Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Los Angeles Violent Crime - Murder

Posted on: December 31, 2009 at 5:05 a.m.

When a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney represents someone accused of a violent crime, they must invest a great deal of time into researching all of the circumstances.

For example, an East Los Angeles man has been charged with murder of a 24 year-old woman. Doris Salguero, 24, was found dead in the backseat of her car and investigators in the case believe Fredy Hernandez, 30, stabbed her to death with an ice pick after seeing her at a holiday party more than a week ago. Police believe Hernandez wanted to rekindle his relationship with Salguero and when she refused, he attacked her. Hernandez is facing 26 years to life in prison if convicted of this crime.

Murder is possibly the most serious crime anyone can be accused of. The taking of another person’s life, whether intentionally or by accident, is prosecuted and punished vigorously with literally your own life on the line since a conviction for certain types of murder can send you to a California state prison for life. Do not forget that California is also one of 35 states that still, on occasion, hands down the death penalty in murder cases.

In regard to violent crime, there are five different types of murder (also called homicide): first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and lawful killing. Lawful killing occurs in very limited instances and is typically not punished by jail or prison time as most other forms of homicide are. One example of lawful killing is when a Los Angeles police officer shoots and kills a suspect under certain conditions while on duty. Both first- and second-degree murder involve the willful and deliberate taking of another person’s life. The difference between them is that first-degree murder is generally thought to involve premeditation while second-degree does not. First-degree murder also involves the much more severe punishment of either 25 years to life in prison or the death penalty while second-degree murder generally is punishable by 15 years to life in prison. Voluntary manslaughter is similar to second-degree murder in that it does not involve premeditation. Volunatary manslaughter, however, is the killing of another person “in the heat of passion" in response to legally acceptable provocation such as the defense of yourself or a child, for example.

Voluntary manslaughter is punishable by anywhere from three to 11 years in a California state prison. Involuntary manslaughter in Los Angeles is defined as the loss of life through recklessness or extreme negligence, such as a death resulting from street racing. Involuntary manslaughter is typically assessed between two and four years of prison time in the case of a conviction.

Murder charges of any type are not to be taken lightly. If you have been charged with a violent crime, call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today. Our attorneys have a combined 50 years of courtroom experience, and when your whole future is on the line, you need an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney by your side.

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