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Answered Question
Q
Max B
I don't understand "malice aforethought". Can you help?
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A
Answered by: Lawyer Up
 
At common law, to be guilty of murder, it was required that the mens rea that the D had was "malice aforethought". The reason why it's confusing is that at common law, several different things all counted as malice aforethought. Intentionally killing someone because you wanted them dead would work. Intentionally beating someone up because you wanted to hurt them, but not kill them would also work (see, different intent here, but with the same result). Intentionally committing a felony and then causing an accidental death during that felony would also work (again, different mindset, but still counting). Lastly, doing something that shows that you have a depraved heart (or that you have disregarded the value of human life) would also work. "Malice Aforethought" is really an umbrella term that encompasses four different kinds of intent.
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TAGS:  criminal law, malice, aforethought, common law, intent
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