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  • Upcoming events

    Tuesday, March 28, 2023 at 04:00 PM · 25 rsvps

    March DEI Book Club

    What: Dumplin by Julie Murphy 

    When: Tuesday, March 28th at 4pm (virtual) March DEI Book Club What: Dumplin by Julie Murphy   When: Tuesday, March 28th at 4pm (virtual)

    This March the DEI Book Club will be reading New York Times best selling novel Dumplin' by author Julie Murphy. Throughout our conversation we will touch on topics of body image, how we view women in our society, and more. As always we hope to continue our understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 


    Monday, May 15, 2023 at 09:30 AM · 27 rsvps

    Day on Capitol Hill 2023

    Day on Capitol Hill on Monday, May 15th at 9:30am (virtual)The League will be hosting its annual Day on Capitol Hill on Monday, May 15th at 9:30am (virtual). The theme of this years day is still to be determined, but this is a great opportunity to urge and connect with elected officials to pass vital legislation before it is too late. Please be advised this is a members only event.   

    LWVMD has asked the entire Maryland delegation and their staff to speak to our members on important issues and how we can help support important legislation. 

    • Ben Cardin, Maryland United States Senate
    • Chris Van Hollen, Maryland United States Senate  
    • Andrew P. Harris, 1st Congressional District
    • C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III, 2nd Congressional District
    • John P. Sarbanes, 3rd Congressional District
    • Glenn F. Ivey, 4th Congressional District
    • Steny H. Hoyer, 5th Congressional District
    • David Trone, 6th Congressional District
    • Kweisi Mfume, 7th Congressional District
    • Jamin B. (Jamie) Raskin, 8th Congressional District
    See all events
  • Latest from the blog

    Felony Murder Rule

    On March 2, 2023, the Judiciary Committee of the Maryland House of Delegates heard testimony regarding the felony murder rule and a proposal to change state law so that it would not apply to a defendant under the age of 25. Ordinarily, the prosecution must prove that a defendant intentionally killed someone in order to convict them of murder. But the felony murder rule, which Maryland and most other states have adopted, allows the prosecutor to prove only that the defendant intended to be involved in another felony, such as robbery or arson and that involvement is regarded as supplying the “intent” for a murder conviction.  

    The felony murder rule arose in England and was carried over into the common law adopted by Maryland. At that time, there were fewer felonies, and for many years, the only penalty for a felony was death. Criminal law has become much more finely tuned in the ensuing years, so that the law recognizes distinctions about crimes committed with a gun or other deadly weapon as well as varying degrees of involvement in planning, aiding, or actively carrying out a crime.  In a criminal case, a defendant is frequently charged with multiple offenses, each based on some detail of the crime, and a jury may convict someone of any combination of the offenses. Two of the witnesses in support of the bill had served as jurors in cases where they were instructed to apply the felony murder rule, and they felt that it was wrong to ask citizen jurors to apply an unjust rule.

    In the most extreme example cited by one witness before the committee, if two people commit a robbery and one of them shoots someone, both can be tried for murder even though only one of them pulled the trigger. Although this makes it easier for prosecutors to secure harsh sentences for crimes whenever a death occurs, it has long been criticized by legal scholars who argue that it violates the general principle that you are held accountable only for intentional conduct.

    The bill under consideration by the Judiciary Committee, HB 1180, the Youth Accountability and Safety Act, would exempt defendants under the age of 25 from the felony murder rule. They could still be convicted of the felony that they actually committed, but they could not be convicted of murder without proof that they intentionally killed the victim.

    The League of Women Voters of Maryland does not have a position explicitly addressing the felony murder rule, so we are not able to support or oppose the measure. Nevertheless, it raises such important questions about fairness in Maryland’s criminal justice system that we are bringing this information to our readers.

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