Is the Felony Murder Rule Fair?

by on May 10, 2010

The felony murder rule is a law that can be used to charge someone with first degree murder if a murder occurs during a forcible felony no matter if there is premeditation or not. A forcible felony includes felonious child endangerment, assault, murder, sexual abuse, kidnapping, robbery, arson in the first degree, and burglary in the first degree. Basically any murder can become a charge of first degree murder no matter what the circumstances. There is a reason we have multiple levels of punishment for murder including first degree murder, second degree murder, and voluntary manslaughter. Not every murder deserves the same punishment and the felony murder rule does away with these distinctions and makes pretty much all murder a possible first degree murder charge.

Don’t believe me, well look closely at what constitutes a forcible felony. Assault is one of them. Tell me, how is it possible to committee murder without first assaulting them? If you hit someone with any kind of weapon or object isn’t that considered assault, if you point a gun at someone and then shoot them isn’t pointing a gun at someone considered assault? Is there anyway to committee murder without first assaulting them, I can’t think of one.

What is worse is that this law can be used on anyone who had any knowledge or was with the person who actually committed a murder. How can one person be responsible for the actions of another human being? Yes there are instances where this rule should apply. For example if you go into a gas station armed with the intent to rob it with someone else who ends up shooting and killing clerk you should be responsible for that persons death, but if you had no intention of committing a crime why should you be responsible for someone else’s actions. For example in Florida a young man lent his car to a couple of friends who took his car committed a robbery and murder without his knowledge and now this young man sits in prison without possibility of parole. How is this fair? How is this justice?

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