felony-murder rule – death which occurs by accident or chance during the course of the commission of a felony is first degree murder

     This page is continued from Criminal Law Self-Help >>>> Crimes and Corresponding Laws >>>> Forms of Homicide >>>> Criminal (felonious) Homicide >>>> Murder >>>> First Degree Murder >>>> Felony Murder:


felony-murder rule:

1. Criminal law. The doctrine that if a person dies during the course of and in furtherance of a specified type of felony even in immediate flight from the scene and even if the decedent was a perpetrator of the felony — the death is considered a murder regardless of intent.  *  Most states restrict this rule to inherently dangerous felonies such as rape, arson, robbery, and burglary. [1]

1. The rule that a death which occurs by accident or chance during the course of the commission of a felony is first degree murder. (EXAMPLE: If, during the course of an armed robbery by Robbers A and B, Robber A accidentally shoots and kills the storeowner,  Robber B as well as Robber A is guilty of murder.)  The felony murder rule, which is a common law doctrine, has been modified by statute in most states. [2]

Specification of Terms:

felony murder – occurs during the commission of a dangerous felony (often limited to rape, kidnapping, robbery, burglary, and arson). — aka unintentional murder; (in English law) constructive murder.


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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.


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