First Degree Murder
First-degree murder is committed when a person kills another person with purpose and premeditation. In California, this includes murders that occur during a robbery, arson, kidnapping or rape. It also includes deaths of people during abuse, including minors, and the death of a peace officer.
Second Degree Murder
Second-degree murder is committed when a person is murdered and the murder is not premeditated or planned or committed in "the heat of passion." It can also be when the killing occurs due to an obvious lack of concern for human life by the offender. It is the middle ground between first-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.
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