malice

malice, in law, an intentional violation of the law of crimes or torts that injures another person. Malice need not involve a malignant spirit or the definite intent to do harm. To prove malice, it is sufficient to show the willful doing of an injurious act without what is considered a lawful excuse. A malicious state of mind may be inferred from reckless and wanton acts that a normal person should know might produce or threaten injury to others. Malice aforethought is a technical element of murder. In libel and slander cases, malice consists of publishing material out of spite or with evil intent, with a reckless disregard for its truth or falsity (see New York Times Company v. Sullivan).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on malice from Fact Monster:

  • malic acid - malic acid: malic acid: see Krebs cycle.
  • Krebs cycle - Krebs cycle Krebs cycle, series of chemical reactions carried out in the living cell; in most ...
  • murder - murder murder, criminal homicide, usually distinguished from manslaughter by the element of malice ...
  • homicide - homicide homicide , in law, the taking of human life. Homicides that are neither justifiable nor ...
  • Gustav Wied - Wied, Gustav Wied, Gustav , 1858–1914, Danish novelist, playwright, and short-story writer. ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Crime and Law Enforcement