These homicides are regarded as justified or excusable, such as self defense or orders to kill a person who threatens them with death or serious injury, or they may be commanded or authorized by law to kill a person who is a member of an enemy force or who has committed a serious crime.
Some states have expanded homicide to apply to the killing of fetus. This may also be charged as feticide.
To consult State Legislation regarding homicide laws and regulations please see the Criminal Code by State page.
Homicide Law - US
- ABA - Criminal Justice Section
The Criminal Justice Section has primary responsibility for the American Bar Association's work on solutions to issues involving crime, criminal law, and the administration of criminal and juvenile justice. The Section plays an active leadership role in bringing the views of the ABA to the attention of federal and state courts, Congress, and other federal and state judicial, legislative, and executive policy-making bodies. The Section also serves as a resource to its members on issues in the forefront of change in the criminal justice arena.
- Euthanasia, Physician Assisted Suicide, Mercy Killing - Justifiable Homicide
Assisted suicide laws around the world are clear in some nations but unclear – if they exist at all – in others. Just because a country has not defined its criminal code on this specific action does not mean all assisters will go free. It is a complicated state of affairs. A great many people instinctively feel that suicide and assisted suicide are such individual acts of freedom and free will that they assume there are no legal prohibitions. This fallacy has brought many people into trouble with the law. While suicide is no longer a crime – and where it is because of a failure to update the law it is not enforced – assistance remains a crime almost everywhere by some statute or other.
- Fetal Homicide - State Laws
The debate over fetal rights is not new to the legislative arena. Every year pro-life and pro-choice advocates vie for the upper hand in this contentious issue. In recent years, states have expanded this debate to include the issue of fetuses killed by violent acts against pregnant women. In some states, legislation has increased the criminal penalties for crimes involving pregnant women. These laws have focused on the harm done to a pregnant woman and the subsequent loss of her pregnancy, but not on the rights of the fetus.
- Homicide - Overview
Although the term homicide is sometimes used synonymously with murder, homicide is broader in scope than murder. Murder is a form of criminal homicide; other forms of homicide might not constitute criminal acts. These homicides are regarded as justified or excusable. For example, individuals may, in a necessary act of Self-Defense, kill a person who threatens them with death or serious injury, or they may be commanded or authorized by law to kill a person who is a member of an enemy force or who has committed a serious crime. Typically, the circumstances surrounding a killing determine whether it is criminal. The intent of the killer usually determines whether a criminal homicide is classified as murder or Manslaughter and at what degree.
- National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) - Homicide Data Resource Guide
This Homicide Data Resource Guide was designed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) staff to provide easy access to data collections related to homicide. For instance, it provides quick links to certain types of homicide studies and links to studies available for online data analysis. This resource guide also provides useful information for secondary analysis of NACJD data collections, such as customized help for complex data collections, information on how to obtain restricted access data, and links to funding opportunities and publications.
- National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Violent Crime - Homicide
NCJRS offers extensive reference and referral services to help you find answers to your questions about crime and justice-related research, policy, and practice. Search Questions & Answers to access hundreds of questions related to juvenile and criminal justice, victim assistance, drug policy, and NCJRS services.
- The Castle Doctrine - Justifiable Homicide
The Castle Doctrine, or the Defense of Habitation Law is a derived from English Common Law. The law defines ones home, or in some cases any place that you legally occupy, as a place where you have the liberty to be free from trespass. It also gives you the right to defend your life, or the life of another who legally occupies the “castle” with deadly force if the situation warrants it. In a legal proceeding your actions can be defended as justifiable under the Castle Doctrine.
- United States Department of Justice (USDOJ)
Our mission: to enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.
- Vehicular Homicide - Overview
Vehicular homicide (also known as vehicular manslaughter) in most states in the United States, is a crime. In general, it involves death that results from the negligent operation of a vehicle, or more so a result from driving whilst committing an unlawful act that does not amount to a felony. In the Model Penal Code there is no separate category of vehicular homicide, and vehicular homicides that involve negligence. Both are included in the overall category of negligent homicide. It can be compared to the offence of dangerous driving causing death in other countries.
Organizations Related to Homicide Law
- American Society of Criminology
The American Society of Criminology is an international organization whose members pursue scholarly, scientific, and professional knowledge concerning the measurement, etiology, consequences, prevention, control, and treatment of crime and delinquency.
- Center for Homicide Research
The Center for Homicide Research is a unique, volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization addressing the issue of homicide in our communities. The mission of the Center for Homicide Research is to promote greater knowledge and understanding of the unique nature of homicide through sound empirical research, critical analysis, and effective community partnerships. The three-fold goals of the Center are to increase case solvability, to articulate homicide issues and to reduce incidence of homicide. Our ultimate aim is to prevent homicides.
- Homicide Research Working Group (HRWG)
Though homicide research, dataset development, and intervention programs literally involve life-and-death issues, work in lethal violence had been scattered among numerous disciplines and largely uncoordinated. In an attempt to address this problem, practical and academic homicide experts from criminology, public health, demography, geography, medicine, sociology, criminal justice and a variety of other disciplines created the Homicide Research Working Group.
- International Homicide Investigators Association (IHIA)
The primary mission of the International Homicide Investigators Association (IHIA) is to assist and support law enforcement agencies and death investigations professionals by providing leadership, training, resources and expertise necessary to solve cases.
- Justice for Homicide Victims
Justice For Homicide Victims (JHV), a non-profit organization. We provide support in dealing with the pain and suffering associated with the homicide of a loved one when the victims’ survivors are usually totally misunderstood by their friends and relatives. We assist homicide victim survivors by providing them with their rights under current laws and provide support of victims who fight for their rights. Mission Statement: To be the champion of the legal rights of survivors of homicide victims by providing them information about victim rights in all aspects of the criminal justice system.
- Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) - Homicide: Survivors / Co-victims
The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) was established by the 1984 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) to oversee diverse programs that benefit victims of crime.
Publications Related to Homicide Law
- Bureau of Justice Statistics - Homicide Trends in the U.S.
Provides information on homicide trends using various criteria.
- NACJD - Data Related Literature - Homicide
NACJD makes criminal justice data available to the public for secondary analysis. We do not produce published reports, statistics, charts, or other analyses based upon data holdings. However, users interested in such publications can search our Online Bibliography of Data-Related Literature for publications related to NACJD data collections (and ICPSR data collections in general).
- WD - Homicide Articles and Information
Homicide: The killing of a person by another. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Homicide are discussed here.
Articles on HG.org Related to Homicide Law
- Maryland Citizen’s Dream of Death Penalty Abolition Closer to RealityTo execute just one innocent person is too much, even if it means that people convicted of offenses like homicide will escape the ultimate punishment for their crimes.
- South Africa - JusticeThis is a sad story of a very poor woman who committed a serious crime but was fortunate enough to appear before a remarkably sympathetic judge. Saziso pleaded guilty to murdering her two young children and entered into a plea agreement. It is not known whether she was represented at the trial. Acting Judge Guido Penzhorn was asked to ratify the terms of the agreement. The sentence was for 15 years imprisonment.
- Hearsay Evidence Allowed in High-Profile Illinois Murder CaseDrew Peterson’s defense team is ending an almost two-year battle to stop hearsay evidence from being introduced at his pending murder trial. Peterson, a former Bolingbrook, Illinois police sergeant, is charged with killing his ex-wife, Kathleen Savio in 2004. Savio, who was Peterson’s third wife, was found dead in her dry bathtub and her death was originally ruled an accidental drowning.
- Supreme Court Opinion Raises Bar for Criminal Defense AttorneysIn mid March of 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States approved a request for a new trial for a Michigan man who claimed that his lawyer had been giving him bad advice. The Cooper case highlights one of the most important aspects that both lawyers and the general public should take into account when it comes to cases of criminal defense.
- The Rise of Auto Theft in DenverIt may surprise you to learn that a person living in Colorado is twice as likely to have their car stolen as a person living in New York City. According to the Colorado State Patrol, Denver has five thefts per 1,000 cars and a surprisingly large number of those thefts are carried out for the purpose of committing more serious crimes.
- Delay of Four Years before Filing First Degree Murder Charges not Sufficiently Prejudicial to Merit DismissalA jury convicted John Clyde Abel of first degree murder for the 1991 shooting and robbery of a grocery store owner. The shooting took place in a bank parking lot in the City of Orange. The judge sentenced Abel to death. During a part of the sentencing phase of trial, Abel conceded that he had robbed about twenty people in multiple scenarios over his lifetime that were never prosecuted.
- Conviction for Second Degree Murder by Child Neglect UpheldA Riverside County jury convicted Gregory Lee Latham and his wife of second degree murder of their daughter, age 17, for failing to obtain medical treatment for her type 1 diabetes, which resulted in her death. Gregory was sentenced to seventeen years in prison. His wife was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. Not only did the jury convict both Lathams of violating Penal Code § 187(a) (Second Degree Murder), but the jury also convicted each of child endangerment (Penal Code § 273a(a).
- Texas Bail HearingsHow Does the Court Determine the Amount of Bail?
- Conviction for Murder of Cop Reconsidered for DA Withholding EvidenceJesse Gonzalez was convicted of first degree murder with special circumstances for killing a police officer on duty. The conviction arose after he used a shotgun when Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Deputies kicked down his front door while serving a search warrant.
- The Consequences of Murder ChargesA murder charge in Florida or homicide in Florida can result in serious jail time and fines. A South Florida criminal defense lawyer can help.
- All Criminal Law Articles
Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Criminal Law including: arson, assault, battery, bribery, burglary, child abuse, child pornography, computer crime, controlled substances, credit card fraud, criminal defense, criminal law, drugs and narcotics, DUI, DWI, embezzlement, fraud, expungements, felonies, homicide, identity theft, manslaughter, money laundering, murder, perjury, prostitution, rape, RICO, robbery, sex crimes, shoplifting, theft, weapons, white collar crime and wire fraud.