Sample Criminal Law Paper on Murder and its lesser included offenses

Murder and its lesser included offenses

Negligent homicide is a criminal charge brought against individuals who, through criminal negligence consent others to die. This article seeks to explain the court’s decision of holding the absence of criminally negligent homicide in the case given.

In the case between Johnson v. Texas, the court upheld that the issue of criminally negligent homicide was not present in the incident. I concur with the court’s decision because of the reasons provided. For entitlement to a lesser-included offense charge on criminally negligent homicide, the case must qualify both prongs of the Royster test (Coppolo & Connecticut, p.202). The entitlement requires basis on a case-by-case of the particular facts. Since the state facts and the defendant were different, it could not fit for the lesser-included offense. The evidence provided by the appellant shows that he went beyond reckless conduct and the situation surrounding him.

For involuntary manslaughter to become a lesser offense to murder, the actions must first be involuntary. In the case of Johnson, loading a gun, pointing it and firing at the deceased were all voluntary actions. A reckless action that results in the death of another is manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter can be a lesser-included offense to murder if the actions were involuntary and /or accidental (Schneier, p.433). Johnson deliberately fired the weapon, placing his actions as intentional. One cannot act is self-defense recklessly or accidentally, self-defense is voluntary (Carpenter & McClung, p.103).The given situation shows that murder in self-defense cannot be a lesser-included offense of murder because self-defense itself is a voluntary action. Acting in self-defense and shooting deliberately and that action resulting in the death of others cannot be a lesser-included offense of murder but murder.


Carpenter, W. S., & McClung, P. J. (2000).Texas criminal jury charges. Costa Mesa, Calif: James Pub.

Coppolo, G., & Connecticut. (1987). Criminally negligent homicide. Hartford, Conn: Connecticut General Assembly, Joint Standing Committee on Legislative Management, Office of Legislative Research.

Schneier, M. M., & American Bar Association. (1999). Construction accident law: A comprehensive guide to legal liability and insurance claims. Chicago, Ill: Forum on the Construction Industry, Tort and Insurance Practice Section, American Bar Association.