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N Cal Attorney
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Experience:  Since 1983
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When did killing of another person become illegal, meaning

Customer Question

When did killing of another person become illegal, meaning when did murder become against the law. I am doing a argumentive paper for my Philosophy class in informal logic and my paper is on the question: "Should the death penalty be abolished?" I am in favor of the death penalty and so now I have to state some supporting answers. One: it is a deterrent because it is a law in our society.
Can you answer my first question at the top please?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Cedric replied 4 years ago.
Since the dawn of the justice system, murder has always been illegal. Even prior to the existence of the ten commandments and the 'thou shalt not kill' commandment, the original biblical story of the murder of Abel by Cain made most murders punishable by death. It's difficult to trace the original illegality of murder, but it definitely existed in the first modern society of the Greeks.

Unfortunately historical records as to the exact date when murder was first illegal doesn't exist, but there's evidence that murderers have been punished since the dawn of humanity.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Can you tell me how the law reads for people in the United States? Is it written in our Constitution?
Expert:  Cedric replied 4 years ago.
No, since the primary police power (and prosecution for crimes) resides with the states and not the federal government. However, it does reside in the federal criminal code, although it is incredibly rare for someone to be prosecuted for murder by the federal government.

(The last person who was prosecuted and sentenced to death for murder by the U.S. government was Timothy McVeigh for the Oklahoma City bombing).

Edited by Ced on 5/1/2010 at 5:47 PM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Can you tell me which States made it a law? more importantly, when New York State made it an official law?
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 4 years ago.
The original NY Penal Code of 1881 section 183 defined murder as a statutory crime, see
http://books.google.com/books?id=lp44AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=NY+penal+code&cd=1#v=onepage&q=murder&f=false

But murder was already a crime at common law prior to adoption of the NY Penal Code.
N Cal Attorney, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 8079
Experience: Since 1983
N Cal Attorney and 3 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for accepting my answer.

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