What is Homicide?
Homicide is when someone takes the life of another human being, whether it’s intentional or an accident. Homicide is not always a crime as it can be done in self-defense.
Criminal homicides can involve negligence or willful intent. They range from involuntary manslaughter to 1st-degree murder.
First and second-degree murder both require malice aforethought. Malice can be expressed or implied. When it is expressed, it means killing the victim was intentional. When it is implied, it means the killing resulted from an intentional act, the act, or consequences thereof, were dangerous to human life, and the act was intentionally performed with the knowledge of the danger it entailed and with conscious disregard for human life.
Malice aforethought doesn’t mean someone has to act with hatred towards someone else. It means that someone with an unprovoked disregard for human life acted in a way that would most likely result in the death of someone else.
In order to be convicted of 1st-degree murder one of the following has to be true:
- The killing was intentional, done consciously, or planned. Example – A man waits inside his ex-girlfriend’s apartment for her to come home. He kills her when she gets home.
- The killing was committed during certain specified felonies, such as robbery or rape. Example – A person set a house on fire thinking there was no one inside, but there was someone inside and they were killed.
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“After the first meeting with Mark, I knew we were in the right place. Mark was able to get answers and call all the right people to protect my child. We would never deal with the criminal justice system again with out Mark Broughton at our side. We are very thankful we found him and the matter with our son went away quickly.”
“Mr. Broughton is top notch. My son was facing a felony, strike charge. Mr. Broughton fought for my son’s pre-trial release against the recommendation of the probation department, and my son was able to come home. Today, the case was resolved and the outcome was minor in comparison to the charge. I highly recommend Mark Broughton!”
“He is an amazing lawyer, I had a near impossible felony case and he helped me bring it down to a misdemeanor. Amazing personality and a kind human being!”
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“I was charged with 2 felonies and was at risk of jail time, losing my job and my children, basically my entire life. Mark worked closely with me and… I was able to plead no contest to 1 misdemeanor.”
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Second-degree murder is willful but it is not premeditated. It means that you mean to cause or know that you are causing destruction but don’t necessarily mean to kill someone in the process. Anything that is not considered 1st-degree murder is considered 2nd-degree murder.
Capital murder is 1st-degree murder with special circumstances. The penalties for capital include:
- The death penalty, or
- Life in a state prison without the possibility of parole.
First-degree murder becomes capital murder under these circumstances:
- The murder was intentional and committed for financial gain.
- There was more than one murder victim.
- A police officer, firefighter, prosecutor, judge, juror, or elected official was murdered.
- A witness was murdered to prevent them from testifying.
- The victim was murdered in the process (before, during, or after) committing any of the felonies under the felony-murder rule.
- A person was murdered because of their race, religion, nationality, or country of origin.
- A person was murdered in a drive-by shooting.
- Murdering someone for the benefit of a street gang.
For the full list of capital murder charge circumstance, please see California Penal Code 190.2.
Felony Murder Rule
The felony murder rule applies to both 1st and 2nd-degree murder. It holds people liable if they commit murder while committing a felony. The murder does not have to be intentional, but it does need to be logically related to the felony committed. For example, if someone sets fire to a building and someone dies in the fire then the felony murder rule applies. This unforeseeable death would make the arsonist liable for murder charges, as long as it was more than a coincidence between the time and place of the murder and the other felony.
1st-Degree Felony Murder
The felony murder rule only applies to these felonies:
- Train wrecking
- Certain sex crimes
- Unlawful acts of sodomy
- Unlawful acts of oral copulation
- Forcible acts of penetration
- Lewd acts with a minor
2nd-Degree Felony Murder
The felony murder rule applies to 2nd-degree murder when the felonies committed are:
- Inherently dangerous, and
- Not included in the 1st-degree felony murder rule.
Felonies that are inherently dangerous are those that cannot be committed without the creating a probable risk that someone will be killed.
Have you been legally accused of committing homicide? If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, it is essential to obtain legal council for help. It’s important to take your charges seriously. Don’t just hope for the best. Hire an attorney who understands your situation and the consequences you face.
Your Defense Attorney for Homicide Charges
I’m Mark A. Broughton and I’m here to fight for you. I have been a defense Attorney for 40+ years and have represented thousands of people accused of crimes. I have extensive experience representing citizens charged with Felonies, Federal Crimes, White Collar Crimes, Violent Crimes, Gang Crimes and Sex Crimes to name a few.
I began my legal career in San Diego where I practiced criminal law, civil litigation, and personal injury. After a very successful practice there for 17 years, my family and I moved to Fresno, California, in 1995. Since that time, I have practiced exclusively criminal law. I was the Chief Defense Attorney for a 17 attorney criminal defense law firm that handled 3-4,000 felony cases a year. I left that firm to associate and partner with a very successful criminal law practitioner where I am continuing my commitment help protect the Constitutional rights of my clients.
I estimate that I have conducted over 200 jury trials – everything from DUIs, drug cases, sex cases, domestic violence, assaults, “three-strikes,” dozens of cases involving criminal street gangs, gun/deadly weapons, drive-by shootings, robberies, attempted murders, and murders, including special circumstance murder cases.
I have received many outright Not Guilty verdicts for my clients in all of these types of cases, including several murder cases – at one time between 2005-2007, the jury found my clients Not Guilty in four separate cases in a row. I have handled all kinds of criminal and related criminal proceedings, from violation of probation and parole hearings, DMV hearings, writs & appeals, and many other types of proceedings in the criminal process.
I have practiced all over California, in both state and Federal Court. I am qualified as a death penalty lawyer and am on the special circumstances/death penalty panel of attorneys in Fresno, California, where I am regularly appointed to special circumstances/death penalty murder cases by the Fresno County Superior Court. One of my greatest pleasures over my long career has been to teach and train young lawyers and law students. Most of them have gone on to be successful lawyers in their own right, and have triumphantly represented their own clients in an honest and professional way.
Community Involvement & Family
I have been involved in many community organizations, taught classes at the local law school, been a Mock Trial Attorney Judge and team coach, served as Judge Pro-Tempore for the Fresno County Superior Court, given many seminars to other attorneys, and started an organization for criminal defense lawyers to share useful information among themselves. Above all, I enjoy helping reunite my clients and their families during and after dealing with perhaps the most difficult time in their lives, going through the challenging criminal process with them. This is particularly true where alcohol or substance abuse issues have ripped formerly close and loving families apart.
I have saved the many letters of appreciation from clients and their families to whom I have been fortunate enough to have been of service. It is most gratifying for me to see them get back together, overcome their difficulties and live happy and fulfilled lives. Helping people is, after all, what being a good lawyer is all about. I like going to football and baseball games, fishing, surfing, and going to Hawaii where I can get caught up on my reading list and swim in the warm waters of the Pacific. I love sharing the lives of my two children, two grandchildren and spending time with Andrea, my wife of over 30 years.
About Mark Broughton:
Compassionate, highly experienced, exceptional reputation, ethical and honest:
Mark Broughton has been practicing law for over 40 years. He estimates that he has conducted over 200 jury trials – everything from DUIs, drug cases, sex cases, domestic violence, assaults, “three-strikes,” dozens of cases involving criminal street gangs, gun/deadly weapons, drive-by shootings, robberies, attempted murders, and murders, including special circumstance murder cases.
He has received many outright Not Guilty verdicts for his clients in all of these types of cases, including several murder cases – at one time between 2005-2007, the jury found his clients Not Guilty in four separate cases in a row.
Mark Broughton is qualified as a death penalty lawyer and is on the special circumstances/death penalty panel of attorneys in Fresno, California, where he is regularly appointed to special circumstances/death penalty murder cases by the Fresno County Superior Court.
- Certified Specialist Criminal Law, State Bar of California
- Board of Trustees, State Bar of California
- Chairman, Fresno County Bar Association, Criminal Law Section
Mark Broughton enjoys close relationships with his clients. He sees every individual’s situation with compassion and empathy and believes that every person has the right to a fair trial and is innocent until proven guilty.
Above all, he enjoys helping reunite his clients and their families during and after dealing with perhaps the most difficult time in their lives, going through the challenging criminal process with them.