This is the killing of one person by another resulting from a person's
lawful act, committed without the intent to kill or harm another.
California Penal Code Section 195 defines
Accidental and Excusable Homicide as:
- A homicide committed by accident and misfortune or during lawful conduct
and without any intent to kill.
- A homicide committed by accident and misfortune, in the heat of passion,
upon any sudden combat, when no undue advantage is taken, nor any dangerous
weapon used, and when the killing is not done in a cruel or unusual manner.
A homicide that is a result of an accident or misfortune is a killing that
is excused and therefore lawful. An example of #1 above would involve
a situation where a person is at a shooting range and someone wanders
into the middle of the shooting range and gets shot. If the person dies,
it would be classified as an excusable homicide because the killing was
an accident that did not involve unlawful intent. An example of #2 above
would involve someone who provokes a fight, withdraws then flees the scene
but, out of necessity and in self-defense, then kills the attacker from
whom he is fleeing.
Excusable Homicide is sometimes used interchangeably with
Justifiable Homicide. In fact, the distinction between Excusable Homicide and Justifiable Homicide
has virtually disappeared and the term Justifiable Homicide is the term
most widely used. See and compare to