Iowa is one of the states the still uses the Felony Murder Rule. Iowa laws are a bit confusing , on one hand they can be extremely open minded by legalizing gay marriage and showing the rest of the world that we’re not just a bunch of country folk who are behind in the times; than on the other hand we hold on to the felony murder rule even though it is an unjust and archaic law that can be used to send someone away for life for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In some cases you don’t even have to be present you just need to be friends with the wrong person at the wrong time.
So why is the felony murder rule unjust? First let look at the law as it is in a normal murder case. In order for there to be a first degree murder conviction there must be a willful, deliberate, premeditated or planned attempt to kill someone. In other words you must have the intent to murder someone before the actual crime takes place. For second degree murder to take place it simply has to be in the act of an assault or malicious act where any prudent person would realize that someone could get hurt. This is the way the law was written and the way the law was indented to be implemented.
The felony murder rule completely does away with this distinction. Say you go into a gas station to rob it with someone, should a prudent person realize that someone could get hurt or even killed even if they don’t know that the other person has a weapon on them, of course; and that is why it is second degree murder and not first degree. Most felony murder cases strictly meat the definitions of second degree murder not first. If we have a problem with what should qualify as first and second degree murder then we should rewrite the definitions not just make up a rule that let us bypass the law at the whim of a prosecutor. In order for us to have a just legal system we must treat everyone the same with disregard to race, sex, or geographical location.