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Why California's Second-Degree Felony-Murder Rule Is Now Void for Vagueness

56 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2015  

Evan Tsen Lee

University of California Hastings College of the Law

Date Written: October 15, 2015

Abstract

For years, justices on the California Supreme Court (CSC) have engaged in public soul-searching about whether to overrule the state’s second-degree felony-murder doctrine. Now there is a powerful external reason for the CSC to revisit the question: The United States Supreme Court (USSC) has just struck down the so-called “residual clause” of the federal three-strikes statute as unconstitutionally vague. Although the immediate intuition of experienced judges and lawyers will be to deny that this decision has any application to the felony-murder rule, this Article will show that, from the standpoint of vagueness, the two provisions are materially indistinguishable.

Suggested Citation

Lee, Evan Tsen, Why California's Second-Degree Felony-Murder Rule Is Now Void for Vagueness (October 15, 2015). Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, Forthcoming; UC Hastings Research Paper No. 158. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2674747

Evan Tsen Lee (Contact Author)

University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

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