Legal Definition of Malice
Malice is a wicked intention to do an injury.2 min read
2. Types of Malice
4. Offensive Trade
A wicked intention to do an injury. It is not confined to the intention of doing an injury to any particular person, but extends to anevil design, a corrupt and wicked notion against some one at the time of committing the crime; as, if A intended to poison B, conceals a quantity of poison in an apple and puts it in the way of B, and C, against whom he, had no ill will, and who, on the contrary, was his friend, happened to eat it, and die, A will be guilty of murdering C with malice aforethought.
Types of Malice
Malice is express or implied. It is express, when the party evincesan intention to commit the crime, as to kill a man; for example, modernduelling. It is implied, when an officer of justice is killed in the discharge of his duty, or when death occurs in the prosecution of some unlawful design.
It is a general rule that when a man commits an act, unaccompanied by any circumstance justifying its commission, the law presumes he has acted advisedly and with an intent to produce the consequences which have ensued.
The doing any act injurious to another without a just cause.
This term, as applied to torts, does not necessarily mean that which must proceed from a spiteful, malignant, or revengeful disposition, but a conduct injurious to another, though proceeding from an ill-regulated mind not sufficiently cautious before it occasions an injury to another.
Indeed in some cases it seems not to require any intention in order to make an act malicious. When a slander has been published, therefore,the pro-per question for the jury is, not whether the intention of the publication was to injure the plaintiff, but whether the tendency of the matter published, was so injurious.
Again, take the common case of an offensive trade, the melting oftallow for instance; such trade is not itself unlawful, but if carried on to the annoyance of the neighboring dwellings, it becomes unlawful with respect to them, and their inhabitants may maintain an action, and may charge the act of the defendant to be malicious.