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By: Robert Alan Stewart

First, second, and third degree murders
What are the differences?
Just what are the differences between the three categories of murder known as first, second, and third degree?
I decided to do some research because there are cases in America where someone did not even kill anyone but was guilty of first degree murder by association; their companion killed someone but due to the circumstances of the incident which someone lost their life, they have been charged with the same crime as the one who did the actual killing.
First degree murder is premeditated murder and a killing which occurred during the process of a felony such as a robbery.
The Jennifer Mee case is a perfect example of a premeditated felony which resulted in death.
In her case, the murder was a result of the felony.
She arranged a date with a young man with the intention of robbing him. Her two male friends carried out the mugging with fatal consequences.
None of the trio had ever intended to kill the victim but it was a robbery gone wrong.
The murder was not premeditated but the robbery was.
Can someone explain to me how Jennifer planned to kill her victim.
I think a smart alec lawyer for the prosecution may be able to convince a jury that she is guilty but I do not know how.
Second degree murder is murder that is not premeditated or murder that is caused by the offenders lack of regard for human life.
Third degree murder, also called manslaughter is an unplanned, unintentional killing that is not part of another felony.
The killing in a third degree murder can be involuntary or voluntary.
An involuntary murder case is where you kill someone by accident.
A voluntary killing can be where you punch someone killing them.
Jennifer’s case did fall into the first degree category, but there are two questions which is difficult to find an answer to and they are:
1 Why did Jennifer’s lawyer advise her to defend the charge instead of taking a plea bargain when there is no doubt that she set this whole thing up?
2 What justification is there for her to receive a life without parole sentence?
Imagine this; a drunk driver kills someone so shouldn’t he or she be charged with first degree murder since they committed a felony which resulted in death. Their felony was driving under the influence or someone assaults another person and the victim dies. Assault was the felony, therefore is it not reasonable that according to the law which says people who commit a felony resulting in death are guilty of first degree murder.
That is something to think about.
This all shows you how little empathy the system has for people.
Some people will say, “Their actions caused another person’s death therefore he/she has to pay for this.”
The justice system should be based on justice and not retribution but this is by no means always the case and Jennifer’s case is a perfect example.


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Lawyer Legions Recognizes Terry Lavenstein, ESQ.

Over 40 years experience. Distinguished member of the Maryland State Bar Association and Federal Bar Association.

The article presented here is the opinion of the author. The opinions expressed in this blog are the sole opinions of the author and do not, in any form, reflect the legal advice or opinions of Lavenstein Law LLC. Lavenstein Law LLC does not co-author, nor promote the opinions, ideas, or statements published in this forum. Any information supplied in this forum is for editorial purposes only and should not be accepted as legal counsel provided by Lavenstein Law LLC. If you seek professional legal counsel in matters of criminal law, contact Lavenstein Law LLC. Lavenstein Law LLC is a criminal defense law firm in Maryland.

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