Petition Closed
Petitioning Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and 1 other

Governor Edmund J. Brown Jr. of California: Revise The Felony Murder Rule


What’s Wrong With The Felony Murder Rule- Common Sense:

1. It is fundamentally unfair and in violation of basic principles of individual criminal culpability to hold one felon liable for the unseen and unagreed-to results of another felon’s action.

2. The felony murder rule operates as a matter of law upon proof of the intent to commit a felony to relieve the prosecution of its burden of proving intent to kill, which is a necessary element of murder.

3. The intention to commit a felony does not equal the intention to kill, nor is the intention to commit a felony, by itself, sufficient to establish a charge of murder.

4. The felony murder rule violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of due process, more specifically, equal protection of the law, because no defense is allowed on the charge of first-degree murder, only the underlying felony.

5. The purpose of creating degrees of murder is to punish with increased severity the more culpable forms of murder, but an accidental or unknown killing during the commission or attempted commission of a felony is punished more severely than all other murder charges with exception to first degree murder.

6. The felony murder rule erodes the relation between criminal liability and moral culpability in that it punishes all homicides in the commission, or attempted commission, of the proscribed felonies, whether intentional, unintentional, or accidental, without proving the relation between the homicide and the perpetrator’s state of mind.

7. Holding one or many criminally liable for the bad results of an act which differs greatly from the intended results is based on a concept of culpability which is totally at odds with the general principles of jurisprudence.

8. The basic rule of culpability is further violated when felony murder is categorized as first-degree murder because all other first-degree murders (carrying equal punishment) require a showing of premeditation, deliberation, and willfulness, while felony murder only requires a showing of intent to do the underlying felony.

9. While the felony murder rule survives in California, and other states, the numerous modifications and restrictions of it by some states courts and legislatures throughout the United States reflect dissatisfaction with the basic harshness and injustice of the doctrine and call into question its continued existence.

10. The felony murder rule can be used by prosecutors in a manner so as to cause grossly disproportionate sentencing, depending on the circumstances of each individual case.

11. The felony murder rule is unconstitutional because the presumption of innocence is thrown out. The prosecutor must only prove intent to commit the original felony; once done, first degree murder attaches to the underlying felony even though intent, (mens rea,) to commit murder does not have to be proved.

12. The felony murder rule is unconstitutional because it violates the Eighth Amendment: cruel and unusual punishment, grossly disproportionate sentencing to the crime(s) actually committed.

13. The felony murder rule bears no rational relationship or equity in its two penalties, with the penalties of other California murder laws, including, at times, the charge of first-degree murder.

 

Petition:

We, the undersign, call on California Governor Edmund J. Brown Jr. to Revise or Change the FELONY Murder Rule.

This is a law that needs to be REVISED or CHANGED. A person has no control of what another does. My son Justin Robson was used as a guinea pig in a botched robbery. My son did not plan to rob anyone nor did he plan to kill anyone. 

My son has now been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, WRONGFULLY convicted of the FELONY Murder Rule and sent to a level 4 prison, he has been to a county jail twice and now he fights to save his life behind bars. He has to look over his back all the time. He is white and they say the whites are treated the worst. He is not a murderer. 

A person can go and actually murder someone and be out of prison in 25 years but my son who did nothing gets life without the possibility parole. He does not deserve this. Can you help us REVISE or CHANGE this law?
Letter to
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.
California Governor
Revise The Felony Murder Rulw