Learning Objectives


  1. The distinction in the law of homicide between murder and manslaughter was introduced in the 1960s as part of an effort to reform the criminal law.
  2. The law of murder in every state protects fetuses at the point of conception.
  3. First-degree murder involves the intentional, deliberate, and premeditated killing of another. Premeditation according to a number of state courts can occur in an instant and does not require a period of reflection.
  4. In states that continue to use capital punishment, every defendant convicted of the killing of another person may be sentenced to death.
  5. An individual who is genuinely unaware of the obvious and severe risk created by his or her dangerous act in most states satisfies the intent requirement of depraved heart murder.
  6. Under the agency theory of felony murder, all the felons involved in the felony are held guilty for any and all deaths that occur in the course of committing the felony.
  7. Individual employees as well as the corporation for which they work in a number of states may be held criminally liable for a homicide where the employees’ criminal conduct is undertaken or approved of by corporate managers or officials.
  8. Involuntary manslaughter is defined as murder in the heat of passion while voluntary manslaughter entails the negligent taking of the life of another individual.