Huckleby wrote:"mens rea" is not used interchangable with intent, intent is one of several possible states of mens rea.
If I'd have been reading a little more closely this afternoon I would have noticed that this is where we went off the rails.
You're confusing "intent" with "intentional." Intent, in the mens rea sense, can be intentional, or it can be purposeful, willful, reckless or negligent (or it can employ archaic language like "with malice aforethought" that's equivelent to one or more of those five MPC intents).
And it is confusing. Intent is a misnomer. Negligence can never be intentional, by definition, but we still call criminal negligence an intent for mens rea purposes. That's because it's a term of art. You can't just use intuition to figure it out because it doesn't have its normal dictionary meaning in this context. And that's why you can't just hop on an internet site and educate yourself about the law with a cursory read of a few articles (and I mean that to be sympathetic, not elistist or smugly exclusionary). A lot of things in the law are like that.
We seem to have had a similar term of art problem with manslaughter. It's a "lesser included crime," but not a "lesser degree of crime." Those would appear to mean the same thing, but they don't. So you were correct that manslaghter is not a degree of murder (though I think there are a fair number of jurisdictions that have made manslaughter 4th degree murder for the sake of uniformity), but it is a lesser included crime of murder.
That's because proving it requires the exact same elements as proving murder, minus the intent component (which, again, is mens rea intent, so it may be inentional, reckless or maybe even negiigent under certain situations involving a heightened duty). It breaks down like this:
1st degree murder - intentionally taking the life of another by a deliberate act PLUS evidence of premeditation and deliberation.
2nd degree murder (popularly known as homicide) - intentionally taking the life of another by a deliberate act WITHOUT the requirement of premeditation and deliberation, OR behaving recklessly in a way that causes a death.
Voluntary manslaughter - a deliberate action that leads to an unintentional death.
Involuntary manslaughter - an accidental action that leads to an unintentional death.