Chalk: Requirements of proof for homicide

I.   MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE    

A. Murder with Deliberate Premeditation
  1. The defendant caused the death of [name of victim].
  2. The defendant intended to kill.
  3. The defendant committed the killing with deliberate premeditation.
  4. [Where there is evidence of self-defense or defense of another] The defendant did not act in proper self-defense or in the proper defense of another.
  5. [Where there is evidence of mitigating circumstances]  There were no mitigating circumstances.
B. Murder with Extreme Atrocity or Cruelty
  1. The defendant caused the death of [name of victim].
  2. The defendant either:
    1. intended to kill; or
    2. intended to cause grievous bodily harm; or
    3. intended to do an act which, in the circumstances known to him, a reasonable person would have known created a plain and strong likelihood that death would result.
  3. The killing was committed with extreme atrocity or cruelty.
  4. [Where there is evidence of self-defense or defense of another] The defendant did not act in proper self-defense or in the proper defense of another.
  5. [Where there is evidence of mitigating circumstances]  There were no mitigating circumstances.
C.   Felony-Murder
  1. The defendant committed or attempted to commit [name of crime], a felony with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
  2. The killing was caused by an act of the defendant [or a person participating with the defendant] in the commission or attempted commission of the underlying felony.
  3. The act that caused the killing occurred during the commission or attempted commission of the felony.          
  4. The defendant either:          
    1. intended to kill; or
    2. intended to cause grievous bodily harm; or 
    3. intended to do an act which, in the circumstances known to him, a reasonable person would have known created a plain and strong likelihood that death would result.
  5. [Where there is evidence of self-defense or defense of another] The defendant did not act in proper self-defense or in the proper defense of another.
  6. [Where there is evidence of mitigating circumstances] There were no mitigating circumstances. 

II.  MURDER IN THE SECOND DEGREE                                                            

A.   Murder
  1. The defendant caused the death of [name of victim].
  2. The defendant either:
    1. intended to kill; or 
    2. intended to cause grievous bodily harm; or
    3. intended to do an act which, in the circumstances known to him, a reasonable person would have known created a plain and strong likelihood that death would result.
  3. [Where there is evidence of self-defense or defense of another] The defendant did not act in proper self-defense or in the proper defense of another.
  4. [Where there is evidence of mitigating circumstances]  There were no mitigating circumstances.                            

III. VOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER

A.   Voluntary Manslaughter as a Lesser Included Offense
  1. The defendant caused the death of [name of victim].                                              
  2. The defendant either:
    1. intended to kill; or 
    2. intended to cause grievous bodily harm; or
    3. intended to do an act which, in the circumstances known to him, a reasonable person would have known created a plain and strong likelihood that death would result.
  3. [Where there is evidence of self-defense or defense of another] The defendant did not act in proper self-defense or in the proper defense of another.
B.  Voluntary Manslaughter Absent a Murder Charge
  1. The defendant intentionally inflicted an injury or injuries on [name of victim] likely to cause death.
  2. The defendant caused the death of [name of victim].
  3. [Where there is evidence of self-defense or defense of another]  The defendant did not act in proper self-defense or in the proper defense of another.

IV.  INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER

A.   Death Caused by Wanton or Reckless Conduct
  1. The defendant caused the death of [name of victim].
  2. The defendant intended the conduct that caused the death of [name of victim].
  3. The defendant's conduct was wanton or reckless.
  4. [Where there is evidence of self-defense or defense of another] The defendant did not act in proper self-defense or in the proper defense of another.
B.   Death Caused by Wanton or Reckless Failure to Act    
  1. There was a special relationship between the defendant and [name of victim] which gave rise to a duty of care, or the defendant created a situation that posed a grave risk of death or serious injury to another.
  2. The defendant's failure to act caused the death of [name of victim]. 
  3. The defendant intentionally failed to act.                             
  4. The defendant's failure to act was wanton or reckless.
C.   Death Unintentionally Caused by a Battery
  1. The defendant caused the death of [name of victim].
  2. The defendant intentionally committed a battery upon [name of victim] that endangered human life.
  3. The defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the battery endangered human life.
  4. [Where there is evidence of self-defense or defense of another] The defendant did not act in proper self-defense or in the proper defense of another.

Additional Resources

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Address

John Adams Courthouse
One Pemberton Square - 1M
Boston, MA 02108
Date published: April 25, 2018
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