However, in exercising their prerogative over murder, state legislators should use plain language that favors a particular theory. This would avoid the false result obtained in Sophophone, where the language of the law seems to require direct accountability, but the highest court in the state allows it to choose the agency theory. Choosing the right theory should be the task of the legislator, not the courts. It would be fairer to let the elected representatives of the people make the choice of the right theory of responsibility, and the state should dress up their choice in plain language. But is a murder charge based on these facts possible in an administrative state like ours? After all, there is a probability of at least 50% that the fatal shot was fired by the other person, who was not complicit with the accused. Even though the state managed to overcome a motion to dismiss and a skeptical jury, Bonner, Oxendine and Williams tell us that a murder conviction could not stand up to the appeal. “Murder laws assume that a person who participates in a crime understands the risk of someone being killed,” says Jody Kent Lavy, executive director of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Minors. But well-established science of brain development shows that children and adolescents are less able to perceive risks or anticipate consequences than adults. Given this and the unique ability of children to make positive change, it is difficult and inappropriate to subject every child to life imprisonment, especially under a theory of responsibility for criminal murder.
The Common Law Felony Murder Rule states that if one person kills another by committing an act or attempting to commit an act that amounts to a crime, murder is murder.1 In his collection of criminal law jurisprudence, Professor Dressler argues that the operation of the rule in its classical form follows a simple convincing logic, Almost mathematical: a crime + a murder = a murder.2 From our point of view, the law shows parliament`s intention to extend criminal responsibility beyond that imposed on a criminal under the common law and to hold all persons involved in armed robbery accountable for deaths that occurred during the commission of the crime. We conclude that the trial judge was right to dismiss the application for dismissal.92 Nevertheless, such an additional sentence does not take place in jurisdictions that follow the agency`s theory of responsibility.62 It is a cruel irony in our nation`s history that laws that are supposed to punish a few in the most egregious circumstances instead, they are used to oppress many of our most vulnerable people. The murder rule is a blatant example of its different and cruel effects on young and non-white people and women. This draconian doctrine has no value to most people in our society because it is not designed to respond to the true actions or intentions of an accused. Instead, the rule blames people for actions they don`t intend, don`t know, or can`t foresee. It does not improve public safety because it has no impact on the deterrence of potentially hazardous activities. And prosecutors have relied heavily on the rule to impose crippling sentences on blacks, women and teens who far outweigh their guilt. The U.S. criminal justice system is sufficiently punitive as it is. It is time to replace the murder rule with a more logical and humane approach to actions that have unintended consequences. The Court noted that when Parliament amended the Criminal Code in 1992, one of its stated objectives was to align the Code with the majority of states = laws, if this was not clearly contrary to Parliament = s intent.@165 It also relied on the leniency rule that criminal laws must be interpreted strictly in favour of the accused.
and any reasonable doubt about the importance is decided in favor of anyone statute.@166 The sight of the U.S. Capitol shrouded in tear gas besieged by rioters heading to a joint session of Congress shocked the national conscience. Five people died in the riot, and in the weeks that followed, state prosecutors announced hundreds of charges against dozens of people. But while the January 6 uprising sparked a debate about the need for new criminal laws — such as a national terrorism law — it also sparked a discussion about whether an older controversial rule should apply in this situation. Prosecutors are considering charging some people with murder for the deaths of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick and Ashli Babbitt, who was killed by police as she tried to enter the speaker`s lobby through a broken window. The application of the prox-cause approach varies considerably by jurisdiction, as laws differ considerably,80 and this article will examine a representative sample of them. First, let`s look again at the facts of the sophophone case presented in the introduction and apply the theory of the immediate cause of liability. In this case, Sophophone`s co-criminal was shot dead by a police officer after fleeing a burglary. At the time of the shooting, Sophophone was handcuffed and sitting in the back seat of a police car. If Sophophon were prosecuted in a jurisdiction that applies an immediate cause theory, he would be held responsible for the death of his co-offender.
The responsibility of the enforcement agents would be accompanied by an immediate reason to create a situation in which the State could argue that the commission of the burglary, combined with the choice of the accused to flee, triggered the persecution by armed agents. The shot that killed. was shot against the escape of fleeing burglars. [and] was a direct and predictable consequence of the defendants = actions.@81 But at least in North Carolina, the rule is clear: we are an agency state. The two main approaches to causing murder are agency theory and immediate cause theory.50 Proponents defend the murder rule on the grounds that it helps reduce the overall crime rate and reduce the average number of crime-related deaths. Although a number of studies have attempted to isolate the effects of the rule, the results are difficult to determine due to confounding variables. The most widely used study, conducted by legal researchers at UC Berkeley, found that there was no decrease in crime rates for states that apply the homicide rule to crime, and that there may be a slight negative correlation with crime-related deaths for states that pass the law. Aside from the arguments in favor of its potential utilitarian advantages, the rule has been sharply criticized for its apparent disregard for criminal intent, as seen in the case of Travis Castle and his friends. Even though the rule lowered both overall crime rates and crime-related death rates, the law still senses injustice: the idea of charging someone with murder they did not intend to commit runs counter to any intuitive notion of fairness and the principles on which the U.S. criminal justice system is based. To counter this instinctive objection, proponents of the murder rule argue that criminals are directly guilty of murder and should be treated as such for setting in motion the chain of events that led to death.
This defense was commonly referred to as the “but for” defense: for example, if Castle, Doyle, and Moore had not broken into the house, Castle would not have been killed by the person there. While this defense may be logically sound, it is dangerously simplistic and reductive, arguing that all crimes should be punished based on outcome, not intent. Proponents of the immediate cause theory might argue that the defendant will only be held liable for his own unlawful acts, since resistance or resistance to his crime was a reasonably foreseeable consequence.