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Most murder cases are tried in state court but some can be prosecuted in federal court. For example, if the victim was a federal official or if the crime occurred on federal property the accused individual will be exposed to federal criminal proceedings, including federal penalties and prosecution by federal prosecutors and investigators.

Read on to learn about the federal laws and penalties associated with murder in the United States.

Federal Law Concerning Murder in the First Degree

According to 18 U.S.C. § 1111, federal law considers murder in the first degree to be the “unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought.” This includes any killing committed by malicious, willful, or premeditated action. Section 1111 also states that first-degree murder consists of a killing committed in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of certain crimes, namely: arson, escape, murder, kidnapping, treason, espionage, sabotage, sexual abuse, aggravated sexual abuse, child abuse, burglary, or robbery.

In addition, federal law considers any death associated with the assault or torture of a child to be murder in the first degree, or from a purposeful design to kill someone other than the victim. Any other type of murder is considered murder in the second degree. If convicted of first-degree murder in a federal court of law, the accused individual will face either life in prison or the death penalty.

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Federal Law Concerning Manslaughter

Under 18 U.S.C. § 1112, manslaughter is defined as the “unlawful killing of a human being without malice.” There are two different kinds of manslaughter considered by the law. Voluntary manslaughter is a killing committed as result of a “sudden quarrel or heat of passion.” Involuntary manslaughter involves the death of an individual in conjunction with a non-felony crime or a lawful action on the part of the accused – for example, a workplace accident.

Call Davis & Hoss, PC for Serious Representation for Violent Crimes

If you or someone you know has been accused of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, or manslaughter and faces prosecution in a federal court of law, it is imperative that you act quickly to consult a Chattanooga criminal defense attorney who can help. At Davis & Hoss, PC, we have the experience necessary to successfully handle serious cases such as those involving federal homicide charges.