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Homicide Laws

What is homicide?

Homicide is the act of one person killing another. There are different levels of homicide and different punishments for each type. To learn more about homicide and types of homicide read the questions below that have been answered by experts.

How to get a new and fair homicide trial?

Case Details: My fiancé has been in prison for 11 yrs for homicide. We have paid a lawyer over $4000 for a post conviction appeal almost a year ago and have yet to get anything done. 

There is not a fast fix when dealing with an appeal. The time it takes to receive the trial transcript and review the case files can be very time consuming. If the case is a complicating case to begin with, it will take longer to review. A year is usually normal when waiting to hear from the court about an appeal.

As long as your attorney is complying with the filing deadlines, there is little that can be done to speed this up. However, if you feel like your attorney isn't doing enough to help speed the process, or is in some way slowing the progress down, you should discuss this with your attorney. If you wish to hire a new attorney and you have given the current lawyer a retainer, you can have the attorney return the unused portion of the retainer. If the attorney refused to return the unused portion, you can take him to court and report him to his bar association.

Can the judge overturn a jury verdict in a homicide trial?

Case Details: The jury returned a hung verdict in a homicide case. Does the judge have to right to tell them they are wrong?

Generally, if there is a hung jury, the judge will declare a mistrial and usually order a new trial. As far as overturning a verdict, the judge can't because there isn't a verdict to overturn. It has been known to happen that a judge will reverse a conviction, although this is a very rare event.

Every jury contains different people with different views, which will make the outcome of a second trial much different from the first one. The prosecutor and defense will also change their game plan during a second trial because they are each aware of the others previous strategy.

According to what are the degrees of homicide distinguished in most states?

Homicide is distinguished by the level of intent. To classify a murder as first degree premeditated murder, the person who commits the crime must have the intent to kill, meaning that they planned the murder before committing the crime. Second degree murder is when the person knows or should know that their actions will result in the death of another. Manslaughter must show that there was reckless action by the person committing the crime that may or may not have caused death to another individual. Negligent homicide is when a person did something knowing that they shouldn't have been doing it and the action resulted in the death of another.

If my ex-spouse is suspected of being an accompice in a homicide, should I file for full custody or wait till an arrest is made?

Case Details: Homicide detectives came to the house about two weeks ago and told me that my ex is suspected of being an accomplice to murder. My ex and I are in a custody battle for my 8 month old daughter. 

You need to request full custody of your child as soon as possible. The child may be in a very dangerous situation and you should remove them from that environment. Another thing you should do is talk to the detectives and ask them to notify you if your child is with the father when and if they arrest him. This way, you can take your child instead of the child being placed with family services.

Homicide is a serious act that can result in severe penalties. If you have questions regarding homicide, it's best if you speak with an Expert who is familiar with criminal and homicide laws.

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Recent Homicide Questions

  • gaining custody in another state

    1. We live in SD. My son got a girl pregnant, their son was born the first Monday of Feb 2014. At the beginning of her pregnancy she moved in with my son n grandson who lives with him n a short time later he stumbled upon syringes in her purse. When confronted she took off to Michigan n ended up in Florida. My son flew to there after he was told she was using heroin n brought her back with a promise of no opiates/drugs use. He suspected many times of her using due to erratic behavior. He begged her, questioned her n tried to catch her. My daughter-in-law even reported it to her OBGYN. Nothing could be done they said. A wk before xmas he tricked her n caught her on a video on his phone mixing up a spoon of opiates on her belly n shoot it up. My son slipped his phone to his brother who took it to DSS where he was informed that an unborn child is not protected under SD law. My youngest son then took the video to the detox ran by the local sheriffs office n signed involuntary commitment on her. A warrant was issued n she was taken into custody that night. She threatened to never allow my son or family to ever have contact with the baby. My son called regularly to check on her n the baby. Most of the time she refused the calls. He dropped things she needed off to her n many times tried to tell her he wasn't trying to hurt her but protect the baby. On the day she went into labor due to an accident on the job site he was at the ER. Out of the blue he asked if she had been admitted. She had. He went to labor/delivery where her mother called security. He went to the waiting room the next floor up n waited for any news. His son was born in full blown opiate withdrawals. Apparently she was allowed visitors, one of whom was her dealer n not given any UAs. In fact the doctor had to yell at her to tell him what she had done so he could save the baby. She refused signing of paternity so he couldn't have access to the baby's condition n the nurses were ordered to tell him nothing. That little boy had pins in his chest holding his lungs open, had to be given morphine until weaned off slowly n even had to have his sleep induced. My son called DSS to file a report, the next day I made a report to DSS, n they did nothing. He was allowed to hold the baby a couple of times n give him his oxygen n tried to listen to what was being said to gain information on his condition but on Thursday all of a sudden she banned him from the floor altogether. On Friday morning fed up n scared as she was planning to take my grandson to Florida as soon as released I started calling the States Attorney's Office to ask how this wasn't a crime or being investigated. A man had been convicted here less than a year before for attempted fetal homicide n sentenced to 5 years in prison. I wanted to know how this was different. I spoke to a lady who promised she would check into n call me as soon as I got off work. She did. she told me that the hospital had made a report on Thursday n a caseworker was assigned n had actually went n talked with her the same day. Thus my son being banned. She not only didnt let him sign paternity she refused to name him to keep them from talking to them. The lady from the States Attorney's office gave me the names n numbers for the case worker n her supervisor. I gave them to my son who called immediately. He reached the supervisor, told his story, his fears n concerns n told her he would do whatever they wanted or needed him to do. She told him to setup a paternity test to get that established n he would here from them Monday. She then called back a bit later n told him that the mother refused to give the baby's DNA so to hold off on setting it up. Monday came n he waited all day but no call came. Tuesday he left messages that received no reply. On Wednesday she was allowed to leave the hospital with my grandson n on Friday she was allowed to leave the state n take him to Florida. Since then we have been informed that she has ODed on heroin twice. That her father is trying to take the baby from her among other things. She told my son that her father told her not to apply for child support as it would establish paternity. My son has planned to go there to see him but she had refused saying that he could when he starts supporting him financially. He told her he wants to do that but it needs to be done legally. He has even tried to send a bunch of new clothes n things for him but she wouldn't give an address. He still has them. My son upon hearing of the over doses went to DSS here again n asked them to contact Florida to see if they would do a welfare check on his son. They will not due to him not being a blood relative due to lack of paternity. My son has been beside himself with worry n is becoming depressed. He came to me this morning n poured it all out. He plans to fly to Florida on this Thursday n try to check on his son. We need help.
  • A person is on trial for possession of mj pipe. He was convicted

    A person is on trial for possession of mj pipe. He was convicted on another unrelated case two years ago for vehicular negligent homicide, a misdemeanor in this state. In that trial it was alleged that the defendant had THC in his system at time of accident. ( he was not charged with DWI or DUI but states expert said he was probably somewhat impaired) The negligent homicide case is now on post conviction appeal over that very issue.

    My question: Could the prosecution bring up the negligent homicide case, since it is on post conviction appeal, in this unrelated possession case claiming he had mj in his system in that negligent homicide case and here he is again with a mj pipe?
  • In a negligent homicide case the death certificate was signed

    In a negligent homicide case the death certificate was signed by the medical examiner but at trial the medical examiner did not testify. He had moved out of state. However the State had the attending physician testify to the cause of death instead. Wouldn't this be a confrontation clause violation?
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