Understanding Second Degree Murder

Most of us have heard of first-degree murder, but fewer of us have heard of second-degree murder. Even fewer of us understand what second-degree murder is and the implications that the charge can have. 

For those of you looking to become prosecutors, defense attorneys, or criminal investigators, this blog post is for you. Learn more about a second-degree murder charge down below.

State by State

Remember that most criminal law is determined on the state level, not on the federal level. This means that states may have different nuances in criminal law and definitions. If you have questions or concerns about a specific state in particular, you should research that state’s statutes for more accurate information.

That being said, there are many similarities among states regarding criminal laws and regulations. This blog post will discuss second-degree murder in the most general sense possible, but again, look up state statutes for more specific information. 

What is Second Degree Murder?

It is easiest to answer this question by first going over what first-degree murder is. Murder in the first degree is the most intense and grave of all the murder offenses. First-degree murder is any murder that is committed intentionally — meaning that it is willful and is premeditated. An example of first-degree murder would be if someone planned to kill their boss because they did not give them the promotion that they wanted. In this case, the murder was planned and premeditated, and would fall under the category of first-degree murder.

Second-degree murder is a bit more complicated to understand. Essentially, second-degree murder is intentional, but not premeditated. The mentality of the murderer at the time is different between first and second-degree murder. Usually, with second-degree murder, the defendant acts in an impulsive manner, meaning the murder was not premeditated, but the defendant still knew the consequences of their actions.

Perhaps the above paragraph will be easier to understand with an example. Let’s say Tom went to Jack’s house to discuss a business deal. Tom went to the house with no intention to murder Jack, but at the house, they get into an argument over the business deal. Tom gets angry and stabs Jack with a knife from the kitchen, killing him. There was no premeditation because Tom had no plans to kill Jack before going to his house. However, he knew that stabbing Jack could possibly end Jack’s life.

Additionally, some states use second-degree murder as a catch-all term for any intentional or reckless killing that does not meet the standards for first-degree murder.

What to Do

If you are facing a second-degree murder charge, it is imperative that you reach out to a criminal defense attorney. Second-degree murder is an extremely serious offense that carries years of jail time, not to mention a huge blemish on your record. 

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Making Your Routine Work for You

I have a confession to make: I am pretty lazy with my morning routine. Sure, I get the basics accomplished. I wash my face as often as I can manage and I always brush my teeth, twice-a-day. I do not want to be unhealthy or lazy to a degree that I am not hygienic!

Lately, I have been researching how to make morning routines more efficient. I thought that if I could make washing my face, eating breakfast, and brushing my teeth more efficient, I would always be inclined to accomplish these tasks. An added benefit is that I now have more time! Here are some of the most common tools used by people to make their routine a better fit within their schedule:

The Most Important Meal

I found that many people who are concerned about the efficiency of their routines replace their breakfast with meal replacement bars. The products can be purchased in bulk and contain all of the essential vitamins, minerals, and calories a person needs for their first (and most important) meal of the day.

Clean Face, Clean Life

Finding information on what people do to cut down on the products and time that they use for face-washing was difficult. Obviously, there is no way to get around the time it takes to wash your face with warm water and a cleanser.

However, there are combination tools like moisturizers with sunscreen in them that free people from needing to apply multiple products. Additionally, face wipes can be used as a time-saving tool for late nights when getting out of bed to wash your face seems impossible. However, it is not as cleanly as actually washing your face, so only use this tool sparingly.

Brush to Judgment

Walking around the toothbrush aisle can be intimidating because there are so many options. But if you are looking for the dental care options that can lead your routine to be efficient, your options are thankfully narrowed.

Powered brushes are better for your dental health and require less energy to be exerted. Most people mistake good brushing practices with strong, forceful brushing. Instead of following recommended tactics that dental practices like Babylon Dental Care suggest, many consumers press too firmly on their teeth and gums.

Powered brushes with softer heads make damaging your teeth like less likely. But they are also more efficient. The efficiency is derived from being able to clean your teeth better in a shorter amount of time. Similarly, water flossers are another product that people use to shorten their daily routine.

Products like water flossers, meal replacement bars, powered toothbrushes, face wipes, and any other tools are a worthwhile investment to make. Look at your own personal needs to determine what products can be used to optimize your routine.

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Proper Risk Disclosure

As someone who is new to investing, I am still getting familiar with the terminology that investors are exposed to on a day to day basis. The risk warnings contain a lot of strong wording, and they were really intimidating to me at first. But upon further review, a standard risk warning only does so much to warn investors of the risks associated with any particular fund. Let’s take a look at a standard risk disclosure, and examine about what risks it actually warns investors.

The risk disclosure found on the Index Fund Advisors website is an example of a standard warning. It reads like this: “WARNING: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investment returns and principal value will fluctuate, so that investors’ shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Investing in any mutual fund, index or actively managed, does not guarantee that an investor will make money, avoid losing capital, or indicate that the investment is risk-free. Actively managed funds sometimes outperform index funds. An investor cannot determine in advance which actively managed fund will outperform the appropriate index. Just because a mutual fund is an index mutual fund, it does not guarantee a performance superior to an actively managed mutual fund. There are no absolute guarantees in investing.”

Some of the statements in this warning may lead us to believe that we can lose all of our money in an investment without legal recourse. For example, they say that no investment is risk-free and that they can not guarantee that you will not lose capital through investment. However, I recently found out about fund managers who sold LJM funds without disclosing the risks and now they could be in big trouble. People who invested in the LJM Preservation and Growth Fund were prompted with a standard risk warning similar to the one seen above. In February, that fund lost more than 80% of its value in just two days. This fund was partaking in extremely risky and complex investment strategies. They gave investors a standard warning, but failed to disclose the inherent risks with their unique tactics.

Surprisingly, there is actually a limit to how much one can lose before a hedge fund is considered to be acting negligently under the law. Investors recognize that by investing in mutual funds or index funds, they run the risk of losing a certain portion of their assets should the economy collapse or a certain sector do poorly. These investors are okay with this and in the worst situations they may end up losing a portion of their capital. Almost no investors will invest in a fund that exposes them to the chance of losing 80% of their investment, however. This is considered to be an extremely dangerous investment. Because of the inherent risks, LJM had a legal obligation to disclose their tactics to investors. When they failed to do this, they became legally responsible for the losses that their investors incurred. Thankfully, the attorneys are Erez Law are working to get this money back for investors.

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Protecting Whistleblowers Must Include Social and Legal Protection

While we all believe in business and government working for our benefit on some level, the reality is that you cant count on that being the case at all times. In fact, plenty of businesses and government agencies eagerly break the rules if they can. Or, perhaps more charitably, people within those business and government offices will break the rules if they think they arent being watched.

An unfortunate amount of effort is put into some businesses and government offices in finding ways around the law and around accountability. This is the reason whistleblowers are so important. Often, whistleblowers come in for a whole lot of blowback. They may reveal things we dont really want to face, and they may cost businesses or governments a lot of money to recover face, pay fines, or restore their processes to the legal level. Whistleblowers, then, are an inconvenience to a lot of people, and yet what they do is invaluable. Thats why we have to protect them.

All too often, we let whistleblowers down in multiple ways. In the first case, we dont protect them legally. Even though, as the whistleblowing lawyers at the Melton Law Firm point out, there are laws in place to protect people in such an event, often, the law isnt used to its full advantage to provide that legal protection. The reason for this is largely because of the second level: our social reaction.

While in theory we probably all laud whistleblowers, those negative consequences often make many of us turn on them. Perhaps they embarrass our political party or people we support in power in government. Perhaps they harm a major local business that may result in layoffs or raised prices. On the surface, then, from our limited perspective, we might see the whistleblower as an enemy.

And yet, that is simply not the case. Change the political party and consider the business in the next town over, and youd clearly be glad to see the whistle blown on that operation. Thats all the more true because of the kinds of things whistleblowers expose, such as (once again, according to Melton Law Firm): tax violations, embezzlement, fraud, Ponzi schemes, insider trading, and unlawful billing. Those are major issues, and only some of the most common ones whistleblowers expose.

But they wont get the protection they need (and they also will probably stop coming forward) if we dont all come together to insist they get the full protection of the law and the full support of their communities.

In these partisan times, its easy to only support those who benefit your beliefs or your immediate position, but we need to see beyond that and remember to support those who are doing an absolute good for our society. Thats why we have to make sure whistleblowers continue to come forward and they continue to be supported, both at the community level and at the legal level.

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The plight of the American worker

We need more people in this country concerned about workers’ quality of life, income, and rights.

For decades now, America has only paid attention to the so-called “job creators.” We have heard all that they need for a perfect environment to thrive. If they need lower taxes, they get them. If they need less regulation, they get it. If they need an erosion of workers’ rights, they get that too.

We now live in a time when the minimum wage is massively out of date, in which it is now almost impossible for a family to support itself on one income, in which unions are dying off and with them, well-paying, long-term jobs that promised some security in life. So far, we’ve seen little happening in Washington that might help relieve these problems. In fact, Washington seems determined to keep pushing the other way, to keep cutting taxes, and regulations, and workers’ rights.

That’s why we need more people dedicating their time to helping the American worker. We need people volunteering for this issue. We need people campaigning on this issue. We need people defending those who have been abused by their employers. We need every household talking about how unfairly the American worker is treated.

Because the American worker is treated very unfairly. Compared to other developed countries, America is incredibly far behind on most important issues. Almost every country in the world offers some form of maternity leave; some even offer paternity leave, America offers nothing. All developed countries have some form of universal health care that covers all its citizens, America is still far from that and Washington is trying to push back on the gains made over the last decade. Most countries have thriving unions to protect workers, America’s unions are dying. Finally, every developed country ensures that every employee gets several weeks of paid leave every year—medical and vacation—only America doesn’t guarantee this.

The situation is dire. The American worker is suffering from low wages, overworking, poor health care, and few people there to defend him or her.

So, what can you do?

That depends on who you are. If you have the money, be sure to donate some to candidates who support pro-worker policies. If you have time, volunteer for organizations that defend workers or educate the general populace about workers’ rights. If you’re a lawyer or studying to be one, consider expanding your expertise into the area of workers’ rights, and take cases to help those who need help most, even when they aren’t the most lucrative.

And, no matter who you are, be sure to vote in every election. Vote only for those candidates who clearly articulate that their allegiance is with the workers of America, and not with the “job creators” who have pushed this country into such a desperate position.

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