What are the Requirements for a Murder Conviction in Rockland County, New York?
Murder is one of the most serious crimes you can be accused of in the United States. While the legal penalties are very harsh, the ethical and moral consequences would exist even if we didn’t have a legal system. With all that said, not everyone who is accused of murder is guilty. In Rockland County, we still adhere to the rule of law. This means that a suspect is always innocent until proven guilty – and not the other way around.
So how exactly does the prosecution go about proving a murder suspect’s guilt? For a successful conviction, they must show the court that a series of very specific factors exist. If you have been accused of murder in the state of New York, it’s a good idea to gain a firm understanding of these factors. You should also enlist the help of the most experienced, qualified criminal defense lawyer in New York. Having an expert by your side can dramatically increase your chances of a positive legal outcome.
In order to convict someone of first-degree murder in New York, a prosecutor generally needs to show that the defendant willfully committed the crime. This means that the death was not accidental, and the defendant fully intended to kill one or more individuals before taking action. Keep in mind that a defendant can still exhibit willfulness even if they killed someone other than the intended target. If someone jumps in front of a bullet to save someone else’s life, the shooter would still be guilty of first-degree murder – even though they didn’t actually intend to kill that particular person.
Another necessary ingredient for a successful first-degree murder conviction is deliberation. This means that before committing murder, the defendant consciously developed the idea to kill their intended victim. This doesn’t mean that they had to come up with an elaborate scheme, complete with notes and diagrams. Deliberation simply means that the defendant actively considered their actions -even for a few seconds – before committing the crime.
Premeditation is very similar to deliberation, and many courts use the two terms interchangeably. That being said, there are a few differences. Deliberation mostly refers to the actual thought process of considering an action before going through with it. Simply showing that the defendant had time to think about their actions means that it was a deliberate act, since it didn’t happen “in the heat of the moment.” On the other hand, a prosecutor usually shows that an act was premeditated by highlighting a specific action, such as leaving a scene of an argument, getting a gun from a car, and returning to commit murder.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
While it’s true that the prosecution must prove many things in order to achieve a murder conviction, many are more than capable of doing so despite significant hurdles. In order to give yourself a fair, legitimate chance in court, you should reach out to a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact New York criminal defense attorney Phillip J. Murphy at your earliest convenience, and we can help you seek justice.