This post, News Scan,  by Michael Rushford, first appeared on  at

CA Judge Voids New Felony Murder Law:  A new California law which eliminated the “felony murder rule” has been held unconstitutional by an Orange County Superior Court Judge presiding over the trial of two of the three criminals charged with a 2016 robbery/murder in Buena Park which left a gas station clerk dead.  City News Service reports that Judge Gregg Prickett ruled that SB 1437, a statute signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown last fall, conflicts with initiatives passed by state voters in 1978 and 1990 which identify felony murder as a special circumstance.  Generally, a ballot measure cannot be amended by a legislative statute without voter approval. The new law also eliminates the ability of a jury to find defendants guilty of murder for the natural and probable results of a crime in which they willingly participated–such as a gang member driving the car during a drive-by shooting that kills a child.   The Judge’s ruling only effects Orange County, and will be appealed to the California Supreme Court.   

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