In Massachusetts, murder is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being either with malice or in the commission or attempted commission of a felony. Murder can be either in the first degree or the second degree. First degree murder is:
- Murder committed with deliberate premeditation and malice;
- Murder committed with extreme atrocity or cruelty and with malice; or
- Murder committed in the commission or attempted commission of a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of death or imprisonment for life.
According to the law, murder that doesn’t fall into any one of the above categories is second degree murder. That would include murder with malice but without premeditation or extreme atrocity or cruelty, or murder committed during the commission or attempted commission of a felony punishable by a lesser sentence than life imprisonment.
Massachusetts homicide laws are complex and they are prosecuted very aggressively by highly trained and skilled prosecutors who have virtually limitless resources from the Commonwealth to support them. Evidence may be suppressed if it was obtained through an unconstitutional search. Statements may be suppressed if the police violated the defendant’s Miranda rights or engaged in other 4th, 5th, or 6th Amendment violations. Identification evidence may be suppressed if the identification procedure was unconstitutionally suggestive. Suppressing these types of evidence may get the case dismissed entirely. At KJC Law Firm we are fortunate to have a consultant who is an experienced Constitutional Law Professor, Timothy Wilton, who can analyze the Commonwealth’s investigation to determine if any evidence has been obtained unlawfully in violation of the Constitution. Professor Wilton has been a lawyer for more than 40 years and a tenured law professor at Suffolk University Law School for 30 years.
Even if the case cannot be dismissed, a skilled, experienced trial lawyer can still win the case at trial. The KJC Law Firm criminal defense lawyers will aggressively defend you or your loved one and will challenge the Commonwealth’s evidence every step of the way. This might be through the presentation of an effective alibi defense, exculpatory forensic evidence, an attack on the identification procedure used, challenges to ballistics or other forensic evidence, or proof of self-defense.
There are certain circumstances in which an individual has, in fact, committed the crime but the law prohibits punishment due to mental illness. When someone is incapable of determining right or wrong there are defenses such as insanity, lack of criminal responsibility, extreme stress, or an impaired state of mind. In these instances, a skilled attorney may admit that the crime was committed but will use evidence of the mental disease or defect to convince the judge that treatment, not imprisonment, is the only lawful response from the court.
The stakes are never higher than when someone is accused of taking the life of another. If you or a loved one are in the very unfortunate circumstance of facing one of these charges, call our team of Worcester and Boston murder defense attorneys today.
The criminal defense lawyers at KJC Law Firm in Worcester and Boston have more than 60 years of experience litigating major cases. KJC Law Firm represents people accused of crimes from communities all across Massachusetts, including the Greater Boston area, Cambridge, MetroWest, Cape Cod, Fall River, Lowell, Worcester and Springfield. Call us today for a free consultation.