Murder is the killing of a human being done with malice. In general, murder committed by a mob of angry individuals is called a lynching. But in California, the legal definition of lynching is different.

What Crime Does Lynching Refer to in California?

In California, the term lynching referred to taking a person from the lawful custody of a police officer during a riot.

What is a Riot?

In California, a riot is when two or more people act together to: 

  • Disturb the public peace
  • Use violence
  • Use force
  • Threaten to use force or violence with the immediate possibility of carrying out that threat 

What Does A Prosecutor Have to Prove to Convict Me of Lynching?

A prosecutor has the responsibility of proving beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant: 

  • Willfully participated in a riot;
  • Took an individual from police custody during the riot; and
  • Knew or reasonably should have known the act would interfere with a peace officer’s duties 

What Sentence Can I Receive for Committing This Crime?

California’s “lynching” law is a felony and is punishable by 2 to 4 years in jail.

Can I Be Charged with any Other Crime In Addition to Lynching?

Yes. Depending on the facts of the case, a prosecutor may charge a defendant with other charges such as: 

Should I Talk to a Lawyer about The Defenses I Can Use to Fight This Charge?

Yes. Talk to a California criminal lawyer about your lynching charge and possible defenses to use. A criminal lawyer may be able to get the charge dropped or reduced too.