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Miami Death Penalty, Murder and Homicide

Definition of Murder and Homicide

Murder: The common law definition of murder refers to the unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought. Treachery is the technical term that is sometimes colloquially known as "premeditated", however, the term "willful" implies a preconceived plan to commit the murder, but together the two terms broaden its meaning.
Homicide: Sometimes used as a synonym for murder but has a broader scope. Murder is a form of criminal homicide.

Murder Vs. Homicide

Generally the words murder and homicide are used in an interchangeable way but do not have the same meaning. Although both terms are used to describe the act of killing another individual, the circumstances that surround both charges greatly differ.

The key difference between murder and homicide is that homicide just means the death of a person and murder goes a littler further- requiring the intention to kill an individual. Homicide describes any kind of death where an individual is guilty of such death; however, there may be mitigating circumstances that may influence the homicide charge. When someone is convicted of murder, they are not only guilty of murder but it was also proven that the person had the intention of killing. Murder is under all circumstances illegal, which is not the case for homicide.

Types of Homicide:

Every state in the United States has different types of classifications of homicide. Nevertheless, these classifications are generally broken down into four broad categories which are as follows:

  • Involuntary homicide
  • Voluntary homicide
  • First degree murder
  • Second degree murder

Involuntary Homicide

Generally refers to an unintentional killing that comes from the result of recklessness, criminal negligence or a wrongful act, that is, a crime higher or lower level (such as a DUI). It is a kind of homicide where the death of the victim is undesired.

Homicide charges often come as a result of a fatal car accident caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Although the driver never intended to kill anyone, it is negligence in operating a vehicle while intoxicated is sufficient to meet the requirements of the position. For example: a person comes home to find your partner being unfaithful, distraught, goes to a local bar to drown his sorrow. After a few drinks takes the car and drives down the street at twice the seed limit established, accidentally hits and kills a pedestrian.

They can also be charged with manslaughter activities that are perfectly legal, this happens when you commit acts that are considered irresponsible or reckless.

Defense against Involuntary Homicide

Prosecutors trying to convict a defendant for manslaughter charges really need to convince the jury that there was an intention behind the act, since maliciousness is not a form of offense. A criminal lawyer will try to question at least one of the three circumstances of the involuntary manslaughter crime to defend his client of the charges.
Some of the most common legal defenses to involuntary manslaughter charges are the following:

  • An act of self-defense
  • It was an accident
  • Were falsely accused or unjustly detained
  • The authorities do not have sufficient proof

Involuntary manslaughter Charges

Causing the death of an individual due to reckless behavior but not malicious intent carries a lighter sentence than any other forms of homicide. Involuntary manslaughter at a state level as well as a federal level is treated as a felony that generally carries a sentence of at least 12 months in prison, plus fines and probation.

Voluntary manslaughter

Voluntary homicide is generally characterized as a purposeful murdering in which the wrongdoer had no former expectation to murder, for example, a crime that is processed by the rush of slaughtering. The circumstances that prompted killing must be of a sensible individual getting to be sincerely or rationally bothered, overall demise might be charged as a homicide of the first of second degree. For instance somebody returns to discover his partner being unfaithful, and without giving it much thought takes a golf club and hits the mate executing him immediately.

Defense against Voluntary Manslaughter

The defense on charges of voluntary manslaughter is similar to the defenses that the defendant may raise in other murder charges. If the defendant faces a charge of voluntary manslaughter, they may try to prove that they did not in fact commit the crime. Their claims will be justified in that his behavior does not meet the elements of voluntary homicide. Some of the most common charges for voluntary manslaughter are as follows:

  • Innocence, as in, justifying that the defendant did not commit the crime
  • Self-defense
  • Madness at the time of the crime
  • Intoxication

Charges for Voluntary Homicide

Once a defendant has been convicted of murder by a jury, the court shall set the sentence. The exact penalty will depend on certain details of the case. One key factor is current language of the law which will dictate the punishment for the crime in that jurisdiction. Statutes generally contain one or a series of punishments from which the courts can choose to establish the penalty for a conviction.

Judges may consider the aggravating and mitigating factors when sentencing. The federal law against voluntary manslaughter requires that the defendant should receive fines and/or imprisonment of not more than 10 years.

Miami Death Penalty Cases

First Degree Murder

For first-degree murder is often dictated as the toughest sentence of any crime. In Florida all convictions for this crime are based on the death penalty and life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

Aggravating factors influence the judgment of a first-degree murder, the most common are:

  • The defendant had one or more previous convictions of murder.
  • The murder occurred during the occurrence of any violent crime (such as fire, theft or rape).
  • The victim was a law enforcement officer and was in office.
  • The murder was atrocious and involved torture.
  • The defendant planned to ambush the victim.

The defendant may also argue that the prosecution has not proven beyond any reasonable doubt all the elements needed to convict for first degree murder and that there was no intention or deliberation and premeditation.

Sentences for First-Degree Murder Cases

It might be characterized in two forms; as a murdering that was not purposeful, planned, or arranged or as a murder brought about by risky behavior and the guilty party's absence of sympathy toward human life. This kind of homicide could be seen as the midpoint between the first-degree homicide and voluntary murder.

Sentences for Second-Degree Murder Cases

There are three average circumstances that may constitute second-degree murder:

  • Impulsive murder with malice aforethought: occurs in the heat of the moment, and does not constitute premeditation on the murderer's behalf. At the time of the murder, the defendant certainly intended to kill the victim, but so far had no prior intention or plan to commit murder.
  • Murder after an act intended to cause serious bodily injury: occurs when the author has the intention to cause serious bodily injury knowing that this could result in the death of a person. The murderer didnt necessarily have to intend to kill the victim but knows that death is a possible outcome.
  • Murder as a result of a depraved difference to human life: occurs when a victim dies as the result of a depraved lack of concern for human life.

Second Degree Murder in Florida

There are several defenses that can be applied to a second-degree murder. Most defendants say they actually didn't commit a crime. Other defendants admit having killed the victim, but claimed some sort of justification. Lawyers call these cases affirmative defenses. Similar to other criminal cases, whether a defense strategy will successful or not will depend on different facts of the case and the laws of jurisdiction.

Examples of the most common charges of second-degree murder legal defenses are:

  • Actual innocence
  • Mental problems
  • Self Defense
  • Voluntary or involuntary intoxication

Defense of Second Degree Murder

There is a slight distinction between 3rd degree murder and voluntary manslaughter and it is important to understand the difference. For example: a person hits another several times with brutality during a fight and the battered person dies of a brain hemorrhage and internal injuries caused by the blows. This is a third-degree murder using the seriousness of the crisis as evidence of malice. In contrast, if a person hits another in the heat of the moment only once and the person dies, the defendant can only be charged with voluntary manslaughter.

Examples of the most common charges of second-degree murder legal defenses are:

  • Actual innocence
  • Mental problems
  • Self Defense
  • Voluntary or involuntary intoxication

Third Degree Murder in Florida

There is a slight distinction between 3rd degree murder and voluntary manslaughter and it is important to understand the difference. For example: a person hits another several times with brutality during a fight and the battered person dies of a brain hemorrhage and internal injuries caused by the blows. This is a third-degree murder using the seriousness of the crisis as evidence of malice. In contrast, if a person hits another in the heat of the moment only once and the person dies, the defendant can only be charged with voluntary manslaughter.

Gallardo Law Firm and your assistance on Miami Death Penalty Cases

With years of practice, the attorneys at Gallardo Law Firm are known for their effectiveness and ability to defend people who are being accused of violent crimes such as murder or manslaughter. Our attorneys handle all types of cases involving homicide as arson, armed robbery and murder. These charges can have penalties as severe as life in prison or even the death penalty.


Death Penalty in Miami

Common Questions and Answers about Miami Death Penalty cases

In order to establish an exact expression, courts examine the circumstances of the crime in order to determine the appropriate sanction. These circumstances are divided into two categories, aggravating and mitigating factors. Aggravating factors are the facts about the crime the defendant or the victim and tend to cause the most serious offense and generally deserve a tougher sentence. Courts take into consideration aggravating factors such as the viciousness of a crime while mitigating factors tend to reduce sentences. They show that the defendant poses a lower risk to society, so a long sentence is unnecessary. Mitigating factors include the lack of criminal record and acceptance of responsibility for the crime charged.
The criminal act for both offenses is the same: the death of another person. The main difference between them is the mental state of the person committing the crime. First degree murder is premeditated murder. In other words, the murderer thinks out a plan to kill another person and then performs the act. In a second degree murder there is no plan made in advance.
The main elements for an involuntary manslaughter conviction are: the killing is a result of an action taken by the defendant, such act was not necessarily dangerous or was made with lack of concern for human life, and the defendant should have known or was aware that his/her acts represented a threat to another person(s) life.
Elements of a first-degree murder.
  • Intent
  • Deliberation and premeditation
  • Premeditation aforethought