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If you or a loved one has been accused or arrested for a Homicide case then give us a call at 559 441-1418.  Homicide is the most serious crime in the California Penal code and there is no stutute of limitations.  As someone that has tried 7 First Degree Murder cases, and won one Juvenile Homicide case and had another homicide case reduced to Involuntary Manslaughter I Have the experience to help you with your case.  


As a Attorney with more than 18 years of experience, and 50 Felony Jury trial as well as experience handling homicide cases we can definitely help you.  This is not a case where hiring inexperienced counsel or the local DUI guy will be sufficient.  Experience and results matter. 


Below I will be going through the charge of homicide briefely and then the defenses to homicide, nothing in this article is meant to be legal advice and you should seek experienced counsel.  



Homicide is the unlawful killing of a human being by another.  

below  I will go through some of the defenses to that charge and some other ways of attacking a homicide case that do not amount to defenses but rather negate the Malice element.  



Ths is not an exhaustive list and is meant to be only a partial list again if you or a loved one is charged with Homicide get legal advice as soon as possible. 

1. Self Defense/ At the time that you acted you were in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury.  

This is really a two part test were you in actual fear for your life and was that fear reasonble if the answer to those questions is yes than self defense is present and it amounts to what is  referred to as a  complete defense.  This means you could walk out of the courtroom if the jury agrees.  These type of cases usually go all the way to jury trial because th District Attorneys office does not agree if they charged the case as a Homicide. Sometimes you can change the minds of the District Attorney before trial by giving them evidence in the form of witness statements that back up your claim of self defense.  For example a witness saw the alleged victim pull out a gun first then you shot.  


2. Defense of others 

This is similiar to the defense above except you are stepping into the shoes of someone else meaning that another person had the right to defensd themselves against another person and that you stepped in and defended them. 

For example: A person pullls gun on someone and threatens to kill them you see this happen and then pull your gun out and kill them. 


Below I will explain two types of mititgation in a Murder, these defenses are not complete defenses and are actually not defenses at all they do not negate an element but if found true by the trier of fact they will show that the person that committed the Homicide did not have Malice.  

For a person to be found guilty of Murder they must possess Malice Express intent to kill such as pointing a gun at someone very close range and shooting several times. 

Implied Malice has two elements the phsical doing an act inherently dangerous to human life, the natural and probable consequence is death and the mental element conscious disregard for that danger.




If somoene acts during a sudden quarrel or after adequate provocation then purposely kills someoene they did not possess Malice and are guilty of Manslaughter


If a person acts with an actual belief in the need to use deadly force, but that belief was unreasonble then they are guilty of Manslaughter becasue they do no posses the Malice needed for First Degree or second degree murder. 


This is by no means  full explanation and there are many other defenses. 

If you have questions give us a call 559 441-1418.



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Gerald Schwab, Jr.


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Law Office of Gerald Schwab, Jr.
Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
5588 N Palm Ave,
Fresno, CA 93704
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Phone: 559.441.1418