Criminal Justice: Murder

‘Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice a fore thought’, according to US Code. Murder has been classified into categories. There is first degree and second degree murder. The first degree murder is punishable by death or life imprisonment while second degree murder is punishable by a number of years imprisonment or life sentence. Other countries have defined murder and categorized it variously. (http://www. law. cornell. edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00001111—-000-. html). To compile the information below, different internet sites regarding both France and the US were consulted including print sources.

Murder is one of the most serious crimes that can be committed against humanity. It involves extermination of life and leads to a loss of livelihood for dependants. As much as there are varied legal definitions of murder, these definitions have some common elements. First, the laws agree that murder is planned by the perpetrators. The attorneys, when prosecuting murder cases, have to prove that murderers – those who carry out murders – intended to do the crime. Secondly, the murderers must be people of adult age and are reasonable i. e. of sound mind.

It is not considered murder if the murderer is not of adult age as defined in various countries. Adult age is usually 18 years and above. In addition, murder is considered to have taken place if life is lost. People kill for varying reasons. One of the reasons is for financial gain. People kill if they have reason to believe that they will have access to the victim’s finances. Such cases of murder occur during armed robberies like in banks, homes, along the streets, shops and other places. Another reason why people kill is to conceal information that would damage the public image of the perpetrator, if it is leaked.

Mostly, when individuals engage in corrupt activities and they have a high social standing, they will kill any person who has information on their dirty deals. The murderers do this to protect themselves. Others murder if they want to take up other peoples positions of power by force. Yet others in authority or positions of power will kill those who threaten to take their positions. This has been experienced in assassinations. Other people kill people when conflicts arise. When tempers rise during conflicts people may result to killing as a way of bringing an end to the conflict.

Murderers commit murder as revenge to the victims. The victim may have won a battle against the offender and thus the only way to settle scores is by killing them. When people are under harmful drugs, they loose their rationalism and may overreact in some non-threatening situations. In the United States, people under the influence of drugs have contributed to numerous murders when they get involved in fights. The drug barons kill for money and to protect themselves from being discovered. In other parts of the world, murders have been executed on communities by governments.

When those in governments feel threatened by a community, they result to mass killings unlawfully. Abortion is also considered murder. The life of a person begins at conception and termination of such life amounts to murder. Those who often abort argue that carrying the pregnancy to maturity will disrupt their lives. They feel that children will deny them the luxury they want because children demand great responsibility. Abortionists also argue that a person should not carry a pregnancy for which they had not planned. They feel that it’s their right to choose whether the child should live to maturity.

This decision denies another person their lives. Data is available on murder rates for the different regions from 2001 to 2005. The South, in 2001, murders rates were 6. 7 per 100,000 persons, 6. 8 in 2002. 6. 9 in 2003, 6. 6 in 2004 and 6. 6 in 2005. In the West Region, murder rates were 5. 5 in 2001, 5. 7 in 2002, 5. 7 in 2003, 5. 7 in 2004 and 5. 8 in 2005. In the Midwest Region, murder rates were 5. 3 in 2001, 5. 1 in 2002, 4. 9 in 2003, 4. 7 in 2004 and 5. 9 in 2005. In the North East Region, murder rates were 4. 2 in 2001, 4. 1 in 2002, 4. 2 in 2003, 4. 2 in 2004 and 4. 4 in 2005.

All the rates are per 100,000. The Southern Region leads in murder rates in all the five years for which data is available. This is closely followed by West Region, then the Midwest Region. The lowest murder rates are those in the North East Region. The North and the West Regions have murder rates above the national rate while the rest have rates below the average. (http://www. deathpenaltyinfo. org/article. php? did=169 ) On the international level, Washington DC was in 1998 rated as the city with the highest murder rates. It had a murder rate of 69. 3 per 100,000 of population.

Philadelphia rated second with a 27. 4 murder rate per every 100,000 of population. American cities were found to be the most dangerous cities to live in, they ranked in the 12 cities with highest murder rates. In Europe, Moscow was rated the most dangerous city with 18. 1 per 100,000 persons. The safest cities were Dublin, Vienna, Rome, Athens and Brussels all of which had a less than 2 murders per every 100,000 people. The United States had the highest murder rates. The major reason for this could be because of the diversity of its people as immigrants flood in the U. S.

There is also great imbalance in resources with some extremely rich while other people wallow in poverty. (http://news. bbc. co. uk/1/hi/world /153988. stm) In the year 2000, South Africa led in the murder rates with 50. 14 per 100,000 people. Russia followed with 21. 40 per 100,000. The US came 6th with a national murder rate of 5. 64 per every 100,000 persons. Switzerland, Cyprus and Luxembourg had least rates below 1 person per every 100,000 persons. (http://www. angelfire. com/mbly/homicide. htm). The criminal justice system has put several measures to counter the crime of murder in the United States.

To minimize the occurrence of such murders some laws have been enacted in various states. The three strikes laws were aimed at deterring first time capital offenders which includes murder from doing it again. This was to be achieved by a laying down laws that would lengthen the imprisonment term of constant offenders. By having these offenders locked up for longer time, they had limited chance to go back to the society to commit crime again. Another measure proposed by the three strikes laws was to raise the severity of punishment for murder cases. This would deter first time offenders from engaging into the crime.

The criminal justice system is also involved with extensive research into the causes of murders in the United States. Close collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation ensures that the justice system accesses data critical for better monitoring of the vice. The justice system is knows which areas are more prone to murder. The criminal Justice system in its bid to eliminate murder cases in the society has resulted to sentencing those convicted of murder to stricter sentences. The murderers are nowadays sentenced to murder or to maximum life sentences to murders. (http://aic. gov.

ou/publications/rpp/43/RPP43-09-violence. pdf ). The criminal justice system prosecutes the murderers as though they committed the crimes against the whole society. They closely collaborate with the police force and other investigative agencies in gathering the evidence. Such evidence is presented and argued in the courts. If the person is convicted of murder, a sentence is passed on the murders. The criminal justice system proposes to the law makers on the deficiencies of the legal system so that amendments could be made. The major penalties posted on murder crime offenders are a number of years in confinement.

This is passed when the murder is classified second degree. Another penalty is life sentence issued when the murder case is serious. All first degree murders have a minimum of a life sentence and a maximum of death penalty. This sentence defines that the murderers be executed and the doctors confirm the deaths. Death sentence involves hanging the murders. The internet has a lot of information on the subject of murder. This emphasizes the extent to which murder is disliked. The news also carries many murder stories that take place in different areas. There are also many cases in the courts today that touch on murder.

This suggests that as much as a lot has been put in place to prevent them, murder is still taking place. There is a big public debate on whether a death penalty is justified in this age. This is due to people’s belief that no one has a right to take another’s life. As the debate ranges, murder cannot be justified and firm steps should be taken to curb its occurrence. Those involved should be severely punished to bar others from attempting this crime. Human life is not replaceable and no one gives it. It should therefore not be taken away under all circumstances. References AIC Research and Public Policy Series.

Available from http://aic. gov. au/publications/rpp/43/RPP43_09_violence. pdf [cited on 10 August 2007]. Charts. Homicide, murder. Rates worldwide. Many Nations. Available on http://www. angelfire. com/rnb/y/homicide. htm [cited on 10 August 2007]. http://www. law. cornell. edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00001111—-000-. html Murder Rates 1995 to 2005. FBI Uniform Crime Statistics for 2005. Available on http://www. deathpenaltyinfo. org/article. php? did=169 [cited on 10 August 2007]. World: The United States of Murder. (1998). BBC News. Available on http://news. bbc. co. uk/1/hi/world/153988. stm [cited on 10 August 10, 2007].