U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
Frascarelli v. USPC
Opinion Date: May 23, 2017
Judge: Catharina Haynes
Areas of Law: Criminal Law
Petitioner challenged the Commission's determination that the federal offense most analogous to defendant's crime was second-degree murder. Petitioner, an American who killed his girlfriend in Mexico, was sentenced for "qualified homicide committed with advantage" under the Baja Penal Code. Second-degree murder under United States law requires a finding that a human being was killed with malice aforethought. The Fifth Circuit held that the Commission did not clearly err in finding that defendant acted with malice when he hit his girlfriend in the face with a hammer a few times and then strangled her to death. In this case, there was scant evidence of provocation; defendant fabricated a story to deflect attention from his malicious crime; and there was evidence that the heat of passion had time to cool when defendant walked down and up a flight of stairs to obtain the hammer and then strangle the victim.
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