The intentional doing of a wrongful act without just cause or excuse, with an intent to inflict an injury or under circumstances that the law will imply an evil intent. A condition of mind which prompts a person to do a wrongful act willfully, that is, on purpose, to the injury of another, or to do intentionally a wrongful act toward another without justification or excuse. A conscious violation of the law (or the prompting of the mind to commit it) which operates to the prejudice of another person. A condition of the mind showing a heart regardless of social duty and fatally bent on mischief. Cockrell v. State, 135 Tex.Cr.R. 218, 117 S.W.2d 1105, 1109, 1110.
Malice in law is not necessarily personal hate or ill will, but it is that state of mind which is reckless of law and of the legal rights of the citizen. In murder, that condition of mind which prompts one to take the life of another without just cause, legal justification, or provocation. A willful or corrupt intention of the mind. It includes not only anger, hatred and revenge, but also every other unlawful and unjustifiable motive. People v. Aaron, 299 N.W.2d 304, 326.
As requirement to sustain award of punitive damages is wrongful act done intentionally without just cause or excuse. Malik v. Apex Intern. Alloys, Inc., C.A.Okl., 762 F.2d 77, 80.
As used in Bankruptcy Code (No. 523(a)(6)) provision excepting from discharge liabilities for willful and malicious injuries to another entity or property of another entity does not require personal hatred or ill will, but requires that debtor know his act will harm another and proceed in face of such knowledge. Matter of Chambers, Bkrtcy.Wis., 23 B.R. 206, 210.
In libel and slander, as to privileged communications, "malice" involves an evil intent or motive arising from spite or ill will; personal hatred or ill will; or culpable recklessness or a willful and wanton disregard of the rights and interests of the person defamed. In a libel case it consists in intentionally publishing, without justifiable cause, any written or printed matter which is injurious to the character of another. Becker v. Brinkop, 230 Mo.App. 871, 78 S.W.2d 538, 541.
Malice may be defined, insofar as defamation is concerned, as acting in bad faith and with knowledge of falsity of statements. Rice v. Winkelman Bros. Apparel, Inc., 13 Mich.App. 281, 164 N.W.2d 417, 420.
In the context of a libel suit brought by a public figure, it consists in publishing the false defamation knowing it to be false or with a reckless disregard of whether it is true or false. New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 84 S.Ct. 710, 11 L.Ed.2d 686.
See also libel
In the law of malicious prosecution, it means that the prosecution was instituted primarily because of a purpose other than that of bringing an offender to justice. Brown v. Kisner, 192 Miss. 746, 6 So.2d 611, 617.
It is the intentional doing of a wrongful act without legal justification, and may be inferred from the absence of probable cause; it does not necessarily involve hatred or ill will. Palermo v. Cottom, Mo.App., 525 S.W.2d 758, 765.
See also malicious prosecution. Actual malice. Express malice, or malice in fact. Eteenpain Co-op. Soc. v. Lillback, C.C.A.Mass., 18 F.2d 912, 917.
In libel law, "actual malice" can be established either by proving the publication was made with the knowledge of its falsity of its contents or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. Hepps v. Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc., 506 Pa. 304, 485 A.2d 374, 389.
Such will be found where an intent to inflict harm through falsehood is established. Cochran v. Indianapolis Newspapers, Inc., 175 Ind.App. 548, 372 N.E.2d 1211, 1219.
See also malice in fact.
@ constructive malice
Implied malice; malice inferred from acts; malice imputed by law; malice which is not shown by direct proof of an intention to do injury (express malice), but which is inferentially established by the necessarily injurious results of the acts shown to have been committed.
+ constructive malice
That type of malice which the law infers from the doing of an evil act; sometimes known as implied malice
See also implied malice.
@ express malice
Actual malice; malice in fact; ill will or wrongful motive. A deliberate intention to commit an injury, evidenced by external circumstances. Sparf v. U. S., 156 U.S. 51, 15 S.Ct. 273, 39 L.Ed. 343.
See also malice in fact.
+ express malice
Express malice for purposes of first degree murder includes malice, formed design or intention to kill or to do great bodily harm, and sedate and deliberate mind of which that intention is the State v. Gardner, 7 Storey 588, 203 A.2d 77, 80.
As used with respect to libel, means publication of defamatory material in bad faith, without belief in the truth of the matter published, or with reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the matter. Barlow v. International Harvester Co., 95 Idaho 881, 522 P.2d 1102, 1113.
See also malice; implied malice
@ implied malice
Malice inferred by legal reasoning and necessary deduction from the res gestse or the conduct of the party. Malice inferred from any deliberate cruel act committed by one person against another, however sudden. What is called "general malice" is often thus inferred. Sparf v. U. S., 156 U.S. 51, 15 S.Ct. 273, 39 L.Ed. 343.
See also constructive malice, above; and malice in law.
@ particular malice
Malice directed against a particular individual. Ill will; a grudge; a desire to be revenged on a particular person.
See also special malice.
@ preconceived malice
Malice prepense or aforethought.
See malice aforethought
@ premeditated malice
An intention to kill unlawfully, deliberately formed in the mind as the result of a determination meditated upon and fixed before the act.
See malice aforethought
@ special malice
Particular or personal malice; that is, hatred, ill will, or a vindictive disposition against a particular individual.
@ universal malice
By this term is not meant a malicious purpose to take the life of all persons, but it is that depravity of the human heart which determines to take life upon slight or insufficient provocation, without knowing or caring who may be the victim
@ malice aforethought
A predetermination to commit an act without legal justification or excuse. Harrison v. Commonwealth, 279 Ky. 510, 131 S.W.2d 454, 455.
A malicious design to injure. State v. Thomas, 157 Kan. 526, 142 P.2d 692, 693.
The intentional doing of an unlawful act which was determined upon before it was executed. State v. Lane, Mo., 371 S.W.2d 261, 263.
An intent, at the time of a killing, willfully to take the life of a human being, or an intent willfully to act in callous and wanton disregard of the consequences to human life; but "malice aforethought" does not necessarily imply any ill will, spite or hatred towards the individual killed.
See also premeditation
@ malice in fact
Express or actual malice. Ill will towards a particular person; an actual intention to injure or defame such person. Judge v. Rockford Memorial Hospital, 17 Ill.App.2d 365, 150 N.E.2d 202, 208.
It implies desire or intent to injure, while "malice in law," or "implied malice," means wrongful act done intentionally, without just cause or excuse, and jury may infer it.
Compare malice in law
@ malice in law
The intentional doing of a wrongful act without just cause or excuse. Lyons v. St. Joseph Belt Ry. Co., 232 Mo.App. 575, 84 S.W.2d 933, 944.
Implied, inferred, or legal malice. As distinguished from malice in fact, it is presumed from tortious acts, deliberately done without just cause, excuse, or justification, which are reasonably calculated to injure another or others.
See also legal malice
Compare malice in fact
@ malice prepense
Malice aforethought; deliberate, predetermined malice

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.


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