Afterthought Crimes and the Felony Murder Rule in Illinois
Falkoff, Marc D.
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Last month, the Mississippi Supreme Court held that a defendant who decided to commit a robbery after killing his victim could be convicted of capital murder on the basis of a “felony-murder” theory. In other words, in order to convict the defendant of murder, the state didn’t have to prove that he intended to kill his victim or even that he caused his victim’s death as a result of a robbery attempt. Rather, the state only had to demonstrate that the robbery was committed as an “afterthought” to the killing. Batiste v. State, __ So. 3d __ (Miss., May 16, 2013). If you think Mississippi’s expansion of the much-criticized felony-murder doctrine seems bizarre, you should know that Illinois is among the small handful of states in which the courts have adopted the same perplexing rule.