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People v. Aaron

Supreme Court of Michigan
299 N.W.2d 304 (1980)


Facts

Aaron (defendant) committed a homicide in the course of an armed robbery. He was consequently convicted of first-degree felony murder. The jury received instructions that Aaron could be found guilty of first-degree murder if it was determined that he killed the victim during the commission, or attempted commission, of an armed robbery. Michigan does not have a felony-murder statute that classifies as a murder any death occurring in the course of a felony, regardless of the defendant’s mental state. Instead, Michigan’s first-degree murder statute makes a homicide a first-degree murder if it happens during the course of one of the enumerated felonies, including arson, criminal sexual conduct, robbery, larceny, breaking and entering of a dwelling, or kidnapping. Two convictions similar to Aaron’s were reversed by the court of appeals, which held that the trial courts erred in failing to instruct the jury that the element of malice must still be found to sustain a conviction of felony murder. 

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fitzgerald, J.)

Concurrence

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