Ninja wrote: Seriously? Free legal dictionary dot com?
Seriously? You think this website is a worse source than just taking statements at face value from posters in a forum?
Ninja wrote: Whether you realize it or not, your internet lawyer agrees with me. Malice aforethought is the intent element that distinguishes murder from (voluntary) manslaughter.
What my lawyer said is that intent is what distinguishes voluntary from involuntary manslaughter.
I have no idea why "malice aforethought" is different from intent, but evidently there is some distinction.
I actually did not want to get into a dick-swinging contest over these legal details. My point is that the distinctions are subtle and tricky, which my lawyer makes perfectly unclear.
Ninja wrote: And because murder is a capital crime, the jury must be allowed to consider lesser included offenses (even though those are distinct violations of law) that contain all the elements of the capital crime, but carry a lesser penalty.
OK, so what you're saying is that in states that have the death penalty, the right to return a lesser offense is guaranteed by constitution. That makes sense. Although in my lonely journey of discovery, I never saw a statement to that effect, and it's not what you originally said.
You may know a lot about this topic, good, but you also are mistaken is some ways. I'm not trying to bust you, my interest is piqued as to what is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.