someone, including the felony victim, a bystander or a co-felon, dies as a result of his acts, regardless his intent - or lack thereof - to kill.

Criminal homicides also include voluntary and involuntary manslaughter
Manslaughter
Manslaughter is a legal term for the killing of a human being, in a manner considered by law as less culpable than murder. The distinction between murder and manslaughter is said to have first been made by the Ancient Athenian lawmaker Dracon in the 7th century BC.The law generally differentiates...

. The mental state of the perpetrator of these crimes differs from that of one who commits murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

.

Although suicide is not a form of homicide, assisting in another's suicide may constitute criminal homicide, as codified, for instance, in California Penal Code Sec. 401.

State-sanctioned homicide

Homicides may also be non-criminal when conducted with the sanction of the state. The most obvious examples are capital punishment
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

, in which the state determines that a person should die. Some argue that, though abortion is the "killing" of unborn humans, it qualifies as a form of legal homicide. Homicides committed in action during war
War
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

 are usually not subject to criminal prosecution either. In addition, members of law enforcement entities are also allowed to commit justified homicides within certain parameters which, when met, do not usually result in prosecution; see deadly force
Deadly force
Deadly force, as defined by the United States Armed Forces, is the force which a person uses, causing—or that a person knows, or should know, would create a substantial risk of causing—death or serious bodily harm...

.

External Links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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