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Join the conversation! There are now 7 comments on this chapter's page 93. Felony Murder. What are your thoughts?
  1. Dhamon says

    So for the conspirators to be liable for the baby’s death, they would have to foresee that the guard would miss Judge and kill a baby? (It was the guard right? Or did I misread earlier?)

    • I think the fact that since Judge decided to bring along a gun in the first place, with the intent to use it in the course of the robbery, made it “dangerous to begin with”.

      They probably didn’t need to forsee the precise fact that a guard would miss and shoot a bystander not even in the bank. However, they probably could have forseen Officer Murphy and his Law making everything go wahooni-shaped, leading to several people getting shot.

      • I totally forsee that bullets sometimes miss and missed bullets sometimes hit bystanders.
        Gun safety 101: Every bullet fired stops in something. And if you’re not aiming at a target range, you had better be expecting it to stop in someONE who you hope to be killed.

  2. jeff says

    And now to echo a previous comment I made about the unjustness and questionable constitutionality of the rule of law known as felony murder:
    Felony murder is a charge that aside from being inherently unfair, is disproportional with punishment (treating what should be manslaughter as equivalent to first degree murder, and setting a much lower bar to convict for it), and quite possibly unconstitutional (specifically violating the 8th and 14th amendments), and unfairly treating intent to commit a crime, such as robbery in this case, as equivalent to intent to murder. And the points I brought up are only SOME of the problems with felony murder; there’s many more, which I won’t mention here.

    • I really don’t see how it’s unjust- if you’re committing a crime where it’s possible someone would die, and someone does die, you’re fundamentally responsible: that person wouldn’t have died if you weren’t off committing crimes where people could get hurt. As to murder, you have intent- you took an action where you intended to hurt someone, or threaten to hurt them, and you have malice- you’re hurting someone, and you don’t really care that you are. The fact that you killed someone other than the person you were trying to kill doesn’t really change things.

      I don’t know why you’re bringing up the 8th and 14th Amendment, but, what the hell. Assumedly, for murder, excessive bail and excessive fines aren’t an issue, so I’m guessing you think it’s cruel and unusual punishment to lock up murderers in prison.

      It isn’t.

      As to the 14th amendment, I’ll assume we’re not talking about letting Confederates into Congress, counting populations for determining representation after the Civil War, or the US refusing to pay the CSA’s debts. Committing Murder isn’t a traditional privilege or immunity of US Citizens, and, assuming the trial that found the murderer guilty is in proper order, no one’s being deprived of liberty without due process.

      • The question here is whether it’s right for the conspirators to be charged with murder. The conspirators don’t necessarily have intent or malice to harm anyone other than the bank, nor control of whether dude brought a gun nor whether he used it.

      • The unfairness is more about proportionality, and treating the intent to commit any potentially violent crime as *equivalent* to the intent of a hitman or serial killer. Someone committing felony reckless endangerment (say, driving way too fast) who kills someone as a result pretty clearly does not have a “premeditation” mens rea as to the killing, yet by the contortions of felony murder logic could potentially be held liable for first-degree murder, even though that is a paradigmatic example of a reckless (and not a premeditated or intentional) state of mind.

        (Note that I’m not sure if anyone has ever been successfully prosecuted that way, or even if the law would allow it, but it seems to fit the above description).

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