Yeah, Marvin had to do things "his way." In the police/sheriff's academy,
they tell you (if common sense can't figure it out), that cops should wear
clip-on neckties (for reasons that are obvious to you an me).
Conspiracy and robbery, maybe reckless driving and moving violations,
any weapons offenses if found in possession of any, receiving stolen
But the getaway car driver did not commit homicide of his criminal
partners - the cops did, maybe justifiably.
There is a very old truism arising out of English common law. The man
that starts the horse drove the wagon. Starting in that context means
to apply a rod cane or whip to the subject. A very common order in the
British sailing navy was "Start that man." The petty officer so
addressed would apply a knotted rope end or cane to the offending sailor.
A similar principal applies to civil law in the US. The catch phrase is
when you commit a tort you are along for the ride. It means that you
can be held answerable at law for the unforeseen but foreseeable
consequences of a negligent act. In criminal law the principle is
expressed as "intent follows the bullet." No matter were the bullet
comes to rest the shooter is responsible for its damage. Felony Murder
just takes it back one step. Death during an armed robbery is a
foreseeable result of starting out to commit one. Anyone who
undertakes an armed robbery is guilty of some degree of criminal
homicide in any death that arises out of that undertaking of that crime.
In PA, if a robber drops a safe on someone's head while crawling through
a ceiling, it's felony murder.
But if a robber points a gun at the intended victim and pulls the
trigger and the victim dies, it's something higher than felony murder -
it's second degree murder, automatic life without parole.
And if a robber shoots up an armored car driver as Plan A without giving
the driver a chance to live by complying with a carjacking, then it is
higher still - obviously premeditated, first degree murder. Two sentences
are available: Life without parole, and death row.
And if a cop or a getaway car driver has a tire blow out and fatally
crashes during a chase, the DA may press a felony murder charge and the
jury may return a guilty verdict, but then the courts get an appeal added
to their workload because the robber is not why the car had a defective or
underinflated tire or why an overloaded dump truck dropped a piece of
scrap metal on the road. But the DA gets re-elected for "being tough on
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
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