State v. Sophophone

270 Kan. 703, 19 P.3d 70 (2001)

 

RULE:

Where the killing results from the lawful acts of a law enforcement officer in attempting to apprehend a co-felon, may his co-felon be criminally responsible under the felony murder statute for the resulting death of the co-felon.

FACTS:

The trial court convicted defendant of felony murder for the death of his co-felon during flight from an aggravated burglary in which both defendant and the co-felon participated. Defendant appealed, arguing that he was in custody at the time the co-felon was killed by the police officer's lawful act of self-defense. He contended that such fact was a break in circumstances sufficient to insulate him from further criminal responsibility. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s judgment.

ISSUE:

Could defendant be convicted of felony murder for the killing of a co-felon, not caused by defendant's acts, but by a police officer acting in self defense in apprehending the co-felon fleeing from the aggravated burglary?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

Defendant was not criminally responsible for the resulting death of the co-felon. Making defendant criminally responsible for the police officer's lawful acts was not the intent of the felony murder statute as it was written.

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