Title 18 of the United States Code contains several chapters dealing with crimes against the person. These crimes include the crimes of homicide, assault, kidnapping, bank robbery, the Hobbs Act and extortion.
Chapter 51 of Title 18 of the United States Code deals with homicide: that is, the taking of a human life by another human. See 18 U.S.C. §1111 et seq. Under federal law, an unlawful killing can occur in two ways: murder or manslaughter. The distinction between murder and manslaughter is the presence of malice aforethought. Malice aforethought, means to kill someone intentionally and deliberately or recklessly with extreme disregard for human life. Furthermore, the killing must be unjustified or without excuse for it to be a crime.
Section 1111 defines murder as the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. The charge of murder is defined in two degrees. Murder in the first degree carries a penalty of death or imprisonment for life. Murder in the second degree carries a penalty of any term of years or life. Murder in the first degree can be committed in three ways under federal law: (1) perpetrated by poison, lying in wait, or any other kind of willful, deliberate, malicious, and premeditated killing; (2) perpetrated during the commission of, or attempt to commit, any arson, escape, murder, kidnapping, treason, espionage, sabotage, aggravated sexual abuse or sexual abuse, burglary, robbery; or (3) committed from a premeditated design unlawfully and maliciously to effect the death of any human being other than who is killed. If the murder occurs in any other fashion, it is classified as murder in the second degree.
Section 1112 defines the crime of manslaughter as the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought. Federal law recognizes two types of manslaughter: voluntary manslaughter, which is a killing which occurs during a sudden quarrel or heat of passion caused by adequate provocation, and involuntary manslaughter.
Chapter 7 of Title 18 of the United States Code deals with assault: that is, any willful attempt to inflict injury upon the person or another, when coupled with the present ability to carry out that threat and a physical display of force which causes the person to believe they may suffer bodily injury or harm. Under 18 U.S.C. §113, there are four ways to commit an assault which carries a felony punishment, and two ways to commit an assault which carries a misdemeanor or petty punishment.
Kidnapping is defined in 18 U.S.C. §1201. The elements of the offense of kidnapping are the unlawful seizure, confinement, inveiglement, decoy, kidnapping, abduction or carrying away of any person and holding such person for ransom or reward except in the case of a minor by the parent. If a person's parental rights have been terminated by a final court order, that person is not considered a parent under federal law.
The Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C.§1951, provides that whoever in any way or degree obstructs, delays or affects commerce by robbery or extortion, or commits or threatens physical violence to any person or property in furtherance of a plan or purpose to do anything in violation of this section shall be guilty of violating the Hobbs Act.
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