An Australian police officer was shot in the head and chest last week while chasing down a stolen car. They eventually caught the four guys who did it, but the cop died yesterday in the hospital when his family decided to turn off his life support machines. The suspects had their charges upgraded to murder today. Here’s what I don’t get though: how is it murder if they didn’t actually kill him? I’m not arguing on their behalf; it just strikes me that a savvy lawyer might be able to get them off a murder charge on this technicality. Or am I just totally confused here?

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  1. Howie- this is a question for Ms. Amy Crawf, esquire. She might know. It’s interesting how much you can get away with in charging people.

  2. Oh, and just from what I’ve learned in “second-hand law school”, I think it has something to do with the shooter’s intention. If they had intended to wound the cop, the fact that they went for the head implicates that they wanted to kill. Even though he died later, they still “caused”/intended it. Also, secondly, there this other kind of statute- something about robber’s rights (I’m paraphrasing) – a way to convince robbers and criminals in committing “safe” crimes. Basically, I think it is a way to tell criminals that they will get a much stiffer penalty if there is a “used” weapon. It is a lot of technicalities, as you can probably imagine. I think that they are probably pushing the envelope to see what they can get right now. A saavy lawyer may be able to get them off, and another saavy lawyer may able to “prove” that it was murder. I’m guessing it would be much harder to prove than disprove. I think Amy is studying something like this right now.

  3. See, I thought the “intent” thing could only really prove “attempted murder”. I mean, if that version exists, then obviously the definition of murder is “killing them”. Although you could maybe say that he couldn’t survive without the life support machines, which is as good as killing him. I mean, it’s not like they euthanised him; they just shut down the respirator. If he couldn’t life, then they did kill him. I guess. I’m interested to see how this plays out.

  4. Er maybe cause and effect. They shot him, he died. Therefore they murdered him. Had they not shot him he would have been fine.

  5. I guess. But he didn’t die. He was on life support. His family made the decision to let him die. See, that’s where I get all muddled.

  6. I take it the police officer was brain dead, so therefor – they “killed” him. Intent means nothing if the person dies. He was brain dead – so therefor, he is dead.

  7. Hi Carl, welcome to the site. (I don’t think I’ve seen you here before.) Yeah, you’ve got a good argument. I didn’t realize brain dead = really dead. I suppose it should in these cases.

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