• "Malice aforethought" was mens rea
    • Now distorted somewhat (term of art)
    • 1. Intent to kill (unmitigated)
    • 2. Intent to inflict SBI
    • 3. Extreme recklessness (“depraved indifference to human life”)
    • 4. Felony murder
  • Voluntary act leading to death

  • Convicted of first-degree murder which requires an extra-special mens rea:
    • premeditated (thinking ahead of time) and deliberate (cool, calculating)
Voluntary manslaughter
  • Provocation (sudden) that would cause a reasonable person to lose composure and not have sufficient time to regain composure.
  • MPC: extreme emotional disturbance (lower, more flexible standard).]
State v. Thornton
  • Husband and wife separated, husband 2nd-year law student.
  • Court recognized that adulterous affair/seduction of wife would enflame passions in a reasonable person.
Involuntary manslaughter
  • Gross/extreme negligence OR recklessness that leads proximately to death.
  • How different from 2nd degree (depraved indifference)?
  • MPC: have involuntary manslaughter (reckless conduct, conscious unreasonableness) plus negligent homicide (gross negligence).
MAKE SURE TO LOOK TO BOTH Involuntary Manslaughter AND Extreme Recklessness Murder. (In CA--implied "malice aforethought" developed in case law instead of explicit extreme recklessness murder as a term, but comes "embedded" in the common law at the root of Calif.'s statute.)

Commonwealth v. Welanksy
  • Owner of nightclub charged after fire in club, exits blocked.
Commonwealth v. Feinberg
  • Seller of Sterno cans, customers drinking it for alcohol. New industrial version contained more methanol, killing 30+ people.
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