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Pinar del Chayan Group

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Homicide


Data on Firearms and Homicides (PDF) UCR Handbook (PDF) The Homicide, Ministers & Community Alliance (HMCA) assists families who are coping with the homicide of a loved one. For more information, Homicide Ministers Webpage.




Homicide



The Homicide Section is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of homicides committed in the District of Columbia. The Section is staffed with some of the most experienced trial attorneys in the U.S. Attorney's Office. Homicide prosecutors are assigned to a particular geographic district, which correspond to Metropolitan Police Department districts 1 through 7, to maximize the benefit of gathering and utilizing criminal intelligence about a particular area or offender. There is also a Specialized Cases Unit within the Homicide Section that focuses on murders involving young children, domestic violence, sex crimes, vehicular homicides, and cold cases.


The most serious homicides are murders, which carry the most serious penalties. Other forms of homicide demonstrate reduced levels of intent. These include manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide, and vehicular homicide. In rare cases, a killing is classified as legally justified by self-defense or some other reason and is not punished as a crime.


Murder is the most serious charge of criminal homicide. State statutes typically divide murder into different degrees of wrongfulness. The typical definition of first-degree murder is a killing that is both intentional and premeditated.


In some states, statutes define an unintentional form of manslaughter as involuntary manslaughter or negligent homicide. In these cases, the perpetrator accidentally killed the victim as a result of engaging in risky or criminally negligent behavior. This applies to defendants who should have been aware that their actions were risky or negligent or those who, like parents, had a special duty of care toward the victim.


Because different states have different names for similar criminal charges. Reckless homicide and negligent homicide are the preferred modern terms because the title defines the state of mind or mens rea possessed by the killer. These charges require either that the defendant knew the lethal actions were risky and could cause harm or that the defendant failed to abide by a duty of care or special responsibility toward the victim. These charges are commonly used in jurisdictions that have eliminated voluntary and involuntary manslaughter charges from their criminal statutes.


In general, automobile crashes are not charged as first- or second-degree murder because the vehicle operator had no intent to kill anyone. Many fatal car accidents are just that - accidents. No criminal charges follow those incidents, however tragic. The deaths that draw criminal charges tend to result from the dangerously reckless or negligent operation of a vehicle. Examples of vehicular homicide include causing a death while:


Some killings that would fall under criminal laws against manslaughter or murder are not illegal. These are sometimes referred to as "justifiable homicide." A prime example is killing to protect human life, in self-defense or in defense of someone else.


A homicide is deemed justified if state law allows lethal force in a self-defense situation. Most state laws allow justified homicide to defend oneself or another when faced with a credible threat of bodily harm such as rape, armed robbery, or murder.


Justifiable homicide is not a common phenomenon. In a study of more than 4,500 handgun homicide cases from FBI records, only some 7% of murders were found to be justified. The study found one important caveat: If the killer was white and the victim was black, and the state where they lived has a Stand Your Ground law, a murder as almost twice as likely (13.6%) to be ruled a justifiable homicide.


Killings by a police officers in the line of duty is often considered a justified homicide. There have been a few high-profile cases of police killings leading to criminal charges (most notably the Derek Chauvin case), but these prosecutions represent a tiny fraction of the cases of civilians killed by police each year. In 2020, there were 1,021 fatal police shootings, with black and Hispanic victims about twice as likely to be killed.


Regardless of the type of homicide, it could also lead to a civil lawsuit for wrongful death. Family members of the victim may sue the alleged perpetrator, even if they were not found guilty of the killing of another person in criminal court. The standard of proof for a wrongful death lawsuit is much lower than the criminal standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


Physician-assisted suicide is the controversial practice of providing terminally ill people with a lethal dose of medication that allows them to painlessly end their own lives. This process is sometimes incorrectly referred to "euthanasia," but it is not truly homicide because the ultimate decision to die is made by the deceased.


Any criminal charge that meets the legal definition of homicide is serious. Defense in homicide cases is complicated and requires intensive preparation. If you've been charged with a homicide-related crime, or any crime for that matter, meet with an experienced criminal defense attorney.


Homicide is a major cause of death in the United States, and there are major disparities by age and race/ethnicity. Strategies to prevent intimate partner violence, child abuse and neglect, and youth violence are critical for reducing homicides.


Benefits may be available to assist you for the loss of your loved one. This section explains the Crime Victims Compensation Program (CVCP) and the benefits that can be provided to family members of homicide victims.


Vehicular homicide, also known as vehicular manslaughter, is the reckless or negligent killing of another through the use of a vehicle. Vehicular homicide statutes are a relatively new category of criminal statutes that arose from state concerns about how to deal with the prevalence of vehicle-related deaths. Prior to the passing of these statutes, drivers were typically charged with involuntary manslaughter. Vehicular manslaughter charges are not limited to the death of a passenger, but can include the death of a pedestrian, bystander or other driver as well. Even where multiple drivers may be involved in an accident, vehicular homicide can still be charged if any driver has acted recklessly or negligently.


When we think of negligent or careless actions while driving, driving while intoxicated is one of the offenses that may quickly come to mind. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that nearly 28 people are killed every day as a result of alcohol-impaired driving and over one-fifth of drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported to have a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. Driving under the influence (DUI) (also known as a driving while intoxicated [DWI] or operating while intoxicated [OWI]) constitutes a significant portion of vehicular homicide charges and is a problem more and more states are treating increasingly harshly. In some states, including California, convicted DUI offenders who repeatedly drive while intoxicated and cause a fatal collision may be charged with first-degree murder or second-degree murder.


In New York City, homicides were up nearly 40% over the previous year by Dec. 20, 2020. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the numbers should worry New Yorkers. Bryan Thomas/Getty Images hide caption


At the end of 2020, Chicago police reported more than 750 murders, a jump of more than 50% compared with 2019. By mid-December, Los Angeles saw a 30% increase over the previous year with 322 homicides. There were 437 homicides in New York City by Dec. 20, nearly 40% more than the previous year.


New Orleans-based data consultant Jeff Asher studied crime rates in more than 50 cities and says the crime spikes aren't just happening in big cities. With the numbers of homicides spiking in many places, Asher expects the final statistics for 2020 to tell a startlingly grim story.


Kim Davies, interim dean of Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Department of Social Sciences at Augusta University, says that's where confrontational homicide is often the cause.


"It's homicide where two people, mostly men, get into some kind of confrontation over, you know, who's more manly and nobody backs down," says Davies. "And before you know it, somebody pulls a weapon and it often ends in violence."


Which means that some of the very things that have successfully prevented homicides in the past just aren't available until the COVID-19 vaccines become more widespread and the added daily stress posed by the virus diminishes.


The Homicide Investigation Tracking System (HITS) is a program within the Attorney General's Office that tracks and investigates homicides and rapes. It is the only statewide central repository for information relating to violent crimes against persons. Data from more than 10,600 murder investigations and more than 8,200 sexual assaults has been collected through HITS, and has been used to assist local law enforcement in the investigation of these crimes. Typically, in every calendar year, HITS will respond to almost 800 requests for assistance or information. The investigators who work in HITS also provide expertise to the local and national jurisdictions on homicide and rape investigations. HITS is a national leader in developing and using computers in innovative ways to prevent and increase the solvability of crimes and has been the recipient of several grants to study "trends" or common characteristics in violent crime.


After snorting a $10 bag of heroin, Peter stopped breathing and Amy called 911. In the same day, Amy lost her boyfriend of 18 years to a fatal overodse and custody of their 5-year-old son. Two months later, Amy was charged with drug-induced homicide. In this video, Amy shares her story from prison where she is serving a seven-year sentence. 041b061a72


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