Homicide, also known as murder, is one of the grievous felonies an individual can carry out. As such, laws have been designed with the intentions of offering justice to the victim and his or her family. The manner in which justice is provided depends on various factors, including the circumstances in which it was perpetrated and the state of mind of the perpetrator. Depending with the intentions and the manner in which it was committed, murder is classified into three, including the first-degree murder, second degree, and manslaughter, which forms the third category of murder. The discussion will compare and contrast the statutes of first and second-degree murder in Florida and California.
Statutes of First Degree Murder in Florida
In Florida, the statute of first-degree murder defines it as the unlawful killing of a person, which is both premeditated and willingly. A person is known to have committed first-degree murder if the results in death, whether accidental or intentional. In this case, the murder may be connected to robbery, arson, rape, and burglary among other felonies (Scheb and Scheb 147). The penalty of first-degree murder in this state is death or life imprisonment without release on parole.
Second Degree Murder in Florida
The statutory definition of this degree of murder is the unlawful killing without premeditation, but with malice. In other words, the perpetrator did not intend to commit murder but was acting out of imminent danger. In such a case, the mandatory sentencing is a maximum of lifetime imprisonment and a minimum of up to 25 years if the murder involved the use of a gun.
First Degree Murder in California
According to the Californian penal code, the first-degree murder occurs when the murderer commits the heinous act with deliberation, premeditation, and willingness to kill. Killings committed during the processes of other criminal activities such as robbery, burglary, rape, and other forms of crime also qualify for first-degree murder. In addition, use of mass destruction weaponry such as bombs and poison qualifies killings as first-degree murder (Brody and Acker 231). Sentencing includes 25 years between bars, life imprisonment without parole, or death penalty.
Second Degree Murder in California
In this state, second-degree murder refers to homicide perpetrated without prior contemplation. A jail term of not less than 20 years is issued depending on whether a firearm was used from an automobile and can be increased to 25 years if the perpetrator was once involved in peace keeping activities. Worth noting is that if the offender had been convicted of homicide previously, the sentence can also include life imprisonment without parole.
Similarities and Differences
Both the statutes of first and second-degree murder in the State of Florida and California are similar in various ways. The first similarity is the fact that first-degree murders and second-degree murders differ from each other in the manner and intent they were perpetrated. Another similarity is in the charges where individuals found guilty of first-degree murder are sentenced to a life imprisonment without parole or death penalty. However, the two statutes have some differences in that the number of years of imprisonment for a person who had previously been jailed for either first or second-degree murder is sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in California and 10 years in Florida. In my own opinion, the differences between the definitions of first degree and second-degree murder are not substantial in the two states.
Brody, David C, and James R. Acker. Criminal Law. Sudbury: Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC, 2014. Print.
Scheb, John M, and John M. Scheb. Criminal Law. , 2014. Print.