It would appear that his injuries (and attempted suicide) occured AFTER the crash. This greatly reduced his temporary insanity defense angle.
I'm confused by the capital murder charges. The news stories made it seem as if he were trying to kill himself and changed his mind, but couldn't get the car off the tracks.That doesn't seem like sufficient intent to charge murder. What am I missing? (Other than the newspapers may be wrong.)Aren't all murders necessarily intentional killings?
carpundit,I don't know California law but I'd think they are proceeding under a "felony murder" theory. In a felony murder a person commits first-degree murder if any death results from the commission of violent felonies whether the death was intentional or not. Basically, if you commit a crime wherein there is a significant chance that someone could be killed it is a capital murder if someone is killed..
Ken,You may be right about that, but my memory of felony murder statutes is that they apply to foreseeable homicides in the course of committing an, often-enumerated, *predicate* felony. Typically, I think, those include burglary, robbery, rape.Maybe there's a derailing-a-train predicate. Maybe there's a traffic-related predicate. Maybe there's a suicide-attempt predicate.Still, getting the gas chamber for being a dumb-ass who accidentally killed a dozen others doesn't seem right.Bear in mind, I support the death penalty in general. And I think nearly all defendants are guilty. It still doesn't feel right.CP
Ken,It's a train thing, after all.California Penal Code section 189 is the felony murder section. One of the predicates is -I kid you not- "train wrecking."CP
Yeah, I found it under 190.2 a (17)(I) too.
But I think the prosecutor will have problems with Penal Code sec. 219 which requires the act causing the wreck to have been done with the intent to derail.
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