Section 3.1


Fundamentals of Criminal Law

Adam J. McKee, Ph.D.

Jack Brown, Ph.D.


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Criminal Homicide

At Common Law….

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Malice Aforethought

Malice aforethought is a special common law type of criminal intent (mens rea) assigned to only one crime–murder. The definition of malice aforethought is essentially “the intent to kill.” Our society, both past and present, considers intent to kill the evilest of all intents.  Therefore, malice aforethought crimes such as first-degree murder and second-degree murder generally mandate the most severe of punishments.

Homicide means the killing of another human being. Not all homicides are criminal, such as those that are justified. Arkansas statutes make six separate varieties of homicide illegal. They are, arranged from greatest culpability to least, as follows:

  1. Capital Murder
  2. First Degree
  3. Second Degree
  4. Manslaughter
  5. Negligent Homicide
  6. Physician-assisted Suicide

Modification History

File Created:  07/17/2018

Last Modified:  07/17/2018

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This work is licensed under an Open Educational Resource-Quality Master Source (OER-QMS) License.

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