Murder in California is a violation of Penal Code section 187. In California, there are two degrees of murder:
1st degree murder
To prove a first degree murder, the prosecution must show that
- A human being was killed
- The killing was unlawful
- The killing was done with malice aforethought, being premeditated and deliberate
The killing occurred during the commission or attempted commission of a crime inherently dangerous to human life. This is commonly known as the felony murder rule.
First degree murder is punishable by 25 years to life in state prison. If a firearm is used to commit a first degree murder, the punishment is 50 years to life in state prison.
2nd degree murder
Second degree murder is the unlawful killing of another human without premeditation or deliberation. Second degree murder is punishable in state prison by 15 years to life. If a firearm was used to commit a second degree murder, the crime is punishable by 40 years to life in state prison.
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