187 (slang)

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The number "187" has been used throughout the United States as a synonym for murder; this usage has been reported as far away as the United Kingdom[1] and Germany.[2] This is due to the popularity of the 1993 American science fiction action film Demolition Man.

California Penal Code Section 187[edit]

California Penal Code section 187, subdivision (a) defines murder as "the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought." Subdivision (b) states that subdivision (a) does not apply to any person who commits an act that results in the death of a fetus if any of the following apply: (1) The act complied with certain Health and Safety Code sections (the California Therapeutic Abortion Act) or (2) The act was committed by a holder of a physician's and surgeon's certificate, in a case where, to a medical certainty, the result of childbirth would be death of the mother of the fetus or where her death from childbirth, although not medically certain, would be substantially certain or more likely than not, or (3) The act was solicited, aided, abetted, or consented to by the mother of the fetus.[3]

In California, suspects are usually charged by reference to one or more Penal Code (PC) sections. Thus, the charging documents for a suspect charged with murder would be inscribed with "PC 187(a)" or just "PC 187." If a suspect is charged with attempted murder, then the relevant code would be "PC 664/187" because attempt is defined in Penal Code section 664.[4]

Under the California Uniform Bail Schedule, the standard bail for murder is $750,000.[4] The standard bail for first-degree murder with special circumstances (that is, circumstances under which the district attorney is seeking the death penalty) is "NO BAIL."[4]

Popular Culture[edit]

The song "April 29, 1992" contains the lyric: "screaming 187 on a motherfuckin' cop." The song was written by American ska punk band Sublime in 1996 from their album Sublime. The song title refers to the date of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, following the acquittal of four police officers accused in the videotaped beating of Rodney King.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Scheerhout, John (2 April 2012). ""You thought I was joking":Facebook fury of jealous knifeman who stabbed 74-year-old woman at Chorlton bus stop". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Article from Hamburger Morgenpost (German)
  3. ^ "California Penal Code Section 187". California Penal Code. California State Legislature. Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c For examples of this, see the Felony Bail Schedule, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Cruz.

External links[edit]