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Trumplestiltskin

Felony murder: why a teenager who didn't kill anyone faces 55 years in jail

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Frankly, this beggars belief. Not quite as bad as trying to medicate insane people to make them sane enough to execute, but definitely up there.

Blake Layman made one very bad decision. He was 16, an unexceptional teenager growing up in a small Indiana town. Hed never been in trouble with the law, had a clean criminal record, had never owned or even held a gun.

That decision sparked a chain of events that would culminate with his arrest and trial for felony murder. The boy was unarmed, had pulled no trigger, killed no one. He was himself shot and injured in the incident while his friend standing beside him was also shot and killed. Yet Layman would go on to be found guilty by a jury of his peers and sentenced to 55 years in a maximum-security prison for a shooting that he did not carry out.

How Blake Layman got to be in the Kafkaesque position in which he now finds himself facing the prospect of spending most of the rest of his life in a prison cell for a murder that he did not commit is the subject on Thursday of a special hearing of the Indiana supreme court, the states highest judicial panel. How the judges respond to the case of what has become known as the Elkhart Four could have implications for the application of so-called felony murder laws in Indiana and states across the union.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/26/felony-murder-teenager-55-years-jail-indiana?CMP=fb_gu

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It is pretty screwed up that the kid is being charged with felony murder. From what the article says, the law is not being interpreted properly.

In Indiana the wording of the felony murder law is more nuanced than those of the other 11 states. It says that a “person who kills another human being while committing or attempting to commit … burglary … commits murder, a felony.”

Cara and Joel Wieneke, the legal duo who represent Layman, said that at the heart of the argument they will be presenting to the supreme court is the issue of agency. “The plain language of the statute requires the defendant or one of his accomplices to do the killing. In Blake’s case neither he nor any of his co-perpetrators killed anybody – this was a justified killing by the person who was protecting his home,” Joel Wieneke told the Guardian.

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The felony murder rule results in some really bizarre outcomes where there's accomplice liability. You'll be happy to know England and Wales did away with it some time back.

Edited by Barack 0bola

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I'm sure they will correct the "oops" in this law that let it be used in this way.. The kid will serve a few years and be released and go back to his normal productive routine.


I don't believe it.. Prove it to me and I still won't believe it. -Ford Prefect

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