- FIREARMS IN THE HOUSE
- NAMED INSURED
- COLGATE CONQUERS GREEKS; SOME GREEKS, LIKE SPARTANS, FIGHT TO THE END
- FIRST AMENDMENT VICTORIES
- FELONY MURDER
- KATRINA: DISASTER RELIEF BY FRATERNAL ORGANIZATIONS AND FOUNDATIONS
Newsletter > November 2005 > "FELONY MURDER"
Dan McCarthy, Manley Burke
Chapters must keep in mind the legal doctrine of felony murder. Murder results from a death caused during the commission of, or in an attempt to commit a felony. The felony murder doctrine is typically limited to those felonies that are considered inherently dangerous or especially serious. A related doctrine is misdemeanor manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter results from a death occurring during the commission of a misdemeanor (or sometimes a non-serious felony).
Numerous factual scenarios exist in which felony murder could come into play. An example: members of Chapter A break into Rival Fraternity B with the intent to commit a felony (such as larceny or destruction of property). Members of Rival Fraternity B then physically confront the members of Chapter A. After the dust settles, a member of Rival Fraternity B is dead. Every member of Chapter A who participated in the break-in of Rival Fraternity B could be subject to a charge of felony murder.
Likewise, numerous factual scenarios exist in which misdemeanor manslaughter could come into play. An example: a fraternity serves alcohol to a minor, who then dies of alcohol poisoning. The members of the fraternity could face criminal charges for involuntary manslaughter under the misdemeanor manslaughter doctrine.
It is important to remember these legal doctrines because not all murder and manslaughter charges result from crimes as depicted on television and in movies. Activities that transpire at chapters across the country could result in death, with the members subject to felony murder or misdemeanor manslaughter charges.