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New Yorker Article: Sentenced to Life for an Accident Miles Away

Dec 11, 2023

A draconian legal doctrine called felony murder has put thousands of Americans—disproportionately young and Black—in prison.

By Sarah Stillman
Dec 11, 2023
The New Yorker magazine

….. This shock was swiftly followed by another. As a result of the crash, which all parties agreed was unintentional, two men stood accused of murdering his father and a friend who was cycling with him. One of those charged, twenty-five-year-old Sadik Baxter, had never laid eyes on the victims. At the moment of impact, he had been miles away, in handcuffs.

When Donna heard the charges, she asked, How is this even possible? Ian had learned the answer in law school: a sweeping and uniquely American legal doctrine, often couched in terms of justice for victims’ families, called felony murder. To engage in certain unlawful activities, the theory goes, is to assume full responsibility if a death occurs—regardless of intent….

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