Criminal law is different from civil law in that violators are subject to punishment with jail, fines, or even death. Most theories of punishment recognize that there must be a link between the severity of the crime and the level of punishment. However, sometimes punishment may impose the death sentence even though it does not relate to the acts of the defendant.

The felony murder doctrine provides that any death that occurs during the commission of a felony is first degree murder and participants in the felony can be charged and found guilty of murder.

In Jackson v. State, 408 A.2nd 711 (Md.1979), two robbers took a hostage resulting in a police chase. Gunfire between the robbers and the police occurred at a roadblock. The hostage was killed by police gunfire and the robber’s conviction for first degree murder felony murder was upheld.

Your assignment this week is to answer the following questions:

  • Do you think the felony murder rule resulted in a just verdict in the Jackson case? Explain.
  • Do you think the felony murder rule provides any social or moral benefit to society? Explain.

This individual work should include the following:

  • An in-depth submission free of spelling and grammar errors.
  • An essay containing a minimum of one page, typed and double-spaced.
  • You will be assessed on the rationale you use in addressing the question/issue posted, and how well you justify your argument regarding this issue.
  • Your response must be thought provoking, have well developed ideas and/or opinions, and should reference any supporting material from the text, lecture, or other sources you have used to complete the assignment.
  • You may use your text or the Internet as a reference, but remember to cite your sources


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