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Florida’s vs. California’s Homicide Statutes


Homicide is always regarded by the law as a serious crime, determining it as an illegal killing of an individual. In the United States, this wrongdoing has different types depending on its severity, including first and second degree murders or voluntary and involuntary manslaughters. Nevertheless, the attitudes of various states towards homicide have their commonalities and differences. This essay will compare Florida’s and California’s statutes concerning homicide and examine their impact on the homicide’s occurrence in respective states.

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Similarities and Differences

The first similarity between Florida’s and California’s statutes is that they both classify homicide on two main types, namely, murder (first and second degree) and manslaughter (voluntary and involuntary). For example, first degree murder in both states comprises premeditated killings, felony murders. However, Florida’s law also referrers murders because of drug dealing to the first degree. Furthermore, in Florida, offenders committing this murder are sentenced to the death penalty or life imprisonment without the opportunity of parole, while in California, it can be confinement for 25 years or life imprisonment (FindLaw’s team, 2018a; FindLaw’s team, 2018b).

Regarding voluntary and involuntary manslaughters, California also has more mild penalties. For instance, California courts can punish criminals committing involuntary manslaughter for 2-4 years in jail, whereas in Florida, the sentence can be extended to 15 years. Nevertheless, the latter also suggests probation and fines in the amount of $10,000.

Statistical Analysis

The rates of homicide for Florida and California also differ. In Florida, with a 21,48-million population, the number of murders amounts to 1,285, while California, with 39,51 million, has 2,161 murders in 2020 (Angers, 2021; Lofstrom, 2021). Herewith, both states demonstrated a significant climb in rates compared to 2019: in Florida, this increase comprises 260 homicides, whereas, in California, it is 503. Considering that California’s population is higher, its murder rate should be higher. However, it is worth admitting that California has a noticeably larger occurrence of homicide than Florida, which can be partly stipulated by the latter’s more severe sentences. In particular, In Florida, the law can assign the death penalty for premeditated or heinous homicide, while California has only life imprisonment.


Angers, A. (2021). Florida sees increase in violent crime, while overall crime came down in 2020. Web.

FindLaw’s team. (2018a). Florida first degree murder laws. Web.

FindLaw’s team. (2018b). California first degree murder laws. Web.

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Lofstrom, M. (2021). Homicides climb for most California counties in 2020. Web.

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