What is ‘Felony Murder” in Maryland?
I’ve alluded in another chapter to the so called felony murder rule. Criminal defense lawyers in Baltimore know this can be incredibly harsh. If a death occurs in the course of enumerated felonies, even if it is not intended, it is first degree murder. Those specific crimes include:
- arson in the first degree;
- burning specified structures;
- burglary in the first, second, or third degree;
- carjacking or armed carjacking;
- escape in the first degree from a correctional facility;
- rape, a sexual offense in the first or second degree;
The rationale is to discourage the commission of felonies, generally. Good enough, and everyone can agree that make sense. But here is the rub: the responsibility for a first degree murder is imputed to anyone who participates in the underlying crime, even if that person did not in anyway participate in the killing, and in fact, even if that person did not want anyone to be harmed.1 The seasoned Baltimore Criminal Defense lawyer Attorney Eric T. Kirk is aware that the felony-murder doctrine will not apply where it is an accomplice that is killed in the course of the felony.2 The elements of a felony murder may also be met where death results from the manufacture, transportation, possession, control, storing, selling, distribution, or use a destructive device.