Under the early common law, any death resulting from a felony was murder. This felony murder rule has survived, often in somewhat altered form, in most jurisdictions in the United States. Despite its popular support, however, the felony-murder rule has been the focus of much scholarly criticism.
Write an essay which either defends or criticizes the felony-murder rule in general, or in one or another of its forms. In doing so, consider the following: 1. the purposes behind (justifications for) the rule. Are these purposes valid? Can the felony-murder rule achieve them? 2. Is the notion of constructive malice consistent with the general requirement of mens res? 3. Does the felony murder rule consistent with the general principles of causation in criminal law? 4. The arguments made for and against strict application of the rule in the cases The people v. Glenn hickman (1974) and the people v. James Edwards Washington (1965): who gets the best of the argument?
Paper should present an argument for one side or the other in the debate over the issue the paper topic covers. The paper should be to the point and clear, what you think give reasons for arguments.The professor will look at how well the issues raised by the topic are addressed. Do you consider the various arguments and points of view presented in the cases and the reading? Do you weigh the evidence and arguments carefully?