On January 28, in Texas, two people were killed in their homes during a "drug raid." Previously, in a search warrant application a "narcotics officer" told a judge that a confidential informant had purchased heroin from the suspected home and seen a weapon inside. The officer was making it up.
Then on January 28, during the service of the warrant, five officers were wounded and two citizens were killed. Texas, like Georgia, has a felony murder rule. If during the commission of a felony someone dies, then the actor can be charged with murder. Texas has charged the officer with murder on the theory that the lies in the search warrant affidavit caused the death of the citizens.
What is the Felony Murder Law in Georgia?
O.C.G.A. § 16-5-1(c): A person commits the offense of murder when, in the commission of a felony, he or she causes the death of another human being irrespective of malice.
If These Officers Lied on a Warrant Application in Georgia, Could they be Charged with Felony Murder?
Yes. There are a couple of felonies that could arguably serve as the basis for a felony murder charge based on these facts. Violation of Oath of Office and Making False Statements are the two that come to mind. In a case
How do you Defend these Charges in Georgia?
If this case were being prosecuted in Georgia I think there is a clear starting point for the defense team. I would focus on the words "in the commission." Prosecutors would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the death was caused in the commission of a felony. The clear starting argument is that this death was not caused in the commission, but after the commission. Georgia law has determined that whether the felony has ended or not is a question that the jury must answer.
Next, we would challenge whether or not the predicate felony (the felony the charge is based on) is inherently dangerous. For instance, if a defendant happens to have 1.01 ounces of marijuana (a felony) in his pocket and is forced to use lethal force to defend himself, then that possession of MJ cannot serve as the basis for felony murder.
What are the Penalties for Felony Murder in Georgia?
As you can imagine the penalties for murder are the harshest of all. Life with parole or life without parole.