Los Angeles Capital Murder Defense Lawyers
Los Angeles has a long and notorious history with capital murder cases. Some of the most high-profile cases in recent memory have been prosecuted in Los Angeles, including the O.J. Simpson case and the Menendez brothers case.
A capital murder charge is the most serious charge that can be filed against a person in the United States. If you are convicted of capital murder, you could face the death penalty. That is why it is critical that you have an experienced attorney by your side who knows how to build a strong defense and who will fight for your rights.
The Los Angeles murder defense attorneys at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP have decades of experience handling these types of cases. We will aggressively defend you and work to get the best possible outcome in your case.
Capital murder is the most severe kind of homicide charge in the United States. The state of California defines capital murder (Penal Code 187a) as any first- or second-degree murder that was carried out with “special circumstances” and with malicious afterthought.
Moreover, California PC Section 190.2 has over 20 unique situations listed in which capital murder can apply. These include killing:
- For monetary gain
- One or more victims
- Any law enforcement or police officers
- A witness in order to stop a testimony
- Via drive-by shooting
- Via gang activity
- As a hate crime
The penalties for capital murder are severe. Any of the above can constitute first- or second-degree murder.
First-degree murder is the most serious type of homicide in California and is punishable by 25 years to life in prison. For you to get a first-degree murder conviction, the prosecutor must be able to prove that you:
- Intentionally killed someone, and
- Did so with premeditation and deliberation.
Premeditation and deliberation mean that you thought about and planned the murder ahead of time. This does not necessarily mean that you planned it for weeks or months in advance—it could have been just a few minutes.
However, some time must have passed between when you formed the intent to kill and when you actually carried out the killing.
If the prosecutor cannot prove that you acted with premeditation and deliberation, then your charge may be reduced to second-degree murder. Second-degree murder is still a very serious crime, but it is punishable by 15 years to life in prison.
Examples of second-degree murder include:
- Driving under the influence and killing someone as a result.
- Opening fire with a gun in a movie theater and killing someone at random.
It’s important to note that someone with a prior murder conviction could have many more years added to their second-degree murder sentence.
The defenses for capital murder depend on the specific facts of your case, but some common defenses include:
- Self-defense or defense of others
- Accidental killing
- Lack of premeditation and deliberation
- Diminished mental capacity
- Mistaken identity
- False accusation
If you are charged with capital murder, it is imperative that you have an experienced Los Angeles violent crime defense attorney on your side to help you navigate the complex legal system and defend your rights. With so much at stake, you cannot afford to go through this process alone.
If you have been charged with capital murder, it is important to understand the severity of the charge and the possible penalties you are facing. We highly recommend immediately seeking out the help of a qualified and experienced Los Angeles capital murder attorney. This will ensure your case starts on the best foot possible. Contact Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP today at (213) 688-0460. We will extensively review your case and help you understand your options moving forward.
Recent Case Results
- Complete Dismissal of Molestation Charges
Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
- Decision Set Aside
Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
- Probation with No Jail Time for Drug Money Laundering Charge
Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.