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Homicide (Murder)

At common law, as well as under modern statutory codes, the crime of homicide was (and is) divided into various component crimes. In addition to the crime of murder, the most serious crime, there are other crimes (e.g., voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, etc.). This lesson provides an overview of the crime of murder by examining how that crime was handled under the common law, as well as how it is handled under the Model Penal Code, and other modern statutory approaches. Subsequent lessons will provide more detailed examination of these topics. This lesson is intended for students who have studied the crime of murder in class, and who wish to refine and enhance their knowledge and understanding of the topic.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the lesson, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain how the crime of homicide was handled under common law.
  2. Discuss how the crime of homicide is handled under the Model Penal Code.
  3. Define malice aforethought under common law and in accordance with common notions.
  4. Analyze how modern statutes alter the common law formulation, and the reasons and justifications for the alterations.
  5. Provide an example from a jurisdiction that divides the crime of murder into degrees.
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