kcjlo10 wrote:Question about the crim law outline: it says that defenses to felony murder are "(1) a valid defense to the underlying felony; (2) the felony was not distinct from or independent of the killing itself (e.g., aggravated battery); (3) death was not a foreseeable result or a natural and probable consequence of the felony (no proximate cause); or (4) death occurred after the commission of the felony and the ensuing flight from the scene of the crime."
Can anyone explain (2) for me?
Also, what's the difference between aggravated battery leading to death vs. involuntary manslaughter?
In regards to (2):
Think of it this way: if you recognize felony battery as a predicate offense for felony murder, then a person could always be convicted of murder for engaging in felony battery that happens to cause the death of the person. That would be the case regardless as to whether the defendant had an intent to kill. But if this were true, grievous bodily harm murder, which requires intent to cause serious harm, would become superfluous.
The whole point of felony murder is that the intent to kill can be inferred from engaging in separate conduct that is inherently dangerous (e.g. robbery, burglary, etc.). When the conduct at issue is not separate from the acts which cause the death of the victim, then the proper test is whether the intent can be inferred from that conduct (e.g. grievous bodily harm, premeditated murder, etc.) and not whether the conduct is inherently dangerous.
In regards to aggravated battery/involuntary manslaughter:
Simply put, aggravated battery that leads to the death of the victim will always be at least involuntary manslaughter.