Petition Asking Congress to Abolish the Felony Murder Rule

Petition Asking the US Congress to Abolish the Felony Murder Rule

Here is a petition asking the US Congress to Abolish the Felony Murder Rule.  It needs more signatures.  I know that many question if these petitions work, but I believe it is important to get our dissatisfaction with this unjust law known.  We need to keep pressure on the politicians and legal system if we are going to have any chance of freeing The Elkhart 4.  If anyone knows of a petition demanding revoking the felony murder rule in Indiana let me know and I will post the link.


Here it the arguments of the people who are petitioning the US Congress.

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

1 – 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.

2 – 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.



3 – 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.



4 – Under the felony murder rule, the defendant’s state of mind is irrelevant. Because intent is a characterization of a particular state of mind with respect to a killing, felony murder bears little resemblance to the offense of murder except in name. First-degree murder is an arbitrary assignment.



5 – 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.



6 – It is fundamentally unfair and in violation of basic principles of individual criminal culpability to hold one felon liable for the unforeseen and un-agreed to results of another felon’s action.



7 – 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.



8 – The purpose of creating degrees of murder is to punish with increased severity the more culpable forms of murder, but an accidental killing during the commission or attempted commission of a felony is punished more severely than a second-degree murder.



9 – While the felony murder rule survives in Tennessee, Virginia, Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, West Virginia, Indiana, 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 presumption of innocence is thrown to the winds. The prosecution needs only to prove intent to commit the underlying felony; that done, first degree-murder becomes part and parcel of the underlying felony because intent to commit murder does not have to be proved.



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


(b) The felony murder rule holds unequally involved parties equally accountable and punishable. Again, cruel and unusual punishment if you’re only the lookout for a robber who happens to kill in the process of the robbery.



13 – The felony murder rule violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of due process because no defense is allowed on the charge of first-degree murder, only the underlying felony.



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



15 – It is no longer acceptable to equate the intent to commit a felony with the intent to kill.


  • SHAME ON USA …. to all concerned with this case whether Family… Friends … Supporters … school buddies … as a serious protest against the insidious sentencing of these 4 teen there should be mass non compliance linked with strikes … offical strikes … close your town down … stop work ..
    Strike on the schools … were are the young defending the young … to stand up and be counted for justice … this sentence is an attack on the rights and freedoms of American citizens … every where and it will have grave implications if not faced head on … parents and friends of theses 4 boys … it’s time to defend the constitution of america … rise up and overthrow the politicians and senators who are destroying childerns lives all over America through politically motivated and extremely harsh sentencing … I’m so so angry over this And I’m sure you all are ….don’t let this happen to another child …

    Rise up … America and defend your liberty
    And freedoms …

    • I understand your concern and I share your view that this case is a huge injustice. Unfortunately I think there is a huge segment of population who hear the word “murder” and don’t give the convicted a second thought . . . the population just wants punishment. I think that we need to get the facts out there. Once people understand the circumstances of this case they become more concerned. The political elite like Curtis Hill want Blake, Levi, Jose and Anthony to disappear into the Indiana Department of Corrections and the focus to move onto something else. As advocates for these teens it is our job to ensure this does not happen. We need to keep the pressure on the political elite for the long term. I think we need to use the ballot box and our words to express our dissatisfaction with the system. I appreciate that you are angry, but I think the best thing we can do at this point is try to get the facts out there. That is what I am trying to do, I just hope I am making a bit of a difference.