According to Justia, felony murder is a legal principle that permits the prosecution of a defendant for first-degree murder if a victim is killed while a felony crime is being committed. Even if the accused person is not the murderer, they could still face that charge. Recently, a Maryland delegate advocated for the state to set an age limit on certain crimes.
The Youth Accountability and Safety Act (HB 1180) was introduced to the Maryland General Assembly on February 10 by Maryland Delegate Charlotte Crutchfield (D). Under the felony murder rule, the legislation would prevent anyone who was under 25 at the time of the crime from being charged with first-degree murder. The politician isn’t the only one who is worried about the age of defendants and the potential accusations they may receive, but she didn’t openly explain her suggestion.
Maryland Democrat Files Bill To Stop Charging Anyone Under 25 With Felony Murder https://t.co/xYHnkklrat
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 10, 2023
Vincent Schiraldi, the Juvenile Justice Service chief appointed by Maryland Governor Wes Moore, recently said that no one under the age of 21 should be involved in the legal system. He noted the fact that young children’s brains are still developing at that age. The human brain does not fully develop until approximately the age of 24, according to Duke University.
If the bill is approved, a first-degree murder charge in Maryland for someone under 25 would automatically be reduced to a second-degree murder charge, eliminating the possibility of a life sentence. For that offense, the state’s maximum sentence for incarceration is 40 years.
Susan McComas, a Republican delegate from Maryland, spoke out against the proposal. She asserted that it is illogical to defend Crutchfield’s legislation on the grounds that the human brain has evolved. She argued that other laws—like those governing voting—do not follow the under-25 norm. The lawmaker is worried that if the bill is passed, crime will increase. Sheriff Jeff Gahler of Harford County concurred.