Client was a very young man alleged to have stolen a cell phone. During the incident, the owner of the phone began to chase client. A friend of client’s stepped in and hit the owner of the phone. This was charged as robbery in New York. This is a B violent felony carrying between 8 1/3 and 25 years in prison. During the course of the case, sadly, the owner of the phone died from the injuries of the hit initiated by the co-defendant. This allowed the District Attorney to re-charge the case as felony murder. The rule of felony murder is a legal doctrine that broadens the crime of murder: when a person dies as a result of the commission of a felony, all of participants of that crime are guilty of murder regardless of intent to kill. Felony murder in New York is an A1 violent felony requiring a life sentence with a significant minimum period of imprisonment before parole eligibility.
Our office presented mitigation to the District Attorney and convinced them to allow client to plead to robbery rather than be charged with felony murder. This will save client from a life sentence. Continue reading