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IrrX

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« on: July 27, 2007, 10:14:39 PM »
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Denny Crane

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Re: Helicopter collision in Phoenix kills 4.
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2007, 10:31:50 PM »
I think the Chief was just being overzealous.  I highly doubt the suspect will face charges related to the crash. 
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chevelle

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Re: Helicopter collision in Phoenix kills 4.
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2007, 11:28:25 AM »

Does that really sound right, though? I know all about the "but for" thing ("but for the chase, the helicopters would not have been there, and would not have crashed"). But isn't there a choice to be made by the news agency whether to cover the chase, and liability then lay with the one who authorizes it? After all, news helicopters don't cover every liquor store robbery that happens in this valley, so obviously choice plays a part.

it'd get past the but-for test but i don't know if it would get past proximate cause...they could argue that two helicopters crashing is not really within the foreseeable scope of the risks you create when you commit a robbery and steal a car.


H4CS

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Re: Helicopter collision in Phoenix kills 4.
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2007, 12:25:57 AM »

 You don’t need mens rea or foreseeable under the felony murder rule, the felony takes the place of causation.


Mens rea comes into play when there is an independent intervening cause.  If I hijack your car and throw you into the street only to watch a drunk driver hit you, I get nailed for felony murder despite the intervening act.  If I'm hijacking your car and two negligent helicopter pilots collide as they seek to increase their ratings share in order to maximize ad revenue without having to be real journalists, then I'm in the clear, despite having played my hand with that analogy. It's obviously jurisdictional, but I'm pretty sure this is almost always a factor when there is an independent intervening act.

If this was an exam hypo, I would address the FMR issue and then state that it was an unlikely charge because of the intervention.

Butters Stotch

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Re: Helicopter collision in Phoenix kills 4.
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2007, 09:07:24 AM »
Forgive the general noobishness of my question, but couldn't AZ statute either codify or override the FMR?  Could it be that this police chief had an AZ statute in mind (as opposed to FMR) when he made the aforementioned comments? 
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H4CS

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Re: Helicopter collision in Phoenix kills 4.
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2007, 10:52:43 AM »
Again, there is no causation needed under the FMR, its strict liability, you can’t even make the intervening cause argument under FMR, because proximate cause does not matter; Felony + death is all you need to prove. All the prosecution needs to prove is that there was  A) a felony committed, and B) someone died, no other elements, no mental state need to be proved, no causation its strict liability (assuming no statutory other requirements like Res Gestate etc.) Example: D sets a building on fire. Firefighters arrive to put it out. One of the firefighters ignores the alarm on his air tank that says he is low on oxygen. The air runs out, he dies. Even though the firefighter was negligent, D is still guilty of felony murder, because Arson+death = FMR. State v Leech 790 P2d 160.

You're oversimplifying felony-murder and ignoring the word "independent" in the phrase "independent intervention."  If D sets a building on fire and X, an unrelated third-party shoots a firefighter as he goes into the building, that's independent intervention (your example is just intervention, as the firefighter is not an independent party).  If A and B rob a liquor store and the clerk shoots B, A can be tried for felony-murder (this is the same argument you're making, where there is non-independent intervention).  If A and B rob a liquor store and during the robbery one of the liquor store patrons slips poison into the open beer of another patron who dies a week later, there's no felony-murder.  You're correct in that traditional intervention is not a defense to felony-murder nor is mens rea involved.  Mens rea can come in when there is independent intervention (if A and B tie up the liquor store clerk and then C independently comes in and shoots the clerk, then it is possible to argue that there is felony-murder).

derkaiser

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Re: Helicopter collision in Phoenix kills 4.
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2007, 11:19:36 AM »

 You don’t need mens rea or foreseeable under the felony murder rule, the felony takes the place of causation.


Mens rea comes into play when there is an independent intervening cause. 

Again, there is no causation needed under the FMR, its strict liability, you can’t even make the intervening cause argument under FMR, because proximate cause does not matter; Felony + death is all you need to prove. All the prosecution needs to prove is that there was  A) a felony committed, and B) someone died, no other elements, no mental state need to be proved, no causation its strict liability (assuming no statutory other requirements like Res Gestate etc.)

This is not accurate -- at least not on the multistate bar examination.  There IS a foreseeability requirement.  The victim must be killed in a generally foreseeable manner flowing from the felony.  Courts interpret this broadly and find most deaths foreseeable.  But, it still takes more than just (1) a felony and (2) a death.  Long, convoluted strings of causation will render the death unforeseeable and negate application of felony-murder

Miss P

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Re: Helicopter collision in Phoenix kills 4.
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2007, 11:28:56 AM »
Since criminal law is an overwhelmingly statutory field, it makes sense to look at the Arizona statute instead of talking about the felony murder rule in abstraction.

Quote from: Arizona Revised Statutes
§ 13-1105. First degree murder; classification

A. A person commits first degree murder if:

1. Intending or knowing that the person's conduct will cause death, the person causes the death of another person, including an unborn child, with premeditation or, as a result of causing the death of another person with premeditation, causes the death of an unborn child.
2. Acting either alone or with one or more other persons the person commits or attempts to commit sexual conduct with a minor under § 13-1405, sexual assault under § 13-1406, molestation of a child under § 13-1410, terrorism under § 13-2308.01, marijuana offenses under § 13-3405, subsection A, paragraph 4, dangerous drug offenses under § 13-3407, subsection A, paragraphs 4 and 7, narcotics offenses under § 13-3408, subsection A, paragraph 7 that equal or exceed the statutory threshold amount for each offense or combination of offenses, involving or using minors in drug offenses under § 13-3409, kidnapping under § 13-1304, burglary under § 13-1506, 13-1507 or 13-1508, arson under § 13-1703 or 13-1704, robbery under § 13-1902, 13-1903 or 13-1904, escape under § 13-2503 or 13-2504, child abuse under § 13-3623, subsection A, paragraph 1, or unlawful flight from a pursuing law enforcement vehicle under § 28-622.01 and in the course of and in furtherance of the offense or immediate flight from the offense, the person or another person causes the death of any person.
3. Intending or knowing that the person's conduct will cause death to a law enforcement officer, the person causes the death of a law enforcement officer who is in the line of duty.

B. Homicide, as prescribed in subsection A, paragraph 2 of this section, requires no specific mental state other than what is required for the commission of any of the enumerated felonies.

C. An offense under subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section applies to an unborn child in the womb at any stage of its development. A person shall not be prosecuted under subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section if any of the following applies:

1. The person was performing an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on the pregnant woman's behalf, has been obtained or for which the consent was implied or authorized by law.
2. The person was performing medical treatment on the pregnant woman or the pregnant woman's unborn child.
3. The person was the unborn child's mother.

D. First degree murder is a class 1 felony and is punishable by death or life imprisonment as provided by §§ 13-703 and 13-703.01.


The real questions are whether the helicopter crash was (a) "in the course of and in furtherance of" the flight and (b) "another person caus[ing] the death of any person."  Without having looked at a shred of caselaw on this, I would assume there's an uphill road on "in furtherance of" here.
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derkaiser

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Re: Helicopter collision in Phoenix kills 4.
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2007, 11:37:51 AM »
Since criminal law is an overwhelmingly statutory field, it makes sense to look at the Arizona statute instead of talking about the felony murder rule in abstraction.

Quote from: Arizona Revised Statutes
§ 13-1105. First degree murder; classification

A. A person commits first degree murder if:

1. Intending or knowing that the person's conduct will cause death, the person causes the death of another person, including an unborn child, with premeditation or, as a result of causing the death of another person with premeditation, causes the death of an unborn child.
2. Acting either alone or with one or more other persons the person commits or attempts to commit sexual conduct with a minor under § 13-1405, sexual assault under § 13-1406, molestation of a child under § 13-1410, terrorism under § 13-2308.01, marijuana offenses under § 13-3405, subsection A, paragraph 4, dangerous drug offenses under § 13-3407, subsection A, paragraphs 4 and 7, narcotics offenses under § 13-3408, subsection A, paragraph 7 that equal or exceed the statutory threshold amount for each offense or combination of offenses, involving or using minors in drug offenses under § 13-3409, kidnapping under § 13-1304, burglary under § 13-1506, 13-1507 or 13-1508, arson under § 13-1703 or 13-1704, robbery under § 13-1902, 13-1903 or 13-1904, escape under § 13-2503 or 13-2504, child abuse under § 13-3623, subsection A, paragraph 1, or unlawful flight from a pursuing law enforcement vehicle under § 28-622.01 and in the course of and in furtherance of the offense or immediate flight from the offense, the person or another person causes the death of any person.
3. Intending or knowing that the person's conduct will cause death to a law enforcement officer, the person causes the death of a law enforcement officer who is in the line of duty.

B. Homicide, as prescribed in subsection A, paragraph 2 of this section, requires no specific mental state other than what is required for the commission of any of the enumerated felonies.

C. An offense under subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section applies to an unborn child in the womb at any stage of its development. A person shall not be prosecuted under subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section if any of the following applies:

1. The person was performing an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on the pregnant woman's behalf, has been obtained or for which the consent was implied or authorized by law.
2. The person was performing medical treatment on the pregnant woman or the pregnant woman's unborn child.
3. The person was the unborn child's mother.

D. First degree murder is a class 1 felony and is punishable by death or life imprisonment as provided by §§ 13-703 and 13-703.01.


The real questions are whether the helicopter crash was (a) "in the course of and in furtherance of" the flight and (b) "another person caus[ing] the death of any person."  Without having looked at a shred of caselaw on this, I would assume there's an uphill road on "in furtherance of" here.


You don't need to show "in furtherance of".  "Immediate flight from the offense," will also do.  That seems more applicable to this case.

H4CS

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Re: Helicopter collision in Phoenix kills 4.
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2007, 11:44:26 AM »
You don't need to show "in furtherance of".  "Immediate flight from the offense," will also do.  That seems more applicable to this case.

This is a misreading of the statute.  The correct reading is that:

A person commits first degree murder if acting alone the person commits unlawful flight from a pursuing law enforcement vehicle and in the course of and in furtherance of the offense, another person causes the death of any person

OR

A person commits first degree murder if acting alone the person commits unlawful flight from a pursuing law enforcement vehicle and in the course of and in furtherance of immediate flight from the offense, another person causes the death of any person