Sunday, January 11, 2009

First... Second... Third... or None?

A couple of weeks ago I posted a poll that asked: 'what do you think a jury will find Harlow Cuadra guilty of: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, third-degree murder, or innocent?'.

Interestingly an over-whelming majority chose "first-degree murder".

Now I'm not sure if that's because of personal wishes, or thoughts based upon law... but since we're getting closer to Harlow's trial, I'd like to know the reason as to why you chose what you did... assuming you don't mind sharing.

Meanwhile... here's the Pennsylvania Crimes Code:


§ 2501. Criminal Homicide:

(a) Offense defined: A person is guilty of criminal homicide if he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or negligently causes the death of another human being.

(b) Classification: Criminal homicide shall be classified as murder, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter.

§ 2502. Murder:

(a) Murder of the first degree: A criminal homicide constitutes murder of the first degree when it is committed by an intentional killing.

(b) Murder of the second degree: A criminal homicide constitutes murder of the second degree when it is committed while defendant was engaged as a principal or an accomplice in the perpetration of a felony.

(c) Murder of the third degree: All other kinds of murder shall be murder of the third degree. Murder of the third degree is a felony of the first degree.

(d) Definitions: As used in this section the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Intentional killing":
Killing by means of poison, or by lying in wait, or by any other kind of willful, deliberate and premeditated killing.

"Perpetration of a felony":
The act of the defendant in engaging in or being an accomplice in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing, or attempting to commit robbery, rape, or deviate sexual intercourse by force or threat of force, arson, burglary or kidnapping.

A person who is the actor or perpetrator of the crime.

It should also be noted that the penalties for each offense are as follows (maximum time):

(1) Murder of the first degree: Mandatory death or life imprisonment
(2) Murder of the second degree: Mandatory life imprisonment
(3) Felony of the first degree (murder of the third degree): 20 years

Pennsylvania Crimes Code § 2501
Pennsylvania Crimes Code § 15.66