Elements of Homicide

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    • Intent is simply the reason or purpose for which a homicide is committed. For intent to exist, a person had to think and deliberate over the crime before committing it. There must be some form of deliberation over the specific reason for the act of homicide. Intent is also present in an inverted manner. For example, if a person's actions are incredibly negligent or reckless and result in a death, there is intent present because the outcome should have been obvious.


    • Another element of homicide is the physical action that resulted in the death of one person at another person's hands, simply known as the "act." What did the person accused of committing homicide, or defendant, physically do to cause the homicide and can it be proven? "Failure to act" is another kind of "act," that is generally applicable in cases where extreme neglect has resulted in death, such as a parent ignoring the legal obligation to care for his or her children, ultimately ending in a negligent homicide.


    • Causation is the third element of homicide. This element deals with the events that actually caused the death of the victim. It must be proven that the actions of the person being accused of committing the homicide were directly responsible for this death. In any case where causation falls under question, measures are taken to attempt to provide an answer to these uncertainties. An example of this would be extensive autopsies to determine cause of death. Causation must be determined before the defendant can be convicted of homicide.


    • If proven guilty of committing any form of homicide, except perhaps justifiable homicide, a person must face a felony sentence, and serve an allotted amount of time behind bars. Being charged with homicide is one of the most serious charges a person could face in the court system. When a person is convicted of this crime, the sentence they receive acts as punishment, and an attempt to provide closure to any loved ones the homicide victim left behind.

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